Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More From the Journal

I actually intended to write a post about our trip to the MN State Fair yesterday, but unfortunately that will have to wait for another time (soon, though, I promise!) as I am too lazy to go downstairs and upload the pics from our camera onto our main computer. I have a nifty laptop I use to do blogging in the comfy chair in our living room and Ben has it all hooked up so that I can actually access the main computer from my laptop making it really easy to upload pics (that is if Blogger is actually working). Anyway, it's pretty handy. So, in the interest of actually carrying through with my idea to use my journal from this past winter for some blog posts...enjoy the following two entries:

Tuesday, January 8, 2008:

What a CRAZY day! While I was doing laundry in the basement Allie was in the adjacent playroom "making dinner" in her play kitchen for her ponies and Zach was actually upstairs in his crib sound asleep for a morning nap. Apparently, Allie thought it would be fun to close the door on mom which subsequently locked me inside the unfinished part of the basement where our washer and dryer are. So, basically, the mom was trapped and the kids had free reign of the house (well, Allie at least...Zach can't really get out of his crib). I was on the phone at the time talking to a friend from college, but quickly hung up to make a frantic call to Ben. After trying desperately to remove the hinge pins (as instructed to by Ben...I actually removed one successfully!), Allie was finally able to open the door for me. After Ben got home, he went downstairs to inspect how it was even possible for me to get locked in. His findings: I actually locked myself in (the lock was on my side of the door....so....I basically just should have unlocked the door to let myself out). Ben was laughing. I was not. I'm attributing the total loss of my mind to sleep deprivation.

Sunday, January 13, 2008:

A conversation I had with Allie yesterday -

Me: "Hey Allie, we're going to have some of mommy's friends over for dinner tonight. And, she is going to have a very big belly because there is a baby in her tummy. She is going to be a mommy soon!"

Allie: "Like you, mommy?"

Me: "Well, I don't have a baby in my tummy now. But, Zach used to be in my tummy until it was time for him to come out."

Allie: (Long pause...looking at me very puzzled and concerned) "But, how'd he get in there?"

Me: (a little shocked) "What? Baby Zach?"

Allie: "Ya, how'd baby Zach get into mommy's tummy?"

(at this point there is laughter and a loud shout from the other side of the house from Ben that went something like...."Ya, mommy, how did Zach get in there?!")

Me: "God put him in there, Allie"

And, then, I offered her a snack. Good thing 2-year olds are highly distractable.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Questions...

If you have been following my blog for any amount of time, it should come as no huge surprise to you that Allie is incredibly inquisitive about everything. Matched up alongside her intense curiosity is a keen eye for observation resulting in some tough questions that I have a really difficult time answering. Even if I honestly do not know the answer to any one of her given questions, she insists that I do. She just won't take "I'm not sure" for an answer, at all!

The biggest thing I struggle with in trying to answer Allie's ongoing stream of questions throughout each day is trying to give her honest answers in words, terms, and concepts that a 2-3 year old can understand. This is especially important to me when Allie brings up spiritual concepts or questions about God.

For instance, here is an example of a conversation yesterday at dinner:

Allie: "Where is God, mom? Is He here?"
Me: "Yep, Allie. God is here, right here with us."
Allie: (looking at me very confused) "But why can't I see Him?"
Me: "We can't see God, Allie. But, even though we can't see Him with our eyes, it doesn't mean that He isn't here."
Allie: "But, I want to see Him."

Wow...

This is a really hard concept for even adults to wrap our heads around and trying to explain it to a 2-1/2 year old proved rather difficult! We went on to talk about how God is everywhere and how He can be with Daddy on the bridge and also with us in our home at the same time. I usually follow her lead with these type of conversations and so it seemed my answers explained adequately what she was wondering about last night.

Today we had a similar conversation about our neighbor girl whose mother tragically passed away almost 2 years ago. Even though we haven't seen the little girl in a while, as we were pulling up our driveway this afternoon, Allie looked over to her house and out of the blue asked me where her mommy was. Our conversation continued on and went something like this:

Me: "Her mommy died."
Allie: "Died...what is died?"
Me: "Her heart stopped working, Allie."
Allie: "But, where is she now?"
Me: "She's not here anymore, Allie."
Allie: "So, then, where is she?"
Me: "Well, if she loved and trusted Jesus, she's in heaven with God."
Allie: "And, what if she didn't love Jesus."
Me: "Well, then she is in hell."
Allie: "Is God in hell?"
Me: "No, Allie. God is not in hell and that is why it is a scary place."
Allie: "Because there's no God there?"
Me: "Yep. That is why it is very important to love and trust Jesus here. So, that when our heart stops working, we can go to heaven and see Jesus."

Wow...these are some really tough questions! Again, I try to listen to her and follow her lead, but sometimes I wonder if I'm giving her too much information or not enough. I'm doing my best and continue to pray for the right words to help Allie in understanding these concepts, but I guess I wasn't really prepared for these questions from her at such a young age. I'm thankful that she is genuinely interested in God and pray that this will continue throughout her life.

Anyone have any great resources for explaining God and other foundational spiritual concepts to young children? I think it would be extremely helpful if I had a better understanding of what the mind and heart of a 2-3 year old can really understand.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Just when I thought that I had lost all blogging inspiration

...Friday night happened.

So, for this post I am taking a brief hiatus from the journal (I am not really sure you can call it a hiatus seeing as I only got around to posting one journal entry..haha...oh well) to report the happenings of Friday evening.

Ben got home from work unexpectedly in time for dinner on Friday and because I didn't really have anything prepared for dinner, other than grilled cheese or PB&J, we thought it would be fun to go out to Applebee's. Nothing too interesting to report from dinner other than the fact that both kids were unusually well-behaved and we had a great time at the restaurant. After dinner, we headed across the way to Northtown Mall to go look at the puppies. There is this really neat pet store at the mall (I think it is called 4 Paws and a Tail, but I'm not sure) and the kids always love to go and look at all the animals, including several different breeds of puppies. We walked through a few stores before it became increasingly evident that we had stayed out too late and we were almost on the brink of an Allie meltdown. We headed toward the van, all the while Allie sobbing because she "...just wanted to do some more shopping."

When we got home, we also realized that our petunias were looking a little wilty and almost crunchy, and because I'm getting quite weary of all the summer watering, I volunteered to take both kids inside and get them ready for baths if Ben was willing to water the plants. Needless to say, it didn't take much persuasion for Ben to oblige. :)

When we got inside, I also remembered that we had some major toy picking up to do before bed time, so I sat Zach on the living room floor and enlisted the help of Allie to tackle the job. Allie, in her current state of whining due to physical exhaustion, proved to be not that helpful. Oh well. Toys got picked up regardless. After which, a foul odor had filled the room, emitting from Zach's diaper.

As I scooped up our pudgy lunk to go and change his diaper (and yes, pudgy lunk is one of many lovingly affectionate terms for our boy), Allie starts yelling that she needs to go potty. I told her to proceed to the bathroom and that I would be there in a couple seconds to wipe her. She runs into the bathroom while I peak reluctantly into Zach's diaper to assess the damage. Believe me...it was B...A...D....BAD! There was poop EVERYWHERE. Definitely a 10 on the disgusting scale.

As I'm in mid-wiping phase, I start to hear panicking screams from the bathroom. At first I didn't think much of it because Allie had been quite dramatic all evening, resulting in many screams and wails that sounded unusually familiar to what was occurring now. So, I continued the wiping, but I started getting a little more worried as her screams began to escalate. I asked if she was ok, but I wasn't getting any sort of intelligible response. Now, I'm definitely worried. After Zach was sufficiently wiped clean, I decided to forgo putting on another diaper (after all, he was going to take a bath within the next 10 minutes anyway) and once again scooped up my bare-bottomed boy to go and check on his now emotionally distraught sister.


When I peered into the bathroom, I honestly started laughing the hardest I have laughed in a very...VERY...long time. There in the bathroom, hanging on white-knuckled for her dear little life, was my poor Allie: knees and feet sticking out of the potty, arms clinging helplessly to the sides of the bowl, with her butt completely inside! And, now, I was finally able to interpret what she had been screaming: "HELP ME! HELP ME! I FELL INTO THE POTTY!"

I quickly plunked Zach in the hallway and this time scooped Allie up. I helped her get out of her wet dress and underwear and proceeded to help her calm down, all the while attempting to suppress my giggles and laughter over the whole ordeal. After many hugs, lots of tears, and reassurance, I can assure you that Allie is not scarred for life. After she was able to speak again (like I said, she was VERY distraught), we had a conversation with Daddy (he had finally come in from the watering to see what the fuss was all about) that went something like this:

Ben: "Allie, what happened?"
Allie: "I fell in the potty...in the big hole...my butt just fell right in."
Jennifer: "I think she forgot to put her potty seat down."
Allie: "Yup. I used mommy's seat and then I fell right in."
Jennifer: (still laughing) "It was pretty funny!"
Allie: "No, it was not funny....actually, it was pretty scary for me!"
Ben: "Did you get all wet, Allie"
Allie: "Yes, I did. And, I couldn't get out. I tried to scoot and scoot with my butt, but I was stuck and I couldn't get out. It was very hard for me."
Ben: "Did mommy come in here and get you out?"
Jennifer: "Yup, I did, I came and rescued Allie."
Allie: "Yes, mommy came to help me, when I fell in the potty. And now I have to go potty."

Apparently with all the fuss, poor Allie had been holding it in all the while-she still had to go!

I honestly wish I had a picture to share with you, but I thought it may be a little cruel to leave Allie "stuck" in the toilet while I ran into the living room to get my camera. I already felt bed that it had taken me so long to get in there because of Zach's poopy diaper. Thankfully, neither child is showing signs of long term traumatization.

The rest of the night was also quite uneventful. The kids had a good bath and were both completely conked out in their beds by 8:30. I guess falling into a toilet can really wear a kid out.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lack of Inspiration...Bring Out the Journal

I've been having a difficult time lately coming up with new things to post...maybe because I feel like our days haven't been filled with any really, super exciting, life-changing events.

Take for instance today: it was a stay-at-home-most-of-the-day so that I could catch up on some much needed cleaning and laundry while Allie and Zach enjoyed a movie (complete with a yummy snack of goldfishies), played in the basement playroom (they literally took EVERY SINGLE toy out), "helped" with the sweeping and dusting and picking up of toys, devoured a gourmet lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches with grapes and blueberries and cantaloupe, listened to me read a pile of books before nap time, slept, and awoke ready to tackle the grocery store with mommy. Nothing too eventful at the grocery store either: Zach ate my grocery list, Allie was disappointed that there were no free cookies in the bakery (so to make up for this travesty, we ended up buying a bakery package of mini-cupcakes for our play date tomorrow), Allie almost caused a couple cart collisions as she decided to run way ahead of me, and Zach waved to every person that remotely looked in his direction. We then made our way to Papa Murphy's to pick up our $5.99 pepperoni pizza special for dinner. Ben made it home for dinner and after dinner all together, the kids (Ben included) played some more downstairs while I finished folding laundry and got lunch ready for our friends who are coming tomorrow. Then, it was the kids' bath time. And then it was the kids' bedtime. And now Ben and I are again sitting in the living room, watching the Olympics, hoping that Allie does not get up again (she's been up 3 times already). That's as normal of a day as it comes here in the Dzioba house.

Wow, this post is already a lot longer than what I originally anticipated...maybe I am not having as difficult a time as I originally thought in coming up with something to post!

However, here was what I was originally going to write regarding my inability to come up with new life stories to blog about:

Before I started this whole blogging venture I tried to keep a journal of memorable moments in the kids' lives. Although there aren't that many entries (remember...I said I "tried" to keep a journal...meaning that I was successful for...oh...maybe...about...a few weeks or so). But, I was paging through it, looking for some inspiration, and there are actually some pretty funny stories I recorded. Plus, I had already forgotten just how different things were for us a few short months ago with Zach being sooo little (only 3 months at the time of the journal) and Allie slightly over 2 (as opposed to almost 3 right now!) So, I thought during this dry spell of blogging inspiration, I could quote some of those past experiences from the journal. I also tried to keep a journal for a while (again, probably only about a few weeks) when Allie was a baby, and if I find that, I'll try to include some stories from it as well.

Here is your first glimpse. I'll try to go in chronological order. Disclaimer: Try to keep in mind I was writing these by hand, mostly before taking a nap in the afternoon or before bed at night...my apologies for any incoherency.

January 3, 2008

Zach spent his first morning in MOPPETs and did great! Allie, on the other hand cried when I dropped her off and cried when I came to pick her up. Apparently she can't decide whether or not she likes MOPPETs. She was so tired when we got home that she fell down twice while walking from the car to the house and threw the biggest fit when we got inside because I wouldn't let her eat lunch while holding bedtime bear (I was laughing inside because this was the MOST dramatic fit I've EVER witnessed her throw!). All the while, Zach was sitting in his car seat, wide eyed and happy. And then, he pooped. Lots. And then he wasn't so happy anymore because the poop leaked out of his diaper and was all down his leg. Oh-and by the way, the power is out and it is like 5 degrees outside right now. Great. Thankfully, Allie told me that "Daddy will fix it!"

Stay tuned for more entries in the days to come!

**As I just read the above post to Ben, he laughed and reminded me that this was the day that the power was literally out ALL DAY LONG. So, because we didn't want to stick around in the pitch dark of our freezing cold house, we ended up going out for dinner at Applebee's and staying out far too late for the kids walking Northtown Mall and letting Allie play in the indoor playground. We kept calling our house to see if the answering machine would pick up (then we would know for sure that the power was back on). Finally, way past Allie's bedtime, we were able to head home. HUGE fit by Allie ensued in the parking lot because she didn't want to leave...she cried the WHOLE way home and I believe through her entire bath. Oh, yes, and most of the crying was due to the fact that her balloon from Applebee's ended up out the van window. Zach must have either slept through the whole ordeal or was his normal happy-go-lucky self because I don't remember too much about him other than I had a hard time nursing him in public at the mall because he kept trying to pull the blanket off.**

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bed Rails and Boxes

Last Friday I decided it was finally time to get rid of the safety bed rails that have been attached to Allie's twin bed for the last year. She has already slept successfully in many beds without the security of the side rails and so I felt confident that she was ready for their removal on her own bed. Add to that, one almost-three-year-old girl's extreme excitement about the prospect of having a big girl bed, ". . .just like mommy and daddy's, wait, no, just like a princess bed!" and you have the perfect recipe for sound slumber for many nights to come.

Fast forward to last night. As Ben and I were relaxing on the couch in the living room while watching the Olympics, we hear a loud "THUD." Our first thought was that Allie had gotten out of bed, again (this is a really bad habit of hers: getting out of bed for a drink, or to go potty, or to ask us a question, or to find a particular stuffed animal, the list goes on. Anyway, point is, it is not at all unusual for her to get out of bed on any given night), and so after we didn't hear her running down the hallway, Ben decided to go in and check on her. A few minutes later, Ben sneaks out of the room while trying to contain his laughter.

Apparently, the bed rail removal does indeed induce a deep state of slumber: Allie had rolled off of her bed (that was the THUD) and was still sleeping soundly on the floor when Ben went into her room to check on her.

In other news, I cleaned all of the "baby things" out of Zach's closet that he doesn't really use anymore: burp rags, receiving blankets, baby sling, Baby Bjorn, the small hooded towels, all the drool/spit-up bibs, clothes that don't fit anymore, bottles, baby mobile, etc. As I was boxing it all up and stacking it in our basement storage area, it occurred to me that last year during the month of August, I was taking all of this same stuff out of the basement storage area, hauling it upstairs, and piling it neatly in Zach's closet in anticipation of his arrival on October 5.

I absolutely cannot believe how fast this year has gone by-I almost have a 3 year old and a 1 year old! I'm definitely enjoying this stage in the kids' lives. Allie is learning her letters and Zach is finding his voice. It has been so much fun to see how they interact and play together at this stage even though I have had to start taking on the role of referee a bit more now that Zach is able to get around (update: still not crawling, but he is scooting, rolling, and pretty much able to get anywhere and get into anything he wants, including Allie's most "precious" toys). We have definitely been enjoying every part of this last bit of summer with visits to Como Zoo, swimming, playing at the park, watering the plants, playing outside, and even a visit to an indoor play-park today (due to the rain).

So...instead of mourning the fact that the bed rails and boxes of baby gear that have adorned our home for the past year have been neatly tucked away in storage, I am finding myself excited for what this next year holds and all the new memories that are waiting to be made!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Trying to Contain My Excitement

And since I am having a difficult time containing my excitement regarding our upcoming weekend plans, I thought I would share it with all of you, my faithful blog readers! :)

My sister has offered to watch the kids tomorrow (thanks again Stephanie!!) while Ben (yippee!! He actually does not have to work on Saturday...well, actually there is a possibility of him having to work Saturday morning, but I'm hoping he doesn't have to) and I go to an actual movie theater to see this:

Ben and I used to see movies at the theater almost every other weekend before the kids came along. It was a definite favorite pass time of ours while dating and first married. We still enjoy movies, just in the comfort of our own home, 6-months or so after the blockbuster has hit the theaters, and also after the kids are tucked into bed for the evening. We're also huge fans of Batman or any super hero-type movies: Spiderman, X-men, Superman, etc.

After the movie, we have made plans to meet up with some friends at Chino Latino in Uptown. Dinner at a new restaurant that I have eagerly been anticipating visiting in addition to adult conversation--this is very exciting stuff for me!

Also, tonight marks the opening ceremonies of the Olympics!
It has been fun trying to explain to Allie what the Olympics are. She thinks the Olympic Stadium in Beijing is a Palace...it definitely looks royally grand!

My favorite event of the Summer Olympics is gymnastics. Needles to say, I was a bit bummed when Paul Hamm had to bow out of the competition due to injury. Fun fact of the day: The Hamm brothers are from Waukesha, WI...where Ben and I grew up...and went to Waukesha South High School...the same high school my mom went to.

And, now, my laundry awaits folding...

Happy weekend to all!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Some Moms Can Do it All. . .

But...
not this mom.

However, let it be known that I can do a lot of things:
I can cook...
I can clean...
I can do laundry...
I can be the best dressed guest at Allie's Tea Parties...
I can swim in a kiddie pool...
I can clean up bodily fluids of all kinds...
I can interpret kidspeak and babby babble...
I can put pigtails in Allie's hair...
BUT
As I have discovered this week,
I CANNOT cut Zach's hair...

EVER.

AGAIN.


That is right, I attempted to give my little boy's hair a trim. After all, the back of Zach's hair was getting long, almost mullet-like, and with fear in my heart that his hair would turn into this:(ok...come on...I know that at one time or another you've thought he was hot...but, look closely, did you realize that cool A.C. Slater has a mullet?!?!? And, as a sidenote, no, in case you're wondering my Zach is NOT named after Zack Morris...)
Anyway, how hard can it really be to cut a baby boy's hair? I just need a straight line in the back, right? And, come to think of it, I know plenty of other moms that cut their boys' hair all the time and it never looks bad.
So, after quickly realizing that this task was a bit more difficult than what I originally anticipated (not to mention the fact that I absolutely could not get Zach's head to remain still for more than 2 seconds at a time) and coming to the conclusion that the kitchen scissors didn't quite make the bottom hair line straight enough, I decided to get Ben's electric razor to even things out (in retrospect I believe the razor is where I went terribly wrong...the hair just kept on getting shorter and shorter...).

Here is what my hair-cutting abilities produced:



(hmmm...I think he may have been better off with the mullet.)

So, after coming to grips with the fact that I will probably not ever be a gifted barber, I broke down, forked over the $13.95, and took Zach to Kids Kuts to get it fixed. He sat on a horse with a Disney Cars cape, all smiles, while the nice lady fixed my disaster in less than 5 minutes.

For the remainder of the summer, we have traded in the mullet for a nice buzz cut:

And, thankfully, Zach seems to be pretty happy about his new look:

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Miss Manners

Here is a picture of our charming young lady...


in her "fanciest" dress and ready to leave for church.


She even let me fix her hair and was very proud of her pink headband...



And here are some pictures from later in the day.


Still in her fanciest dress.


Eating her very own ice cream cone...






Apparently, using your finger is superior to licking the cone...






Dilemma: using your fingers means ice cream melts all over your arm.


What is a fancy girl to do?


Lick your arm, of course...


And when that doesn't solve the problem quick enough...


Just put your whole hand in your mouth...


Afterwards, Allie claims enthusiastically:


"I really, really LOVE ice cream."


shameless disclaimer: I do in fact realize that my last two posts have been about my children consuming junk food. I promise...they really do eat good-for-you food as well. It just so happens that we don't have as many hilarious moments consuming ham and cheese on 12-grain bread as we do when licking...well...more like... bathing in... a DQ twist ice cream cone. In the future I promise to look for the humor in munching carrot sticks as much as the hilarity of frosting schmeared all over the face, hands, and body of my two kids from the piece of free grocery store cake that was supposed to be a cookie anyway.