Friday, March 28, 2008

Who's Who Answers

It was fun to read all the answers to yesterday's who's who picture quiz. Everyone did very well, but only one person got them all correct: my Grandma! Way to go Grandma--I'm quite impressed! Here are the answers:

1a. Zach
1b. Allie
2a. Allie
2b. Zach
3a. Zach
3b. Allie
4a. Allie
4b. Zach

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Can You Tell Who's Who?

I was looking at baby pictures of Allie and Zach today and was surprised at the similarities of the two. Since Zach and Allie's personalites are so completely opposite, I have never really thought they looked much alike. I posted some pictures below. Can you tell which are pictures of Zach and which are of Allie? I'll post the answers later. Have fun!

Coming home from the Hospital:

1a/b
About 3 weeks old:
2a/b
About 1 1/2 months old:

3a/b

About 3 months old:

4a/b


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Zach's 5-month Pictures

Last week I took Zach to my friend Angie's home to get his 5-month pictures taken. Angie has a great home studio and I'm always very happy with the pictures she takes of the kids. I'm not exactly sure why I decided on 5-month pictures. Allie was 5-months old the first time we took her to get a "professional" portrait so I thought it only appropriate to do the same for Zach.

Zach did remarkably well! He definitely preferred wearing his overalls over the dress shirt and sweater vest. As soon as we put the sweater vest outfit (can I call it an outfit for a boy?? That seems kind of girly!) on he went almost instantly from happy to fussy. Despite the attitude change, Angie was able to capture numerous smiles and grins. I was also glad to have Allie along because Zach smiles and laughs the most for her. I am sure that the biggest smiles captured where due to Allie's entertainment. Zach did get a little tired and fed up with all the lights as we were nearing the end. That was of course when Allie decided she did in fact want to take her picture with Zach. So, Zach was fussy and Allie had a hard time listening to directions. Unfortunately the pictures of both kids did not turn out too well. We'll have to try for both kids again later this year. I'm thinking Christmas card. . . .

If you'd like to see the pictures of Zach, click on the link below. The gallery name is Zach D and the password is Dzioba. You can also see Zach's newborn pictures taken at the hospital by going to the gallery name Zach and entering the password Dzioba. Hope you enjoy! I know I'm biased, but I think that he is one super cute baby boy!

http://www.angiejungmann.com/OnlineViewing/

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Potty Training Chronicles: Update

I am sad to report that for now there will not be another installment of the Potty Chronicles. Unfortunately as I sat down to compose the third chapter in this ongoing saga, I realized I basically had nothing to write about. We have had a remarkably smooth time the past two days using the potty! Allie has not even had one accident during the day. She has been successfully using the potty since my last entry and we've really had no funny stories or unfortunate incidents to report. We have even survived playing outside in the snow with Daddy, a trip to Coldstone for some ice cream, and an entire day at Grandma and Grandpa Richardson's--all accident free!

We started using pull-ups at night time and to my shock and surprise, Allie actually awoke this morning with a completely dry Dora the Explorer pull-up. Upon waking, she walked right into the bathroom, sat on the potty, and did her business quickly and effortlessly like she has been doing it this way for her entire life. The same thing happened after her nap this afternoon. She tells me every time she needs to go and so far this seems to be working out pretty well for everyone.

I am a little concerned that this was WAY too easy. I know that we are probably not totally in the clear yet, but I have heard horror stories about potty training and from the first two days last week, I was prepared for the absolute worst. I am a little baffled by the fact that it is going so well. We are still having minor difficulties with #2 in the potty, but other than that there is really nothing to say. To my amazement, she is consistently using the potty. This is great.

Any moms who have been at this place before and have anything to add? Is it really this easy or am I just resting right now in the eye of the storm?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter - In Christ Alone

Last night when Allie woke up coughing, nose dripping, and shivering with a 100-degree fever, we pretty much decided we would definitely not be going to church and subsequently infecting all the other 2-year olds in attendance the next morning. Not attend church on Easter Sunday? I honestly felt terribly guilty. Plus, I had already purchased the cutest Easter dress for Allie and the most handsome sweater vest I could find for Zach.

We had already made Easter lunch plans with my family and after talking with my mom this morning we decided to go. Allie was doing better than last night, we were all pretty excited about my mom's already prepared feast (and if you've ever tasted my mom's cooking you would fully understand the anticipation of a Richardson holiday meal), and my mom also said that they didn't mind being exposed to Allie's germs.

As I was getting ready for the day and still feeling a tad guilty about our skipping church on Easter Sunday, I heard the sounds of guitar and singing coming from the living room. I went to take a look and found Ben, guitar in hand, leading Allie and Zach in song. All three were joyfully singing (yes--even Zach was singing along fairly loudly!) worship songs. And so we all paused for a moment and enjoyed singing together with grateful hearts, praising and thanking God for the miracle of Easter.

We were not wearing Sunday's best--in fact, I believe Ben was still in his pj's! And, we were not sitting in a glorious sanctuary adorned with priceless stain glass and decorated with white Easter Lillys. But I know that God was truly present this morning as we sat on the floor singing in our cozy living room just as He was present in the many beautiful churches where believers gathered to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

In that moment, I realized feeling guilty for not attending church this morning was ridiculous. Although I love church and enjoy the corporate worship and fellowship I have with other believers at our church, I am thankful that I do not have to physically be at church to meet with God. I praise God that Christ's sacrifice and resurrection has freed me from guilt! I praise God that my salvation is found in Christ alone-not in how many times I go to church, not in how many good things I do, not in how much I pray or read the Bible. It is in Christ alone. And this year, for me and my family, that is what Easter is all about.

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this cornerstone, this solid ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease.
My comforter, my all in all,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, who took on flesh,
fullness of God in helpless Babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
scorned by the ones He came to save.
’Til on that cross as Jesus died,
the wrath of God was satisfied.
For every sin on Him was laid;
here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
then, bursting forth in glorious day,
up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
for I am His and He is mine,
bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
this is the pow’r of Christ in me;
from life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
can ever pluck me from His hand;
’til He returns or calls me home,
here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand!

written by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townsend

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Potty Training Chronicles: Part II

Friday morning I awoke to a small hand tapping me on my arm. I reluctantly opened my tired eyes to see Allie smiling about two inches away from my face. The blurry clock read 6:45 a.m. Very calmly Allie whispers through the morning silence, "I need to use the potty." I pause for a moment, a little confused. And then it dawns on me. Holy cow, that's right, I started potty training boot camp yesterday!

I bolted out of bed and we hurriedly rushed into the bathroom where Allie proudly assumed her position on the potty. She then matter-of-factly reminded me that she needed some privacy. I was less annoyed by that request today because it actually gave me some time to take her clothes from yesterday out of the washing machine and transfer them to the dryer, make the beds, and unload the dishwasher. By the time I finished those tasks, Zach was just waking up. He's very content to play in his crib when he first wakes up in the morning, so I knew I had a few moments before I had to go in and get him. I proceeded to check on the princess atop her porcelain throne and was suddenly overwhelmed by the foul smell coming from the bathroom.

"I think there's some poopy in the potty!" Allie announced at the top of her lungs. A little doubtful at her proclamation, I peered into the toilet to check things out. Sure enough-there it was! I was in complete and utter shock. I honestly think I started jumping up and down because I was so ecstatic at this new development. After I helped her wipe, Allie proudly descended, washed her hands, and collected her jelly bean. After feeding Zach I made a celebratory breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs, french toast, and strawberries. As Allie and I filled our plates and tummies, I quietly revelled in the fact that I would never ever have to change one of her poopy diapers again.

Now, if you are a mom that has already been through the potty training process with your own child, I am sure you are chuckling to yourself at this point because you know there is no possible way that the story concludes here. And, you would be oh so correct. We actually had a fabulous rest of the morning where Allie took it upon herself to use the potty numerous times. Full of jelly beans and pride, I thought it would be perfectly fine for her to play on her own in her bedroom while I prepared lunch. Bad assumption on my part.

After realizing that she had been way too quiet for the past five minutes while I had been cutting up the cantaloupe, I sauntered down the hall into her bedroom and there the odor hit me like a ton of bricks. Allie turned around quickly like she had been caught red-handed in the middle of a crime and I'm sure she saw the displeasure on my face, "I need my diaper changed! I had a poopy! I need my diaper changed! This is yucky! Help Me! Help Me!" She was in an utter state of panic. I wish I could say that I remained composed and was the picture of motherly perfection, but alas I was not. I grabbed the baby wipes and an extra change of clothes from her drawer, complete with underwear, and we headed into the bathroom.

Why, oh why did someone not tell me that it is a hundred million times better to change a poopy diaper than to clean up a poopy child with poopy underwear and poopy clothes? This was by far one of the most disgusting things I have ever had to do up to this point in my experience as a mom (cleaning up throw-up is a very, very close second). I will spare you the rest of the details, but just trust me, it was honestly everywhere.

This also marks the point where I make my first of many fatal errors in judgement. Because I wanted to get rid of everything ASAP, I threw it all in the toilet, baby wipes and all (minus the clothes) , and flushed.

I gave everything a good wipe down with my trusty Clorox Sanitizing Wipes and redressed Allie. By this time I was a little more calm and Allie and I were able to have an excellent conversation about why we would not ever poop in our underwear again. I loaded the poopy clothes into the washer and finished making lunch.

After our tasty lunch of PB&J and cantaloupe it was finally nap time. I was sooo ready for nap time. Before putting Allie down for her nap, though, I thought it would be a good idea for her to use the potty again. She happily complied and successfully used the potty. She turned around to flush and as she was waving goodbye to her pee, I noticed something funny: The water was not going down. It was going up. Way up. It was still going up. And, yes folks, now it was going over. Lots of water. Going over. Onto the floor. Tons.

I panicked. I picked Zach up, bouncer and all, and basically flung him into the hallway. I grabbed a pile of towels from the hall closet and threw them all around the toilet in an attempt to soak up the massive amount of water that was still pouring forth from the toilet. Allie was still standing on the step-stool by the potty looking at me like I was going nuts. I picked her up, put her on the floor, gave her the bathroom rugs and told her to run. She stood there, socks getting all wet, still staring at me like I was completely insane. The toilet is still overflowing. Remember those baby wipes I threw into the toilet? Yup, I'm thinking that's where I went wrong. Finally I was able to persuade Allie to run into the kitchen before making fatal error number two.

I grabbed the plunger and started plunging vigorously. Unfortunately, this did not help matters any. To my utter horror, it actually made the water overflow even more. The water was now nearing the kitchen. Still in a state of panic, I began to cry and I too ran into the kitchen where I grabbed the phone to call 911. No, just kidding. I called Ben. He is actually my 911 in emergency situations such as this. I'm not quite sure what he heard when he picked up the phone, but I'm glad he calmly gave me simple instructions on how to stop the flooding toilet.


From Ben I learned that there is a knob that is able to turn off the water flow to the toilet. Hallelujah! I will never again forget this valuable tidbit of information. With the phone crooked between my head and shoulder, my pants and socks now completely soaked, I bent down behind the toilet to locate this miraculous valve that would stop the overwhelming flood. I turned the water off and sure enough, Allie and I watched as the water in the toilet bowl slowly went down. Down. Down. Relief.

Although the crisis had been averted, I was still pretty emotional regarding this whole ordeal. I sat at the side of the tub and was still crying, but trying to regain some composure. Allie came up to me, gently put her hand on my knee and said, "Are you having a hard time mommy? Maybe you need a hug." That is exactly what I needed. So, I picked her up and we hugged. "It's ok mommy," Allie said reassuringly "We will fix the toilet."

And then it was nap time. I put both kids down for their naps and thankfully they both slept for over an hour and a half. That was just enough time to unclog the toilet (Ben informed me via phone that it was now safe to continue my plunging efforts), clean up the huge mess, mop the floor, and begin yet another load of laundry.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. However, Allie did not once potty in her underwear all day long! She literally stayed dry the whole entire day! I'm thinking that this is definite progress. We did however run out of jelly beans by the end of the day and had to transition to M&M's. She didn't seem to have any objections to that.

Stay tuned....for day three of the Potty Chronicles....coming soon....

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Potty Training Chronicles: Part I

Yesterday after Allie awoke from her nap and the disgusting aroma emitting from her diaper began to seep out of her room and into the rest of the house, I made my decision. This will be the last poopy diaper of Allie's I clean up. I opened her closet and brought down the box of big girl underwear that had been collecting dust on the highest shelf since our last unsuccesful attempt at potty training. This time I will not quit. We are going cold turkey. No more diapers. Well, let me clarify that last statement: No more diapers during the day when Allie is fully awake and capable of making it to the potty.

I explained to Allie that she will no longer be wearing diapers and that she is a big girl who will wear underwear from now on. She was surprisingly excited about this adventure which gave me hope because she has never before shown so much interest in using the potty. We then proceeded to the bathroom where she tried her hardest to squeeze out some pee. Nothing. "That's alright," I said calmly, "Let's go play and we can try again later." She happily complied as I helped her put on her pink, sparkly Hello Kitty underwear.

As we played with play-doh on the kitchen floor we chatted about using the potty like a big girl. I also decided at this point to add a bribe. In the past I had used stickers, but lately stickers have lost their newness and intrigue for Allie. Then I remembered the Starburst Jelly Beans I had purchased for the Easter eggs that were in the kitchen cupboard. Bingo. After mentioning the jelly beans, Allie jumped up and we again found ourselves in the bathroom: Allie on the potty and I sitting on the side of the tub. We read books. I held her hand. I actually made up a potty song. Still, nothing. Although a little dissapointed, Allie agreed to try again later. We proceeded into Zach's room where he was finally awake from his nap and becoming quite fussy because he wanted to eat.

After tending to Zach, I again asked Allie if she needed to go potty and she very confidently replied, "NO." Ok, I thought. I continued to feed Zach and then began preparing dinner. Not ok. As soon as I got the ground beef in the frying pan I heard screaming and crying from Allie's bedroom. I quickly ran out of the kitchen only to see her running even faster down the hallway with dripping wet pants. I assured her that it was ok and that accidents sometimes happen. After a hug, she was again on the potty and I on the side of the tub. Cue the potty song. Still nothing. She reluctantly gets up from the potty and this time chooses pink Cinderella underwear. "Mommy," Allie says matter of factly, "I will not pee in my pants. I do not want to get Cinderella all wet and yucky."

And, Cinderella did stay dry for a little while. The next crisis occured at dinner. Allie and I were happily eating our spaghetti and talking about Easter while Zach was joyfully playing with toys in his high chair. All of a sudden Allie yells "PEE!" I jump up as fast as humanly possible to help her out of her seat, but alas, it was too late. Her pants were already soaked and there was much lamenting over the wet Cinderella underwear as we again made our way to the bathroom to sit on the potty. The time - 6:05 p.m.

6:30 p.m. Allie is still sitting on the potty. This time I cannot coax her off. She tells me, "The pee is coming. It will be here pretty soon."

6:45 p.m. Allie asks me for some privacy. Yes, she literally told me to close the door and she needed privacy. As a side note, let me just take this opportunity to proclaim that I have not yet, in the past two years, during the day, had privacy in the bathroom unless Allie and Zach are both sleeping. Privacy, good grief. Regardless of my lack of privacy, I grant her the request, close the door, and begin cleaning up dinner.

6:55 p.m. I'm almost done cleaning up dinner and there is indecipherable screaming, crying, and whining from the bathroom. I go to check on Allie and she tells me "The pee is still hiding, but it will be coming out pretty soon." I ask her if she would like me to stay with her and she replies "Yes." I turn on the faucet in hopes of helping her to relax and we engage together in a rousing verse of the Potty Song.

7:10 p.m. Allie says "Can you hear it, mommy?" I turn off the faucet and we both sit motionless and listen in quiet anticipation. Lo and behold-success! We celebrate together by sharing an Easter egg full of jelly beans. Allie is so pleased with herself and I am incredibly proud of her!

Thus concludes our first day of potty training. Allie did use the potty successfully twice more that evening. The only drawback was that both of those times were way past her bedtime. She just had a really hard time going to sleep because she was so excited to use the potty and subsequently receive a jelly bean (I can't actually figure out what she enjoys more: the satisfaction of going on the potty like a big girl or eating the jelly bean). One huge accomplishment of today's events is that I am fairly confident that Allie is now able to recognize when she has to go potty. When we put her to bed for the fifth and final time last night, we told her that if she has to go in the morning she needs to quickly come and get mommy to help.

What happened the next morning? Did we continue on the road to success or fall into the pit of potty despair? Stay tuned for the next installment of the Potty Chronicles. . . .

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

All About Zach

I feel badly about the fact that Zach has not been well represented in my previous blog entries due to Allie's dramatic flair often stealing the spotlight. Actually, truth be told, I find myself feeling bad for Zach quite often because Allie can be very demanding of most of my time and energy. It is amazing to me how completely different, well actually how TOTALLY opposite, two children from the same set of parents can be. So, this post is all about Zach, all 17-plus pounds and 27-plus inches of him (FYI: those are the numbers as of his 4-month doctor's appointment. I'm sure he is much bigger now that he's nearing 6-months old. But, seeing as he is sleeping soundly in his crib, I am absolutely not going to interrupt his slumber to weigh and measure him. We'll just have to wait for the updated numbers until his next doctor's appointment in April.).

Because I am a huge fan of lists and list-making, I thought it only fitting to list below the many reasons why we love our little guy and how our lives just wouldn't be the same without him. Here goes:

  • He's chubby. He's cuddly. He's super cute. His head is fuzzy (ok--so that last statement is one of Allie's observations, but actually quite perceptive).
  • He has a very easy-going nature and doesn't really have extremes in emotion. It takes quite a lot to make him cry and we often feel like part of the circus trying to get him to giggle. This is refreshing to parents of a first born who has always had extreme emotions.
  • His favorite person in the whole world is Allie. His face honestly lights up when she enters the room or he hears her voice. Because he also likes to eat, I would say that I'm a very close second.
  • He is very quiet. The only exception to that rule is when everyone else is quiet. Then, out of nowhere, Zach somehow finds his voice!
  • He's a wonderful sleeper and napper. He wasn't always this way, though. At 6 weeks he magically transformed and we couldn't be happier!
  • Not a day goes by now that I am not at one point wearing Zach spit-up, pee, and/or poop. He is especially talented at doing all three at once. He is also very well known for this in the church nursery.
  • We all have fun watching him do and discover new things. This week he rolled over for the very first time! I was however a little bit annoyed that I have been waiting for him to do this for soooo long and when he finally chose to reach this milestone, I was gone and Ben was with the kids. He did it 3 times for Ben and Allie within an hour. In the past 5 days, I have only seen him do it twice. Go figure.
  • He has the most beautiful blue eyes. He's the only one in our family!
  • He grabs at everything-toys, rattles, my face, my cup-and he is getting quicker with his hands by the day. He is increasingly interested in grabbing at our food. Hmmm. . .I'm thinking some rice cereal might be in his near future.
  • He has the cutest gummy and toothless grin.

We are so happy that Zach is a part of our family! It is weird for me to remember back to last year at this time when we first found out he was going to be part of our family and were still trying to get used to the idea of two kids instead of one. Now, one year later, it seems even more strange to me that he hasn't always been a part of our lives.

I keep a prayer/scripture journal and as I was paging through it the other day, I ran across a prayer that I had written only days after we found out Zach would be joining our family. It is fun to relive the joy and excitement I felt as we were just newly anticipating Zach's arrival. And especially this week, the following prayer has served as a reminder to me that God continues to remain faithful to our family.

I praise you for this new little baby that you are forming right now inside of me!! Help me to not worry about all the bad things that can happen. Give me peace regarding the health of this new little one. Help me to grasp the fact that you love Allie and this new little baby more than either Ben or I will ever love them and that you will provide for them and take care of them as you have such a special plan for their lives. Help me to be just the right mother for them despite my imperfections. Help me to learn from my mistakes and strive to be more like you so that Allie and this new baby can see Christ in me. Help me to not expect perfection from Ben, Allie, the new baby, or myself. Help me to enjoy this time in my life and to find joy and peace in you. Thank you so much for this precious gift!

February 5, 2007

Monday, March 17, 2008

Cinderella, Again

I know that I promised a post about Zach, but I heard this song on the radio today and it reminded me of Allie and Ben. I thought I would share. . . .

Cinderella

She spins and she sways to whatever song plays,
Without a care in the world.
And I'm sitting here wearing the weight of the world on my shoulders.
It's been a long day and there's still work to do,
She's pulling at me saying
"Dad I need you!
There's a ball at the castle and I've been invited and I need to practice my dancin'"
"Oh please, daddy, please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone.

She says he's a nice guy and I'd be impressed
She wants to know if I approve of the dress
She says, "Dad the prom is just one week away
And I need to practice my dancin'
"Oh please, daddy , please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone

But she came home today with a ring on her hand
Just glowin' and tellin' us all they had planned
She says, "Dad the wedding's still six months away but I need to practice my dancin'
"Oh please, daddy , please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms'
Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone

Words and Music by: Steven Curtis Chapman

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Busy...Busy...Busy

That's right. We've been busy, busy, busy this past week. It is crazy. I feel like I barely have time to breathe, let alone blog. Right now I should honestly be working on Thursday's MOPS meeting plans, but here I am blogging. Go figure.

What has kept our family so busy? Well, basically life in general. Between the kids, our church commitments, and Ben's abundantly crazy work schedule there is not even one day this month on our calendar left free from my nicely color-coded plan writing (Yes, folks, that is correct. I color-code my calendar: orange for special events, red for me, blue for Ben, purple for the kids, green for church, and so on. No laughing, please.)

I am, however, happy to report that God must have read my last blog entry. We have had a gorgeous week here! I was able to take the kids on several walks this week with our newly purchased sit-and-stand double stroller. In fact, on Thursday we went on a walk and didn't even have to wear our coats-how refreshing!

Well, this very short post is all there is for tonight. Stay tuned. . .as I intend to dedicate my next post completely to Zach. Allie often steals the spotlight and as I was looking through my previous posts, I realize I haven't really commented much about our little guy. So, with that, I say goodnight!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Winter: the Harbinger of Snow, Sickness, and Cinderella

It has been a long winter. I do not believe I have seen grass, whether it be brown or green, since November. I have come to loathe the sight of snow. Honestly, I feel bad making that previous complaint because we have not even had that much snow this year. It has just been so stinkin' cold that none of the snow has melted. We have old, gross, yucky, not-even-white-anymore snow on the ground in Minnesota.

Although I could go on and on about my utter detestation of the snow at present, I am now going to transition to comment on another aspect that holds my complete abhorrence and disgust: the common cold and stomach flu. Let me first just say that I have seen more vomit and wiped more green snotty noses this year than I ever thought possible, EVER! Our household was plagued by disease for a whole two months. I am happy to report that we are all now healthy (well, I actually have a sinus thing going on, but I figure one out of four isn't bad) so I will not burden you further with all the intimate details. I will, however, enlighten you as to how we spent our days as invalids: movies.

Yes, we all watched movies. There were some days that Allie watched movies literally ALL day long. Now that we are almost back to healthy and there are glimpses of spring outside (ok...so for me, arctic sunshine does indeed count as a glimpse of spring), we haven't spent nearly as much time in front of the television. However, the movies previously viewed during those two dark diseased months have seeped their way into Allie's imaginative play and everyday conversation. Allie's favorite movie right now is Cinderella. Listed below are Cinderella occurrences in our family's everyday life:
  • A few weeks ago as I was cooking dinner in the kitchen, Allie comes marching in with one of her pink high-heeled play shoes atop one of my living room pillows asking if I wanted to try on the slipper.
  • Two weeks ago at church Allie and I were making our way down the stairs to her Sunday school class when she looked at me very concerned and said, "Mommy, you better be careful, you do not want to lose your slipper." I was a little confused, but when I looked down I realized I was indeed wearing high-heeled shoes that week. "Yes, Allie" I said matter-of-factly, "I will be careful not to lose my slipper."
  • The other night Allie was tapping her magic wand on each of our heads saying emphatically "Boppity-Boo, Boppity-Boo." Ben asked her where the "Bippety" went. But, Allie ran off quickly without providing us an answer. We still don't know what happened to the "Bippety."
  • Allie is obsessed with wearing her dress up clothes. She has to wear her pink dress, complete with "glass slippers," daily. After I help her put on her dress, Allie always says something to the effect of "Thank you so much fairy godmother, this is perfect."
  • Allie is incredibly excited to fall in "wove" (love), get "maweed" (married), and "wiv happewy ever after" (live happily ever after).

I will now take time to further comment on that last bulleted point. On Thursday Allie and I were looking through our wedding album because she was curious about weddings and marriage. "Oh Look!" Allie exclaimed as we were paging through the pictures, "When you get married there are beautiful white dresses and hugs and kisses and love and happily ever after." Cute.

The next morning we were getting ready for music class and Allie told me that when she was bigger she was going to get married and live happily ever after. I asked her who she was going to marry and she proclaimed "DADDY!" I explained to her that Daddy was already married to Mommy and that you can only marry one person. To that Allie responded, "Then Daddy will marry me!" Thankfully, by the time we were in the van and on our way to music class I had finally convinced Allie that it was actually ok and probably better for her to marry someone else other than Daddy.

However, I also thought it important to address this issue of "happily ever after" so that Allie doesn't grow up believing happiness is only found in being married. Therefore, in the remaining time on our van ride to music class I explained to Allie that God has a special plan for each of us and that might include getting married or not getting married. We talked about how Aunt Stephanie, Aunt Chrissy, and Uncle Chris were not yet married, but that God loved them very much and had special plans for their lives. This new concept seemed to excite Allie even more than "happily ever after" as she began declaring, "God has special plans for Zach and special plans for Stephanie, and special plans for Chris and Chrissy. And God has special plans for Grandma and Grandpa and Mommy and Daddy. And God has special plans for Allie. And I will fall in love and I will get married and kiss and live happily ever after." Cute, but definitely determined. I wonder who she gets that from?

So, with that said, we made our way across the snowy ice covered parking lot in the blustery March cold with the arctic sun beaming down. I'm growing weary of winter: I detest the snow and hate illness even more. But, I am also grateful that these disgusts have brought us to Cinderella, which in turn has provided much needed laughter on several otherwise dull winter days.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

This is only my 4th day in the world of blogging and, come to find out, there are actually "blog games" that are played between "blogger friends." Being that I am the most unlucky person in the entire world, I am rather surprised that I have been tagged to participate in one such blog game by my friend Jenny. From what I understand of this game, which is apparently called a meme (still working on what the heck that means), the blogger is to answer a series of questions to help their readers gain a better understanding of him/her. Then, the blogger that has the privilege of answering all of these personal questions has the opportunity to tag one of their blogger friends in hopes of continuing the game. So, here goes. . . .

10 Years Ago:
I was a junior in high school (wow-that seems like another lifetime ago), which was actually my favorite year of high school. Marching Band was a HUGE part of my life and we won the Statewide Marching Band Competition during my junior year. (On a side note, I also met my husband in Marching Band-he played french horn.) I played my flute a ton - for solo/ensemble contest, church, pit orchestra, band, orchestra, private lessons, and so on. I was sooooo excited to go to Prom (yes, I went with my husband-we have the corny pictures to prove it!). I hated my Physics class and Algebra II class (I got my first and only C ever in Algebra II and I'm still not quite sure how I did well in Physics since it made no sense to me--actually I think I remember Ben helping me with homework), but loved Yearbook, English, and Band. This was the first full school year I had a job and my driver's license: I was so grown up. I was also highly involved in our church's youth group and was planning for a short term missions trip to Mexico the coming summer.

Things on my To-Do List Today:
Sort through kitchen, bedroom, and office papers
Order flute duet books
Flute lesson prep
Copy flute lesson stuff
Download pictures
Sort pictures
Organize pictures
Start online photo books
Update baby books
Watch DVD from last MOPS meeting that I missed
Make DVD copy of the Men's Panel from MOPS
Clean out humidifiers
Learn how to use our new camera
Send Ann my chicken enchilada recipe
Mom's Night Out planning (see separate list--don't worry, this one is like 3 pages long so I won't attach it here)
Research double strollers
Laundry
Make lunch for tomorrow (I'm having a friend over)
Prescription refill
Run to Penzeys to get spices
Run to Albertville Outlet Mall to make a return and get Allie shoes
Make a to-do list for MOPS stuff that needs to get done
Clean out e-mail inbox
Meal plan for next week
Make grocery list
Target Run

Three of my Bad Habits:
1. I leave cupboard doors and cabinet doors open and lights on. This habit I affectionately attribute to my mom. Luckily, we both now have Allie who makes it her life mission to close every door and drawer we open and turn off every light we turn on.
2. Stressing Out. I stress out about everything-even little things. Ben has often wondered if it is even possible for me to go through just one day stress-free. Probably not.
3. Dessert. I eat it. Lots.

If I Suddenly Became a Billionaire:
How funny. Ben and I were just talking about this last night. Besides the typical paying off the student loans, mortgage, car loans (and probably buying a dream home and cars), I would hire a maid, personal chef, and find a laundering service.

5 Jobs I've Had:
1. Receptionist at Cost Cutters
2. Clerk at a Christian book store
3. Data entry for the American Cancer Society
4. Telemarketer for an asphalt paving company
5. Flute teacher

5 Things People Don't Know About Me:
1. My two front top teeth are fake.
2. I'm kind of a clean freak and really enjoy organizing everything.
3. I like to watch Star Trek: Next Generation.
4. I've just recently become a Guitar Hero enthusiast.
5. I can't believe I have a blog--I vowed to never have a blog--and here I am--with a blog.

And now the fun part that I have been anxiously awaiting since I began composing this post. . . .
I tag my friends Mandy and Jen C.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Milestone Reached

Yesterday I reached one of many milestones in my life as a mom of two that I previously thought impossible. If you are a mom of two or more and are reading this, I'm sure you accomplish this amazing feat weekly and I'm in awe of your ability to do so. I'm actually quite impressed that I have been able to avoid making this excursion with both kids for the past 5 months. But, yesterday as I stared at my empty cupboards and barren refrigerator and later got the call from Ben that he was going to be working late, I realized I needed to lay aside my fears, load BOTH kids into the minivan, and head to the grocery store.

Allie was quite excited when she woke up from her nap and I told her we would be going to Rainbow. However, she seemed a little confused when I began to get Zach ready to go as well. Actually, at this point I too was a little confused as to why I thought this was a good idea. But, confusion aside, we all got our coats on and managed to make it out to the garage in record time. Amazing.

The whole way to Rainbow I was preparing Allie by giving her the play-by-play instructions on how we were going to navigate through the grocery store. We pulled into the parking lot and behold - the closest customer with child parking space was open. Yet again, amazing.

After getting out of her carseat, Allie actually held my hand without objection while I lugged Zach along with his carseat into Rainbow and placed him in the front of the cart. I loaded Allie into the back of the cart and proceeded to the produce department. As I began filling up the cart, Allie was incredibly thrilled by the fact that she could help arrange all the food. By the time we made it to the dairy aisle and the cart was nearly full and her cookie from the bakery was long gone, Allie was definitely getting a little cramped (I sympathized with her--she was almost completely covered in food) and was pretty much ready to be done. So, I threw some milk and cheese on top of the pile and we were ready to go. (Notice that I have not mentioned a word about Zach. That is primarily because I completely forgot Zach was with us. He basically sat in his carseat the entire time and did not even make a noise.) We made our way quickly to the checkout lane. I payed while Allie waited patiently by the cart and the friendly man at the end of the lane bagged our groceries. We made our way out to the van just as smoothly as we made our way into the store and that was that. Totally amazing.

Honestly, this was probably one of the best experiences I've ever had at the grocery store since having kids. I would even go as far to say that I actually ENJOYED going to the grocery store with both kids. It is crazy I say that because I don't even really enjoy going to the grocery store without kids.

And now my blogging must come to an end as the napping children awake. . . .

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Parental Worries

I'm a worrier--always have been and probably always will be. Now that we have kids there seems to be a lot more to worry about, an infinite amount of worries. However, as I was thinking about my habit of worrying today I realized that my worries have changed dramatically since Zach came along. So, listed below for your enjoyment are my parental worries: the first worry as it pertained to only having Allie around and the transformed worry now that Zach has joined our family.

  1. Oh no....I put Allie down for a nap an hour ago and she hasn't made a peep. I better check on her to see if she is still breathing. I'm not going near their rooms--hopefully they'll both sleep for another hour and continue to be good nappers for the remainder of the week so that they will be well rested and a joy to be around.
  2. Allie is screaming her head off...I hope that she is ok, I better rush right to her side and check on her. The kids are screaming their heads off...that means they are still breathing and alive so I can hopefully finish washing this last dish before I go check on them.
  3. Allie fell down and hit her head...will she have permanent brain damage, do we need to rush her to the ER? No bruise, No blood, No problem.
  4. Ah! Allie is eating something off the floor and is going to get some sort of weird incurable disease. 5 Second Rule!
  5. Allie is 5 months old and is still not rolling over--she will be developmentally behind for the rest of her life. Zach is 5 months old and still not rolling over--thank goodness I can put him somewhere and he just stays put.
  6. Allie is over 2 and not potty trained--how shameful. By the time they go to college, Allie and Zach will both be proficient and excel at the use of the potty.
  7. Allie hasn't nursed in 3 1/2 hours so I better wake her up to make sure she has enough to eat. Zach weighs a whoppin' 17 lbs and I am NOT waking him up to eat--it isn't like he's failing to thrive.
  8. The only vegetable Allie will eat is broccoli-how will she ever get the well rounded nutrients she needs to grow? Heck, I can't even get Ben to eat broccoli (or any other vegetable for that matter) and he doesn't seem to have a problem growing.
  9. Every inch of my child's skin has to be covered before venturing out the door during a Minnesota winter. Above 30 degrees? It's balmy! Ok, so we still need a coat, but no hats and no mittens!!
  10. TV will rot my child's brain. Hey, thanks to Baby Einstein, Allie now knows all of her musical instruments, animals (plus animal noises), and can even name some body parts in French.

I think it is pretty normal for all parents to worry. Worrying is just one of the many things that comes along with being a mom or dad. However, I am thankful that I believe in a God that is infinitely bigger than all of my perceived "infinite" worries. I can rest in knowing that God loves my children even more than I do and has a perfect plan for their little lives. As I look to Him, He will guide me to be the perfect mom for Allie and Zach.

When I feel overwhelmed by my role as a mom and often fall into my worrying ways, I find comfort in the words of Jesus found in Matthew 6.

25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Work

There has been quite a lot of conversation revolving around work at our home lately as Ben is working a ton of overtime hours doing inspection on the 35-W bridge reconstruct. They have been working 'round the clock on the new bridge, resulting in some pretty long and awkward hours for Ben. Allie is very curious about this concept of "work." For a while, when she asked "Where's Daddy?" the simple answer "He's at work" would suffice. However, a few weeks ago Allie added "What does Daddy do at work?" to her daily ritualistic question regarding Ben's whereabouts. Ok...that's an easy enough answer: "He builds roads and bridges." So, Allie is very proud to announce to all that "Daddy builds roads and bridges." Allie is also delighted to declare that her Mommy goes to work to "teach girls to play flutes" and Grandpa goes to work to "work on computers."

Anyway, tonight while I "was teaching girls to play flutes" Allie informed Ben that she too was going to work. So, Ben followed Allie into her bedroom to inquire what exactly it is that she does at work. The answer: "Play games and read books." Yep, that was her answer! As he was relaying this story to me, Ben remarked that he really needs to find a job like that. Hey-I guess I have it pretty good. Fortunately enough for me, playing games and reading books fits right into my daily job description!

I'm a Blogger Now

Well, I did it. I started a blog. I have enjoyed reading blogs by my friends (see side bar at right) and thought it was about time I started one. Too bad this post is going to be so short. I'm not too tech saavy and it has taken me literally all afternoon to set this blog up (shameful, I know). I wanted to at least make my first post before I have to leave to teach flute lessons! So, check back--I promise more exciting stories will soon be posted :)