Monday, June 30, 2008

Say Cheese!

Ok, Zach...I get need to spit...apparently you are not a fan of cheese.

Alright, Allie...yes, you are indeed just as gifted at spitting as Zach is.

Wow...Allie...let's make sure our hugging does not crush your brother.

I said HUG, Allie. Not STRANGLE!


You have just witnessed a miracle.

Two kids...smiling AND looking at the camera.

(And you thought it only took me 5 tries-ha! What I didn't tell you is that it took at least 35-40 attempts to achieve this photographic masterpiece.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Foody Friday

It has been a while since I have participated in Jenny's Foody Friday over at A Latte Talk, but when I read this morning that my friend is a fellow hater of drinking plain boring water, I knew I had to contribute something.

First of all, it is not that I completely detest drinking water, but after downing about a billion glasses of ice water in my lifetime, I admit I am just plain bored with it. So, then, what do I drink when I am really thirsty? And, I definitely get REALLY thirsty, especially when I'm pregnant in the summer. And no...for those of you wondering, I am NOT preggers this summer, but I have been the last 2 out of 3 summers and I was INSATIABLY thirsty all the time!

My all time favorite thirst quenching beverage has always been iced tea. The Lipton tea bags brewed at home used to serve me well, until Starbucks introduced me to this:

A Venti Shaken Black Iced Tea...sweetened with 2 splenda packets.

Just the thought of this delectable beverage is causing my mouth to become drier than the Sahara. (MUST. HAVE. STARBUCKS. NOW.) At first, I thought my desire to drink this beverage, literally all the time, was a pregnancy craving...but alas, I must now admit that it is not. I'm still WAY addicted.

Good thing for me (and you), they sell this at your local Starbucks (and also online here):

Tazo Black Tea Bags for home brewing.

Yum. I'm still working on perfecting the home brew method so that it tastes just like the ones you can buy at Starbucks, but I'm not quite there yet. Still, in my opinion, this is the BEST iced tea, EVER. Move over Lipton, a new tea is in the Dzioba home!

Ok, ok...I do realize that the above posting wasn't necessarily a recipe for a beverage as requested by our Foody Friday host. So, to make up for my outright and blatant product advertisement, I will end with providing two actual recipes (well...just a really isn't much of a recipe) for my favorite party drinks. The first, Red Slush Punch, we served at our wedding reception to raving reviews. The second, (hmm...I don't really know if it has a name as I think it may be sort of made-up), we'll call it Lime Frosty Punch, has been served at several baby and wedding showers I've hosted and I never have leftovers. Hope you enjoy!

(shameless disclaimer...neither can compare in quality or taste to a Starbucks Venti Shaken Black Iced Tea)

Red Slush Punch

2-3 oz packages of strawberry flavored gelatin
1-6 oz can of frozen lemonade
1-46 oz container of pineapple juice
1-6 oz can of frozen orange juice
1/4 c sugar
2 to 3 - 2L bottles of White Soda

Mix gelatin according to package directions. Add sugar and mix well. Mix in lemonade and orange juice with 1/2 can each of diluted water. Add pineapple juice. Put in a large container (either a jello mold or ice cream pail works well) and freeze. When ready to make punch, remove from freezer approximately 2 hours prior to serving. Place in punch bowl and pour white soda over. Serve.

Lime Frosty Punch

Lime sherbet (actually, you could probably use any flavor of sherbet depending on what color/flavor combo you are going for)
White Soda (lemon-lime soda works best if you are using lemon or lime sherbet)

Pour white soda in punch bowl. Scoop sherbet into punch bowl. Mix until frothy. Serve.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Ben!

Yesterday we celebrated Ben's birthday! In the morning, the kids and I made a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles, wrapped presents, blew up balloons, and colored 'Happy Birthday' signs. Ben got home from work a little early so we could celebrate together as a family before just Ben and I headed out, alone, for a nice celebratory dinner at Murray's. Thanks to my brother and sister for the gift certificate to Murray's (their birthday present for both Ben and I) and also to my sister for volunteering to watch the kids last night so we could truly enjoy our Silver Butter Knife Steak which was d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. And, they aren't lying when they say you can cut the steak with a butter knife. Ben tried smooth as butter...what more could a guy want on his birthday?

And, as a final birthday tribute to Ben, I thought I would post, in pictures, a few reasons why we love him so much. Here goes:

He gives the best baths--even in the sink.

He knows how to put a 2-year old to work--and make it fun.

He knows how to relax--at the park and in the back yard.

He does things with the kids that mommy would never do -- like "painting" faces with markers and "big kid toys" at the park.

He's enthusiastic about teaching the kids to do new things.

He isn't afraid to play dress-up.

He can push both kids on the swings, simultaneously.

He's a great dad. Allie and Zach adore him--and he adores them.

He knows the best way to his wife's heart is through a piece of German Chocolate Cake.

And, he loves me anyway.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"Oh Man!"

A conversation I overheard between Allie and Ben last night before bath time:

Ben: "Oh man! Allie, you have to sit back farther on the potty."

Allie: "Don't say that. I am not a man. You're a man."

Ben: "Yep, you're right, I am a man."


Allie: "No, actually, you're a boy."

Ben: "No, I am a man."

Allie: "No, I thnk you're a boy, like Zach. A boy. But I am not a man."


Ben: "Alright, Allie."

Friday, June 20, 2008

Zach's First Words?

Zach will be 9 months old next month and it is difficult to determine whether or not what we are hearing him say are actual words or just "baby-talk" that coincidentally sounds like a word. Here are a couple examples:

My mom and I took Allie and Zach swimming on Wednesday. He LOVED swimming in the big pool (or basically what amounted to being held in the water while he kicked and splashed to his heart's desire). Anyway, both my mom and I noticed that he kept on splashing and saying "Wa...Wa...Wa...Wa..." Over and over again. Could it be he was trying to say water?

Yesterday we went to our friend Owen's 3rd Birthday party and Zach was playing in the yard while a bunch of older kids were talking about their Daddies. Zach also chimed in by saying "Da...Da...Da...Da...." Was that Daddy?

In the morning when I go to get him in his crib I usually ask him if he is hungry and wants some milk. He always responds with something to the effect of "Mmma...Mmma...Mmma...." Maybe he is saying milk or mom?

I remember Allie did similar things at about this age. At 9 or 10 months old she would always point to things and say, "and dis?" Finally, after about a month I realized she was asking "What's this?" She would also answer "Mmm" when asked if she was hungry or if I walked in a room. And, then "momma" followed shortly after.

So, is this just Zach mimicking and experimenting with sounds or is he actually starting to talk? I'm not sure. Any thoughts?

Some More Allie-isms

Before Going Outside to Play:
"Mom! I don't want the sun to burn me. Let's put on some sunscream."

A Dinnertime Conversation:
Allie: "Please pass the money."
Me: "What?"
Allie: "The money. I need the money. The bear money. For my bread."
Me: "Oh...the honey?"
Allie: "Yes, please pass the honey."

After Hitting Zach with her Magic Wand:
Me: "Allie, you have to be gentle with Zach. He is little. You can't hit him hard with your wand. Do you think you hurt him, Allie?"
Allie: "Ya. I just boppetied him on the head and then he got a little ouchy."
Me: "You what?"
Allie: "I just boppetied him, Mommy."
Me: "Maybe you should say you are sorry to Zach."
Allie: "Sorry Zach. For boppety-ing you."

A Conversation with Grandpa:
Me: "Allie, let's not put our feet in people's faces. That's kind of gross."
Grandpa: "Yep. They smell. What do your feet smell like?"
Allie: (After sniffing her foot) "Hmmm....I think they smell like flowers."

Mouse Update

The rodent is officially gone. In all actuality, it is officially dead.

How can I make this claim with such certainity?

Is it because the critter was trapped in one of the gazillion mouse traps strategically placed throughout our home? Or perhaps it met its untimely demise upon a chance encounter with my own personal mouse murderer?

Of course not.

Lucky me. I found it. Dead. While cooking dinner last night. Underneath one of the kitchen cabinets. Dead.

My mouse murderer got rid of it for me because I refused to touch it. Or look at it.

And so we are resting mouse free again. At least for the time being.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer Fun

Summer is fun. It is just plain F-U-N...FUN! And, I'm thanking God for the extra dose of patience that also seems to come along with these fun summer days. The little things that all kids do to challenge their parents--whining, fit throwing, deliberately doing everything that a parent says 'no' to, more whining, crying....insert your child's most annoying behaviors here--that would ordinarily drive me absolutely NUTSO on a cold dreary day in the middle of bleak January just do not seem to bother me as much on a beautiful blue-skyed, bright, sunny, 80-degree June day. I'm not saying that I don't get annoyed....that would most definitely be a big fat lie! I get annoyed, but it seems easier to brush it off and just move on with our day. So, I guess it is safe to say I get slightly annoyed instead of really, really, really annoyed.

For example, let's take for instance our summer outing yesterday. The kids and I were really excited to spend the day at Como Park/Zoo in St. Paul with a few of my girl friends and their kids. We packed our PB&J picnic lunch, complete with carrot sticks, applesauce, string cheese, and juice boxes (in case you're wondering Zach had baby cereal...the one tooth just isn't quite enough yet to chomp our food). Since Allie was up by 6:30 a.m. and could not contain her excitement, we ended up leaving our house by about 8:45 and got to Como at 9:30 before opening time at 10:00. I parked the car in one of the prime parking spots (due to the fact that most normal people with little kids do not arrive a half hour before opening time) and took the opportunity to nurse Zach in the mini van while Allie 'drove' in the front driver's side seat and asked about a zillion and one times when we could get out and ride the rides. I wasn't sure that our friends we were meeting were planning on going on the rides, so I told her that I didn't know if we would be going to that part of the park. We have never been to a kiddie park before with Allie so I probably should have taken the time to explain to her how the whole ride thing know...wait in line, hand them a ticket, get on the ride, stay on the ride, you get ONE turn on the ride, and then you must exit quickly to go to the next ride. But, I didn't...and later on in the day, that lesson will be learned.

Anyway, after Zach finished nursing we packed up the double stroller with the diaper bag, picnic lunch, and my purse and headed to the carousel to wait for our friends. Allie is not too keen on waiting. She absolutely did not want to sit in the stroller...or stand by me...or sit by me...or really stay anywhere in the general vicinity of my sight. This would normally really annoy me, but it just didn't get to me yesterday. I was just slightly annoyed. So, I bribed her with some food which kept her in remote eyesight for a while and then we began walking around as we continued waiting for our friends.

We met up with our friends at about 10:15. I actually didn't see them at first, but then heard my name being called loudly and turned around to see them across the park waving at me to come over. So, I called out to Allie (who was now running ahead of me in the complete opposite direction of where we needed to go) and she turned to look as I pleaded with her nicely to come and follow me.

That's exactly when I saw it: the little spark in her eye that says "Are you kidding me, Mom? I am most definitely not going to do what you ask of me! And if you really make me do it, I will absolutely not do it quietly!" So, as the inevitable fit was beginning to ensue, it was aggravated by the fact that she stumbled to the ground and skinned her knee (and, yes, she drew blood so there was more freaking out as she realized she was bleeding) as she was frantically running in the total opposite direction of where I wanted her to go. Again, normally, this would be a huge annoyance, but I was actually only slightly annoyed and then proceeded to pick her up, hug her, plunk her in the stroller, and head toward my friends while also digging through my purse to find a band aid.

And, then, we were on to the rides...the rides that I had not taken the opportunity to explain. And so Allie thought it was just like a normal park where you get to play on whatever you want, whenever you want with all the other kids. As much as I tried to explain the whole waiting and taking turns thing, it was pretty much lost in the screams of a child who thought that I was telling her she could not ride the rides. Again, usually very annoying, but today, only slightly. Thankfully after a few rides, Allie finally began to understand that I wasn't depriving her of anything, and she had a total BLAST on every ride that her little 36-inch tall body was able to board.

At this time you are probably starting to wonder about Zach. Yes, he was indeed along. But, like always, he was sooo good and easy going...just taking everything in and eating his weight in fruit puffs. He also got to go on a few rides with Allie and had a lot of fun going 'round and 'round in the race cars and turning the wheel. Definitely way cute!

And, so the day continued with slight annoyances that did in fact threaten to ruin the fun, but never succeeded. We got to see all the animals: giraffes, tigers, lions, seals, fish, gorillas.... We got to see the way cool butterfly tent. There were literally HUNDREDS of HUGE colorful butterflies flying around in this caterpillar shaped tent filled with gorgeous flowers. Allie and Zach both loved watching all the butterflies...that is until Zach fell asleep...while I was holding him...on my hip....facing outward. I'm actually not quite sure when he fell asleep in the tent as I didn't really notice he was asleep until we were leaving the tent and his head was kind of slumped over. That's pure Zach, though. I was able to get him comfortably in his stroller and he slept for the next half hour or so while we all ate our picnic lunch. Luckily, he woke up in time to scarf down his meal as well.

At about 1:45 p.m. I thought the best way to end our day at Como would be a ride on the carousel. It was nearing nap time ( nap time was basically over and there had been no sleeping) and I knew a meltdown was imminent, but we had time for just one more fun thing, right?? It IS summer and summer IS fun, right??

So, I plopped Zach in the Baby Bjorn, we bought our tickets, and made our way to the carousel: Huge fit ensues while waiting in line for the carousel as complete exhaustion is now setting in and we have apparently forgotten amusement park ride etiquette. After what seems like FOREVER (and I'm sure it was in actuality only about a couple minutes), they FINALLY let us on the carousel. Another huge fit ensues as I lift Allie up onto a horse. Apparently, I was not listening before...Allie wanted to ride in the Cinderella carriage, NOT a horse. We made our way to the carriage, sat down, and are all smiles as the carousel began to go 'round.

Fit over? Of course not. Half way through the ride, Allie changed her mind and in fact NEEDED to ride a horse. Great. Thankfully I convinced her that we would quickly ride a horse after the carousel came to a stop and the crisis was averted for the time being as all three of us enjoyed the rest of the ride.

Carousel stops...We step out of the carriage...I lift her up on a horse...Everyone is now off of the carousel...Allie is still on the horse...She will not get off of the horse...She refuses. So, I picked her up with one arm. Allie is kicking and screaming bloody murder. We make our way off of the carousel to pick up our double stroller and head to the minivan that is thankfully parked directly in front of the carousel. And yes, all 21.5 pounds of Zach was still strapped to the front of me in the Baby Bjorn as happy and carefree as ever, despite the red-faced, shrieking, kicking, wriggling, 2-year old under my arm.

So, here I am on this beautiful, sunny, bright, June day at Como Park: pushing a huge clumsy stroller filled to the brim with everything but children, chubby lunk of a baby strapped to my front, screaming preschooler in the football hold under one arm, and I'm desperately searching for my keys that I can't seem to find as I am quickly approaching my minivan where I suddenly realize that there is already another family sitting in their own minivan behind mine in the parking lot just waiting for me to pack up and leave so that they can take over my prime parking spot. Nice. This whole ending definitely has really, really, REALLY annoying written all over it.

But, would you believe that I was smiling...actually I'm pretty sure by this time I was LAUGHING. God had turned my annoyance into laughter. Praise the Lord!

Somehow, unbeknownst to me, I managed to get the kids and all the stuff successfully packed into the van. Allie continued to scream. Zach was laughing and looking out the window as we headed toward home. We hit road construction and HEAVY traffic. Minivan comes to a complete stop. Allie was still screaming. I was singing along to the radio and smiling.

Yesterday was a beautiful, blue-skyed, bright, sunny, 80-degree June day and Summer is F-U-N...FUN! Either that, or I've completely lost my mind. :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Weekend Update

Our weekend began early this past Friday morning after we loaded the back of the minivan with all the essentials needed for a weekend away from home (and FYI...packing light takes on a whole different meaning when you have a baby and a preschooler), strapped the two kids securely in their car seats, made sure that both kids had ample food and entertainment for the car trip, and began our trek back to Waukesha, WI for my brother's high school graduation.

In the pre-kid days the trip from the Twin Cities to Waukesha would take Ben and I approximately 5 hours...not so bad. This past Christmas the trip back to Waukesha took 11 hours...that was pretty bad. Granted, there was a blizzard and visibility was pretty much zero, there were about a zillion cars and semis in the ditch, we drove about 35-40 miles per hour the ENTIRE way (and actually hit some spots where traffic was completely stopped or we would drive a whoppin' 10 miles per hour), and we also had a newborn and a 2-year old in the car which amounted to a stop almost every single hour for either eating or a diaper change. Anyway, we were figuring that the trip this past weekend would take us 7-8 hours complete with stops for pottying (now that Allie is potty-trained), diaper changes, and eating...which still didn't seem that bad, especially knowing that both kids would probably nap in the car for at least 1-2 hours of that time and the rest of the time they'd be occupied by their 'special' car toys or a DVD. However, what we were NOT figuring on was the closure of the main freeway running from the Twin Cities to Milwaukee (I-94) due to flooding. Now, our kids are truly amazing car travelers, but after approximately 10 hours in the car, they had both had quite enough. And, actually, after 10 hours on the road, truth be told, I think both Ben and I had also had quite enough. :)

On a brighter note, although the car ride was INSANELY long, there were some fun highlights:

  1. We got to see the birthplace of the Republican Party. Yes, folks, it is true. Apparently the Republican Party was founded in this quaint white cabin in Ripon, WI.
  2. We went off-roading in the mini-van. Ok. So, it wasn't really off-roading, but it was pretty close. Ben navigated us through a 'short-cut' that included an extremely narrow 1-lane gravel road through some farm fields and also what looked to me to be a Wisconsin jungle. I do believe we saved a ton of time, though. It definitely got us through one complete traffic jam and also helped the kids to finally fall asleep.
  3. I discovered that not all gas stations have scuzzy bathrooms. In fact, the gas station restrooms we stopped at were by far a million times cleaner than any rest stop or fast food joint we stopped at along the way. By the way, Allie has an extremely large bladder. She didn't have one accident the entire time!
  4. I learned that while nursing Zach in the car I should not turn on the AC and radio without turning on the engine. If I fail to turn on the engine while running the AC and radio it will result in the car battery dying and then Ben will have to dig through the back of the van to find the jumper cables and proceed to ask the three guys from Illinois parked next to us if they can jump our van while I sit inside the van praying earnestly with both kids that God will help daddy and the other nice men (that in all actuality were extremely irritated at having to help us) fix our van even if it meant I was at fault in the first place..... Thankfully, the van started. Lesson learned.
  5. Ben and I talk a lot when I drive. We don't talk so much when he drives and I usually fall asleep.
  6. The GPS is an invaluable tool.
  7. Stickers, magnets, and fruit snacks are the best way to ward off boredom.
  8. When Zach begins spitting and chucking every single toy given to him over the side of his car seat, it's time to make a pit stop.
  9. Apparently the town of Waupun is known for their many beautiful and artistic bronze sculptures. We only saw one...of a naked lady...not quite sure I get the draw. There is this HUGE correctional facility in Waupun-complete with what seems to be armed look out towers and barbed wire atop massively high chain-linked fencing. Maybe the whole sculpture thing is their way to emphasize a different side of Waupun. I don't know if it is working, though. I still think if you're from WI and someone says 'Waupun' you would simultaneously think 'prison' far before 'wow...Waupun is the world famous home to many beautiful bronze sculptures.'
  10. Watertown, WI was literally full of water.

We pulled into our driveway yesterday at approximately 3:30 p.m. and were thankful for the weekend away and time to celebrate with my bro, but were also happy to be back home.

I had cleaned and done laundry before leaving on Friday, so the house was supposed to be clean when we got back...and it was...for the most part...except for...

Mouse droppings. Yuck. One in the living room, one in the bathroom, one in Allie's bedroom, and several downstairs in the basement. Ben is usually a very easy going guy, but when it comes to mice, he declares full out war. Ben doesn't hate anything, really, except for green beans, zucchini, ocra, and.....rodents. He has zero tolerance for ANY rodent taking up residence in our house. He spent literally the first 2 hours upon arriving home looking behind every piece of furniture with a flashlight, moving items downstairs looking for evidence of the critter, scouring the outside of the house to see where the vermin could be getting no avail. He set up several mouse traps before we went to bed (still haven't caught anything) and even told me this morning that he heard them scurrying on our venting in the basement last night around midnight. Great.

We've had a couple previous encounters with some shrew-like animals getting into our house...remind me...I'll have to post the stories later because they are pretty hilarious...and every time one of these little rodents makes their way into our dwelling, Ben morphs into psycho rodent-killer mode armed and ready with three forms of mouse traps, enough mouse poison to kill a village, and cans upon cans of insulation foam to fill any possible hole in the house (no hole is too small) where the vile vermin can get in.

I am incredibly thankful for the determination of my mouse murdering hubby. He will not rest until the fuzzy intruders are DEAD....and I'm basically too chicken to kill them myself. I'm thankful for a hubby who will step up to the plate and protect his family. :) Wish him luck this week...I'll let you know if he catches anything...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

One of the Best Things About Your Birthday After Becoming a Mom

Kid Birthday Cards:
My husband's hidden artistic ability revealed at last.

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Toothless Wonder, No More.

That's right. Yesterday, the months and months of drooling, knawing, more drooling, biting, and yes even more massive amounts of drooling finally produced a very very small bottom left tooth. Pictures to come as soon as the tooth is big enough to actually see.

Happy Anniversary!

This past Saturday, June 7, Ben and I celebrated our 5-year wedding anniversary. I know that in the grand scheme of things 5 years isn't that long, but still, I am amazed that we have been married for 5 years already! Where did the time go?!

A few weeks ago after my sister got engaged we were feeling rather nostalgic so we broke out the ole' video tape of our wedding ceremony. We watched the ENTIRE video (and wow, we had a super long wedding...I guess I don't remember it feeling that long...deepest apologies go out to our bridesmaids and groomsmen...that was a really long time to stand!) . We were encouraged by the sermon our pastor gave (yes, it was indeed a sermon, a long sermon, but that was not my original plan as I only allotted him 5 minutes to speak..apparently that wasn't sufficient...ha ha) and were also reminded of all the flood of emotions and excitement from that very special day. I know it sounds a little corny, but the day I married Ben was indeed the happiest day of my life.

Both Ben and I felt that it was a little surreal to watch our wedding video and see ourselves getting married...I mean, we both saw ourselves, but then again, we have both grown and changed so much in the past 5 years that in a way it was like seeing a different version of ourselves: a version that hadn't yet had the argument over who was going to do the dishes that evening, or couldn't contain their excitement in shopping for their first Christmas tree, or was disappointed when the other didn't really have any interest in seeing that movie, or feeling overwhelmed and overjoyed in finding out a new baby was on the way, or adventuring to purchase their first home together, or feeling so tired and crabby at the end of the day that bad words were spoken between them...a version that thought they had it all figured out and could never love each other more than that one moment in time as they stood in front of everyone to declare their commitment to one another for as long as they both should live.

I wouldn't necessarily change that version of Ben and I the day that we got married. It was truly a perfect day and I wouldn't want anything different. But, I am thankful that we aren't the same as we were 5 years ago. I'm thankful that God has brought challenges, both good and not-so-great, into our lives that continue to mold and shape us. I am thankful that as God is teaching us more about love, loving one another as husband and wife, and loving our children as well, that He is continually drawing us closer to Him. It also makes me excited to see what the next 5 years will hold...and the next 5...and the next...and the next..... It is reassuring to me to know that God will never be through with us and it is our hope that with every anniversary we will see the countless ways in which God has been working in our lives and changing us to be more like Him.
I thank my God every time I remember you.
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
being confident of this,
that he who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:3-6
By the way, Ben got me the BEST anniversary present ever: He was off work for the whole weekend--Friday night, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday! He also got me 2 dozen red long stem roses, which wasn't all that bad either. :) We spent all day Saturday together as a family doing some yard work and outside-around-the-house chores (I know, it doesn't sound all that romantic, but we were just happy to be all together!). Saturday evening, my parents came over to watch both kids so Ben and I could have a nice dinner alone together at Figlios in Uptown. We even got cheesecake with strawberries for dessert (and honestly it was the BEST cheesecake ever...definitely better than Cheesecake Factory!). After dinner, we did some clothes shopping at Ridgedale Mall (mall shopping is always more enjoyable minus the kiddos). We also rented some movies for the weekend and had fun chillin' on the couch together after the kids were all tucked in bed.

It was a great weekend.
Simply put, I love my husband.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Morning Nap Lament

The time has sadly come at last,
Zach's morning naps are in the past.

At eight-months old he is definitely through,
Oh woe is me, what will I do?!

That blessed morning siesta between nine a.m. and ten,
Will never EVER be the same again.

Truth be told, in the morning he will still soundly sleep,
Quietly in his crib for an hour or more without making a peep.

But then when afternoon nap time comes around,
Wails, screams, and kicks from his crib abound.

And then after only a meager twenty minutes of early afternoon rest,
He's awake for the remainder of the day; his mood is crabby at best.

So, in the best interest of Mommy's sanity,
Zach must sleep at the same time as his sister Allie.

To preserve the sacred afternoon peace,
Zach's morning naps must now cease.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Mini Vacation

Yesterday we returned home from our mini family vacation to Wisconsin Dells. We have been looking forward to this long weekend away together for over a month when Ben and I first booked our reservations at:After the crazy busy schedule we have had between church and work since January, Ben and I thought it was definitely time for our whole family to enjoy some much needed time away together to have fun. And, what could be more fun than a two night's stay at a hotel with a HUGE indoor waterpark?! We left on Sunday morning with our swimsuits packed, an incredibly excited 2-year old, and one pretty happy baby. We haven't had to do a lot of traveling with both kids yet, so I was a little nervous as to how the car ride would go. All in all, the kids were great! We didn't even have to use the DVD player at all! It took us about four hours to make it to the Dells, but that also included a one-hour stop in Black River Falls for lunch and some exploration of a park we found:After lunch, Allie slept in her carseat until we got to the Dells:Zach had a little more difficult time sleeping in the car. Basically, he only slept for about 30 minutes total. Oh well. Apparently, it was much more fun to play with rattles and eat fruit puffs!

We spent Sunday afternoon exploring all the waterslides, pools, and play areas at the indoor waterpark. Allie had a blast climbing in the huge water fort, going down the tube slides with Daddy, and zooming down the kiddie waterslides all on her own. Zach was a little reluctant of sitting in the water and instead enjoyed taking in all the sights and sounds of the waterpark while being held. My sister came along to help us out with the kids (which was fabulous!! Thank you Stephanie!!) so Ben and I were even able to go down some of the 'big kid' waterslides together.

After dinner on Sunday, we explored the indoor 4-story adventure-park (no water at this park) fully equipped with nets, tubes, slides, and guns that shot out nerf-like balls. There was even a little kiddie area where Zach had the opportunity to try out a slide!

After a pretty good night's sleep, we spent the ENTIRE day on Monday at the waterpark. A new favorite of Allie's was the wave pool. She loved riding the waves atop one of the tubes. We went down the waterslides countless times and enjoyed the lazy river. In the afternoon, the weather was warm enough to venture to the outside waterpark. Zach finally got over his fear of the water and enjoyed the outdoor kiddie pool by kicking, splashing, and playing in the water without being held the entire time! Allie even got to go down a 'big kid' tube slide in a double tube with Ben.
Before leaving on Tuesday morning, Ben took Allie to the waterpark for one last hurrah! I know she was definitely sad to leave and, actually, so were we! Allie was so exhausted that she slept the ENTIRE way home (3 hours!). Zach, on the other hand, slept for 30 minutes and then ate his weight in fruit puffs.

We would DEFINITELY go back to Great Wolf Lodge and I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone with little kids. There are so many waterslides and water play areas that are absolutely perfect for preschoolers and young grade school kids to do on their own. In fact, most all of the families we saw had babies and preschool age kids. If you have older kids, you may want to check out the Kalahari Resort in the Dells....Ben and I both commented that we would like to stay at the Kalahari once the kids are a little older and able to do more of the 'big kid' waterslides. My only complaint with Great Wolf Lodge is that their waterpark didn't open until 9 a.m. and our kids are pretty early risers. Allie was definitely ready to hit the pool by 7:30-8:00 a.m. Apparently our kids just don't get the concept of 'sleeping in' while on vacation. :)