Tuesday, September 30, 2008


So...after Allie did not eat anything all day long, cried every time she even remotely tried to eat, and was showing absolutely no signs of improvement after being on antibiotics for the past three days, I decided to take her in to see the doctor again this evening.

The good news: no strep.
The bad news: Hand/Foot/Mouth.

And that diaper rash that I thought Zach had developed: Hand/Foot/Mouth.

It is still only Tuesday.

It's Only Tuesday?!

Having sick kiddies and feeling quarantined in your own home can really make the time pass by slowly. I should clarify-I only have one sick kiddie (Allie-who has a pretty icky case of strep throat), but nonetheless, the time is just crawling by. We've been so caught up in the busy-ness of our fall schedule over the past few weeks, enjoying all the fun of being out and about, and this whole being sick thing has definitely put a damper on our style.

Allie gets very whiny when she is sick. And, I completely sympathize with her--poor little gal--I would be just as whiny, actually probably even more whiny, if my throat looked like hers and I couldn't shake my 102 degree fever. But anyway, I also think her whiny-ness can be attributed to basic social activity withdrawal and general boredom. She was terribly upset to have to miss church on Sunday and missing ECFE class on Monday was almost the end of the world to her. Allie's constant questioning regarding who is coming over to play has also not subsided. She really misses being out and about and playing with other kids. The only thing that is remotely keeping us sane is having Uncle Chris at our house for the past few days. Allie absolutely LOVES having Uncle Chris around to play with and he has proven to be a great social outlet for a rather sick little girl.

So...yes...it's only Tuesday. Chris leaves today. Hopefully Allie gets better soon so we can resume our social events calendar. One can only watch Cinderella and read Fancy Nancy so many times before going completely insane.

Here's a picture of Uncle Chris reading Allie her bedtime story:
On a completely unrelated note, I googled "Tale of Two Kiddies" just to see how original my new blog theme idea truly is. Bummer. There are already two other blogs by that name. Oh well. I'm still keeping it.
And, now I really must make more efficient use of the kids' nap time. I am about 3 days behind on my Bible Study (yikes!) and there are still dirty dishes in the sink from lunch. Why, oh why, am I blogging?!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The New and Improved Dzioba Family Blog

In case you're wondering, this is still indeed "The Dzioba Family" blog. It's just that after several months of blogging and wracking my brain trying to think up a creative name/theme for this blog (that isn't lame or hasn't already been taken), I finally thought of something: "A Tale of Two Kiddies." My brother has been staying with us for the past few days and has graciously helped me spiff up my blog page. He can do things like write html code and use Adobe Photo Shop, one of which I have no idea how to do and the other I can kinda sorta navigate around, but it takes me hours upon hours to do so.

Anyway, I hope to continue writing about all of my experiences as a mom of these two kiddies: the good times and the not so good times, the organized and the chaotic, the laughter and the tears. I hope you enjoy the new look and theme. And, if by chance this is actually a really dumb theme (which is entirely in the realm of possibility as I've definitely had quite a few "dumb" blog theme ideas over the past several months that have not passed the Ben approval test) or one that has already been taken, please wait a bit to comment as I'm still blinded by the excitement of actually coming up with something other than "The Dzioba Family."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another "Not Me!" Monday

Here it is - the second installment of "Not me!" Monday hosted by Mck Mama at My Charming Kids. And, just in case you're wondering: No, I did not spend all week thinking about and contemplating over what silly things I would do this week that would make my "not me" list...

I did not offer my daughter a cookie yesterday when she had not eaten ANY of her lunch just to see if she was truly sick (she didn’t take the cookie—she is indeed sick).

I most assuredly did not do a “happy dance,” complete with elated song and congratulatory words when my son pooped a hard turd instead of the messy diarrhea he’d been having for four very long days.

And as if one happy dance was not enough, of course I did not perform another one when my daughter successfully used the potty without my help at all and even told me to leave the bathroom because she was going to do it all on her own. No way...not me!

I also did not frantically call my husband this week at work because I locked myself out of the house and although I successfully located the hidden key (stashed for emergencies such as these), I couldn’t figure out how to remove it from its weather proof (and apparently human proof) box.

I absolutely did not forget to close the back door of the mini van before pressing the button to close the automatic garage door, which subsequently did not leave a big huge scratch on the back of the van from where the garage door did not come into contact with the back door of the van. And, I definitely did not sit there two hours later staring at the outside of the garage door and pushing the opener button about 10 gazillion times wondering why the heck the garage door would not open, only to go in through the side door of the garage and see to my horror that the back door of the mini van was tightly wedged against the garage door and keeping the garage door from opening up completely.

Of course I did not just leave my computer on while cooking dinner and writing this blog post for my husband to casually walk by and read about the mini-van incident for the first time in utter shock and surprise because I have obviously already told him about it. That would be really dumb, huh?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Silly Boy

Zach has been giving us much to laugh about lately. It seems with each passing day, more and more of his little personality is coming out. And, he is a really funny guy!
Here is a picture from last Friday morning: Apparently we didn't get to him quickly enough and so he decided to undress himself. Needless to say, he was incredibly pleased at his accomplishment.
Remember Allie's drumming incident? (if you need a refresher, click here)

I am pretty sure that he is attempting to even out the scores.


Here is a picture I also captured last week:

I'm not sure if he is conducting a symphony with his shoes or merely using them to part the Red Sea.


Here he is again:

Sportin' the "look how cute I am mom, I could never cause any trouble" look.

Hmm....I'm thinking the trouble makin' has only just begun!

Monday, September 22, 2008

If only. . .

Last night while in the basement playroom Zach crawled right into the side of Allie's Disney princess tent, collapsing it on top of itself and sending it tumbling to the floor. Allie looked at the tent, looked at Zach, then looked up at us with her big brown eyes already full of tears and for the 1,456,987 time during the day let out a huge scream, accompanied by a whole slew of indiscernible whimpers and whines, followed by a throwing of her entire body to the floor in hopeless despair. I asked her nicely if she thought that screaming and throwing a fit would help fix her tent to which Ben interjected, "Well, if only screaming could fix all of the world's problems, we are definitely raising the world's next greatest leader."

Vote Princess Allie for President: 2058

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Not Me Monday

I came across this new blog carnival hosted by Mck Mama and thought it was too hilarious to not participate! Make sure to check out some hilarious "not me" mom moments for a good chuckle. Here are some of my "not me's" of the past week:

I did not just go to my favorite store on Thursday, anticipating shopping a HUGE sale that begins Friday, look at the clerk in confused bewilderment when she told me that nothing was on sale until the following day, and insist that it was indeed Friday, only to come to the embarrassing conclusion that the clerk was actually correct and it truly was Thursday. How dumb is that?! That is definitely NOT something I would do.

I most definitely did not pretend to not know the words to my daughter’s favorite kids’ song simply because if I have to listen to the melody again, or even worse, hear the lyrics spewing forth from my own mouth, I may literally hurl. No way, not ME!

I absolutely did not take one of the cookies at the grocery store bakery that are labeled “FOR KIDS 12 AND UNDER.” And, I definitely did not break off a minuscule crumb and give it to Zach so that I could justify my eating of the kids-only grocery store bakery cookie. Nope, not me!

I also definitely did NOT pretend that I didn't smell the huge poopy mess squished inside my son's diaper and wait patiently for my hubby to exclaim, "I THINK HE POOPED AGAIN," then reply back, "What? He did? I don't smell a thing, " and then sheepishly hide my giddy grin due to getting out of changing one of the most absolute nastiest diapers I have ever smelled, EVER. Of course, I'm not that mean...I most assuredly did NOT do that!

Thoughts from the Bridge

Yesterday marked Ben's first day absolutely free from any and all phone calls or work associated with the I-35W Bridge. So, in celebration of this long awaited and momentous day, we all piled into the minivan to go and see "Daddy's bridge."

At Ben's first suggestion of this idea, I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical and not that excited to go and see the very bridge that has taken hours, days, weeks, and months away from our time together as a family. But, we had been promising Allie for quite some time that we would go and see The Bridge and Ben persuaded me with a promise of a visit to the Farmer's Market nearby and a walk along the Stone Arch Bridge where we would also be able to see the completed I-35W Bridge.

As many of you know, this year has been quite full of many different challenges for our family. As I stood on top of the Stone Arch Bridge yesterday morning, hand cupped over my brow, squinting through the bright rays of glorious sunshine beaming all around me, I gazed upon the new I-35 W Bridge for the first time...completed. And, in that moment, all the anger and frustration of this past year didn't seem to matter so much anymore. Ben and Allie continued running ahead along the stone footpath over the river as Zach and I sat for a moment more peering out at The Bridge, knowing that what stood erect before us was a chapter in our lives coming to a close. A chapter that I thought at times would never end and one that I readily admit that I didn't like...at all. But, also a chapter I am confident God knew was necessary, and best, for the story of Ben, Jennifer, Allie, and Zach.

I am definitely ready for a new chapter and as I slowly turn the page, I do so not forgetting the struggles of this past year, but changed because of them, hopefully transformed more into the woman, wife, mom, daughter, sister, and friend that God desires me to be. As with any great story, there is both anticipation and hesitation at what the next chapter will bring. I know that God is not done with my story. I know there are many, many more bridges in my life that will soon need to fall and be rebuilt. And, although the devastation of the bridge coming down may bring hurt and struggle, the joy of it's completion will be all the greater.

As I stand over the shimmering river near the end of my story, I want to peer out through the distance at the countless number of bridges in my life that God has rebuilt and made new. I am confident in that moment I will at last truly understand the words of Paul from Philippians 3:8-9:

I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Foody Friday - Chicken

Every Friday my friend Jenny over at A-Latte-Talk hosts a sort of online recipe exchange. It's been a while since I've participated, but seeing as we eat chicken at our house almost every other night of the week, I felt compelled to post my newest, most favorite, and definitely easiest chicken recipe. My mom passed this one off to me a few months ago and since then I've shared it with a few other friends who have enjoyed it as well. Here it is:

Sticky Chicken (Basically tastes like a store-bought Rotisserie Chicken)

1 whole chicken
2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp red pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 whole onion, quartered

Mix all spices together and rub onto outside surface of the chicken. Put onion in the cavity. Bake for 4-5 hours at 250 degrees. (Although I haven't tried it yet, I'm sure you could put the whole chicken in your crockpot for the day if you don't want your oven running that long.)

That's it! I love it! Simple, easy, delicious!

I'm not usually a big fan of bone-in chicken, but this is so easy and tasty that I don't even mind the whole deboning process (mostly because the chicken literally falls off of the bone when done). Also, if you're watching your grocery store budget, whole chickens seem to go on sale quite often and for a good price (around $3 for a whole chicken). So, stock up the freezer when they are on sale! You can even put two in the oven, eat one for dinner, and cut up the extra chicken for casseroles, enchiladas, pasta dishes, etc. later on in the week. Or, put the cut-up leftovers in freezer bags for dinners to be made later on in the month. I've also been known to use the leftovers for a quite tasty chicken salad to serve at lunch the following day.

The most awesome thing about this recipe is that the chicken comes out of the oven all golden brown and juicy looking--pretty much perfect--just like one of those Thanksgiving turkeys you always see advertised on TV around the Holidays (except, obviously it is much smaller, because it is a chicken...). Anyway, the very first time I made this recipe, I was so impressed with how gorgeous the chicken looked (think gourmet restaurant) upon taking it out of the oven that I didn't even cut into it until I could proudly show it off to Ben. He was also equally impressed. :)

Last thought - I usually serve the chicken with a steamed veggie, some mashed potatoes, and rolls or biscuits. Just like KFC, except not really, because it isn't fried fast food chicken, but it most definitely is better and cheaper, I promise! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fall Schedule in Full Swing

This has been the first full week of settling into our new Fall schedule. We have been busy, but definitely loving it! I'm a fairly structured person (ok...to be honest, if you know me, you also know that I verge on being overly structured) so knowing exactly where we need to go each day and what we need to accomplish is a very good thing for me. Allie, definitely the more social of my two kids, has also been extremely pleased that there has been a definitive answer to her morning question, "What are we going to do today?". Many times this summer when I would answer her ritualistic morning question with an "I don't know honey," I would get a very disappointed look along with the suggestion that we should go to the zoo. Zach, on the other hand, is pretty much content to have free reign of the house and back yard. Now that he is crawling, there are TONS of things he has yet to explore and get into around here, an infinite number of things to keep him occupied. However, if we do go on an outing, he enjoys himself as long as I stay within his sight at all times. He's definitely turning into a momma's boy!

Although it has been fun for me to step out of my comfort zone and do things "on a whim" throughout the summer (impromptu and unplanned visits to the zoo, children's museum, swimming, the park, grandma's, etc.), I find myself a bit relieved to know that I am again back in my element of having a definitive schedule. Wow-that sounds pretty stodgy! Oh well. That's just me. But, in all actuality, I do think that having kids has helped me to become a little more flexible, especially when things don't go as planned (and all of us moms know that pretty much NOTHING goes as planned when you have little kids running around). I know I still have a long way to go on the flexibility spectrum, but I'm thankful that I'm learning to "roll with the punches" more and more with each passing day. I guess getting peed on while riding a department store escalator will do that to any person.

Anyway, I thought I would give you a little taste as to what we've been up to this week and what we'll be involved in this Fall. And, yes, it will be in list form. :)

  • ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education). We took our first ECFE class this summer and I was very impressed. Both Allie and Zach enjoy all the prepared activities and new toys to play with. Plus, it is fun for me to meet some other moms that live in our area. Another big plus: the location is less than 5 minutes away from our house! I can even walk with the kids on a nice day. My only regret is that I didn't sign the kids up sooner! After ECFE this week, I had time to run some errands before I took the kids out to McDonald's for lunch (which was a special treat...err...well, more like a fulfillment of a bribe because both Allie and Zach sat peacefully in the stroller at Kinkos while I made copies of some music for my flute students). And, the breaking news of the week is that we saw the REAL Ronald McDonald at McDonald's: red hair, red nose, white makeup, yellow jumpsuit, huge red shoes-definitely the REAL DEAL. Allie and Zach remained speechless throughout their encounter with the burger clown.
  • I teach flute lessons at Northwestern on Monday evenings while Ben stays with the kids. I don't have a very full studio and am looking for more students to fill some of my open time slots. However, I really haven't done too much in the area of recruitment. I enjoy teaching and love my students, but at heart I'm definitely a performer. If I get to my room a little early or a student cancels, I always relish the time I have to actually play my flute...which is something I don't do nearly enough of anymore. Needless to say, I do miss the hours upon hours in the practice room (ha! never ever thought I would EVER say that!) and the nervous thrill of performing solo or with the orchestra. However, I do believe that God has given me this gift and talent for a purpose, and although I'm in the mother-of-young-kids-most-likely-wearing-some-form-of-puke-or-food-residue-on-me-at-all-times season of my life right now, I'm confident that He will continue to provide opportunities for me to nurture this passion and use it to His glory and for the encouragement of others.


  • Mostly a free day. This week we went to visit my very good friend (and also college roommate for 4 years!) and her two kids that are around the same age as Allie and Zach. I always look forward to these times together and am so thankful that despite our busy schedules and families that we continue to find the time to get together. We have known each other for 9 years now and I always feel like I can be completely myself around her.
  • Every other week, I teach lessons to two older women out of my home. These ladies are completely awesome! One is in her 50's and the other one is in her 60's and both have just begun to learn to play the flute within the last 2-3 years. They are diligent with their practice and are so eager to learn. They are also both active in their communities, in their gardens, and one is even going to complete her college degree this year! I hope that, like these two women, I never lose my desire to learn and am always eager to try my hand at new things, no matter what my age.


  • Totally free. This week we ran errands and did a little cleaning. Allie also had her first dentist appointment at a local Pediatric Dentist. She did great! Even the hygenist was impressed at how well she listened to instructions. She opened her mouth wide and wasn't even afraid of the little scraper thing. She was soooo excited to have sparkly teeth! She also got a fluoride treatment and picked two special prizes. She is already excited to go back in 6 months! On a funny note, when the hygenist asked her if she had any brothers or sisters Allie replied, "Well, I just have a Zach."


  • I signed up to participate in a Bible Study of 1 John through our church. It is a precept study with daily homework, which I'm actually looking forward to as I know that it will keep me diligent and accountable to being in the Bible on a more regular basis. I take the kids along with me as there is childcare provided. Allie couldn't wait to get into the class this morning and Zach was teary-eyed before we even got to the room. There are 10 of us in the study, so I'm also looking forward to getting to know some new women over the course of the next few months.


  • Musikgarten classes for Allie. Zach is still in childcare during the class, but hopefully I'll be able to do a class along with him beginning in January. Allie has been in Musikgarten since she was about 9 months old and has always loved the singing, instruments, and structured musical activities. However, I am quite sure that now her favorite part is snack time, which occurs after class. All the kids basically run around and eat their snack while the moms get to chat. Hmm...come to think of it, snack time might also be my favorite time too!

Well, there you have it-a week in review! If you managed to make it this far, good for you! That was a very long post!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Friday Date Night

This past Friday evening we went out on a date, Allie-style. According to our darling daughter, a "date" is any time our whole entire family goes out of the house for some food and fun. The concept of Ben and I going out together, alone, without her or Zach, is not something she can even fathom as being remotely enjoyable.

So, for our family date night this past week, we all piled into the mini van and ended up at Applebee's for dinner. After much good food, fun, and conversation had by all at Applebee's, we walked over to Northtown Mall to check out the new Herberger's store. After taking in the breathtaking ambiance of the newest department store in Blaine, which by the way did not look much better nor different than any other big department store I've been to in the past, we walked down the mall to 4 Paws and a Tail where the kids oogled over all the baby puppies and Allie asked about a billion times if she could have one for her birthday (in case you're wondering, the answer was no). The date was going remarkably well, so after waving good-bye to all the puppies, we made our way into Burlington Coat Factory to see if we could find some good deals on kids' winter coats. Both kids have grown out of their coats from last year and seeing as we're already experiencing Fall in full swing here in Minnesota, I have a strange feeling that we'll be needing to bundle up in our winter wear before we know it.

Anyway, I'm still not sure what was in the air at Burlington Coat Factory, but it became quickly apparent that Zach was NOT happy as he began screaming, crying, and arching his back in the stroller, literally the moment we crossed the threshold of our newest department store destination. It was blatantly obvious that he was not going to stop his hysterics until one of us took him out of the stroller. So, Ben manned the empty stroller with Zach securely in his arms while I attempted to keep track of Allie and look for the right sizes amongst a whole heaping pile of bargain coats that were in complete disarray.

Allie continued to run up and down the aisles, hiding in the racks of winter coats, while I continued to pile up potential parka bargains for the kids in the now empty stroller. Allie asked me if I thought the store had a bathroom, to which I quickly replied "no" so that I could get back to my search. When I finally glanced up from the never-ending racks, I saw a very upset Zach and a rather in shock Ben totally covered in what appeared to be puke. Ben began desperately searching for a kleenex or baby wipe to clean up a now totally distraught Zach who had indeed puked everywhere, but mostly all over Ben. I quickly grabbed Zach from Ben's arms to try and calm him down and therefore ended up with puke on me as well. Needless to say, we made our way quickly out of Burlington Coat Factory.

To get to our mini van, we had to make our way back through the Mall and so again we headed into the new Herberger's store. Allie was completely mesmerized by the escalators and wanted to go on one last ride. So I told Ben to head to the van with Zach while I stayed with Allie to ride the escalators. Allie and I stepped carefully onto the escalator and made our way up. At the top of the escalator, we made a quick U-turn and then we went right back down. Up. Down. Up. Down. On about our 4th way up the lady behind me commented, "I really don't like little kids at all, but she is extremely cute" (even as I recount this compliment, I'm not quite sure what to make of it!). I lost count of how many times we went up and down after about the 6th or 7th trip up. Thankfully, the escalators were located directly in front of the outside entry doors so I was able to keep watch out for Ben and Zach who would be arriving any minute in our mini van to pick us up.

Our very last trip down the escalator for the evening started like every other. Allie joyfully made the U-turn at the top part of the escalator and pranced onto the first step of the down side in anticipation of the ride to come. However, about 3/4 of the way down, Allie started screaming in a very panicked and terrified tone. My first thought was that her shoe was caught and I was mortified at the thought of her being stuck in the gears of the escalator (I'm not sure if this is possible, but I have heard horror stories of this happening...again, I'm not sure if this is just an urban legend or what, but I'm definitely terrified of the possibility). After the split second it took for me to run through these morbid thoughts in my head, I looked down to see Allie standing in a puddle, with still more tinkle trickling down her leg. It did not take me long to realize that after the Zach puke incident I had completely forgotten to further inquire about why Allie had needed to know if there was a bathroom in Burlington Coat Factory. I could tell she was extremely embarrassed (and I felt like a complete moron mom), so I quickly picked her up in my best attempt to hide the fact that there was pee everywhere. She was screaming. The WHOLE store was looking at me (so much for hiding anything). And yes, her bladder was completely full, so she was still peeing and the whole front of me was now urine soaked.

I pretty much ran from the bottom of the escalator straight through the front doors, where lo and behold, Ben was just pulling up to the curb (is that good timing or what?!). Allie was still panicked because she was terribly concerned about who was going to clean up the puddle on the escalator. Trying to calm her down and reassure her that the puddle will be cleaned up by someone, I loaded her into the van where I also stripped her of all dripping wet clothes (even her socks were soaked, um...yuck). Thankfully, I had an extra pair of dry underwear in the diaper bag for her to put on (no clothes, though). So, we strapped her in the car seat, in just her Hello Kitty underwear, and headed home.

As we pulled into the driveway, I don't ever remember being more thankful to be home. The 10 minute drive from the mall to our house seemed like an eternity as all I could smell was pee...oh yea, and puke too. I raced inside and took a shower, with lots of soap. And after my shower, the kids had a nice long bath, also with lots of soap. And then after that, Ben took a shower...with...need I repeat?...lots of soap.

And still, after all that, Allie has been persistently asking when our next date night is going to be. Oh yes, and let me not forget to mention that she also promised she wouldn't pee on the escalator again.

Some Very Good News

Ok, so who am I kidding?! This isn't just good news, this is about the best news I have had the privilege of receiving in an extremely long time.

Ben just called and was almost giddy with excitement as he told me that Flat Iron is limiting his company's personnel at the bridge site. So, long story short, by Friday Ben will be done...that's right, completely DONE...at the bridge! BY FRIDAY: No more weekends, no more 15 + hour days, no more overnights, no more last minute calls for help when he is supposed to have the day off! After 9 months of a chaotic and often very demanding work schedule looming over Ben and severely limiting our time together as a family, there is finally a definite end in sight. And did I mention that end is on FRIDAY?!

Woohooo!!!! This is cause for celebration!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Post Bedtime Conversation

Last night, it became apparent that Allie has begun to understand a little more about the concept of God's forgiveness (thanks in part to nightly bedtime stories from The Jesus Storybook Bible...see previous post). Last night, after I thoroughly explained to Allie (as is done every single night by either Ben or me) that it is naughty to get up out of bed after being tucked in, she not surprisingly got up out of bed (unfortunately, this has become a nightly battle of the wills!). After a spanking (which was also thoroughly explained as the consequence for getting up out of bed for no reason other than wanting to delay bedtime), the following conversation between the two of us occurred:

Allie: (crying loudly) "But I don't need a spanking!"
Me: "You got out of bed, Allie, and I told you that getting up out of bed is naughty and that you will get a spanking."
Allie: "NO! NO! NO, Mommy!"
Me: "Allie, you chose to get out of bed. That is naughty and that is why you got a spanking."
Allie: (Now passionately adamant) "No Mommy, you don't understand. God will take all my naughty things away! GOD WILL! He will take all the naughty things away!"

I responded with something to the effect of how she was indeed correct that God will take the naughty things away because he knows that we all do naughty things sometimes. But, God also wants us to live a life that is more like Jesus and Jesus never did anything naughty. In addition, if we do choose to do naughty things, there will be consequences for those choices (like for instance tonight: you chose to get out of bed, therefore you got a spanking).

After she calmed down, I tucked her back into bed and thankfully she was fast asleep within a few minutes.

Friday, September 12, 2008

This Morning. . .

This morning I was wrestling with Zach on the changing table trying to change his diaper and get him dressed for the day. Allie walked into the room and it was everything I could do to keep Zach from rolling off the side of the changing table to get to her. The following conversation between Allie and I ensued:

Allie: "What's he doing mom?"
Me: "He almost fell off the changing table, so I rescued him."
Allie: "No, Mom. Actually, God is the one that rescues us."

I guess our nightly stories from the Jesus Storybook Bible are actually sinking in. This is actually a bit of a shock to me because quite a few evenings Allie is so hyper during story time, wiggling and jumping all over the bed, that I'm always curious as to how much she's retaining. And, then there are the nights that she is calm, sitting quietly listening to the story, but afterwards she doesn't seem to be all that inquisitive or willing to talk about what we just read.

Anyway, in my opinion, this is one of the best children's storybook Bibles I've come across. I love how each Biblical account is written with the focus completely on Christ. As I'm reading, I often find myself challenged to think about these familiar stories in a different light. Definitely check it out, you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Under Construction

I'm attempting to create a new look for my blog! So, bear with me over the next few days. And, if anyone has any tips, websites, etc... for blogger backgrounds, creating custom headers (especially ones with photos), how to change fonts, how to change background colors, or any basic general info. on how to customize anything on your blog-definitely leave me a comment! Thanks!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tag--I'm it!

My friend Mandy over at J Mom tagged me to participate in a get to know you meme. Since I haven't posted since Friday, I thought this would be a quick and easy post (so that it doesn't look like I've abandoned blogging). I seriously have several things I'd like to write about, but as Fall activities are in full swing around here, I haven't had much of a chance to write.

Anyway, here are the rules for this meme:

1. Link to the person who tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. List 6 random facts about yourself
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post
5. Let each person know they've been tagged by commenting on their blog
6. Let the tagger know the entry is posted on your blog

I thought I would let you know 6 random facts about my childhood:
  1. When I was in preschool, I won a bunny hopping contest. This was a HUGE deal (especially since I wasn't known then, or now, for my athletic endurance) and I even got awarded a gold bunny trophy and appeared on the local news. I had taken pledges (per hop) for some non-profit organization (I don't remember which one) and since most of my pledgers thought I wouldn't make it past, oh, about 15 hops, they ended up forking over quite a chunk of cash.

  2. I used to make my lunch in grade school. One morning, while trying to retrieve items from the refrigerator, I knocked over a huge casserole dish full of leftovers. The whole dish spilled out onto the rug in front of the fridge. So, instead of cleaning it up, or even going to inform my mom what I had done, I turned the rug over and put the dish back in the fridge. Needless to say, my mom was not happy when she stepped on the squishy rug.

  3. I thought it would be interesting to see how hot fire is. So, I put the end of a glass mercury thermometer into a candle flame. It exploded. And there was mercury and glass everywhere. I'm not going to tell you how old I was...that would be embarrassing. Unfortunately, after all that, I didn't even get a temperature reading.

  4. I've always hated math, mostly because it didn't make sense to me. In first or second grade, a teacher yelled at me for counting with my fingers. She yelled at me, in front of the whole class, singling me out and informing me that only the dumb kids count with their fingers. I sat on my hands right then and there. Fortunately I am allowed to use a calculator now. Otherwise, I'd still be one of those dumb kids.

  5. In 5th grade I held a tarantula. Not a live one. A dead one. It was all wet from the preservative it was soaking in. But, my teacher convinced me to take it out, carry it down the hallway, and place it on another teacher's desk. I wasn't allowed to drop it, though, as it was apparently very fragile and might have lost a leg. That was really disgusting. I don't even really know why I did that. I hate spiders.

  6. The first PG-13 movie I saw was Jurassic Park. I had just turned 13 and my dad took me to the movie theater when it first came out. I was soooo excited and I was basically terrified. The part where the T-Rex eats the guy sitting on the toilet still freaks me out. I think I had nightmares about killer dinosaurs for months.

I hope you enjoyed these random occurrences from my childhood. You don't have to write about your childhood, I just thought that would be fun.

I tag: Amy from We Owe How Much?!, Sarah from Everyday Gluten Free, Jen from May the Words, Jenny from A Latte Talk, and Jen from The Mulvihills.

Friday, September 5, 2008

At Least She's Honest

I was making dinner in the kitchen this afternoon while both kids were playing happily together with their musical instruments in the living room. Or so I thought. I'm beginning to think "playing happily together" is a fairy tale that all parents of multiple siblings long for, but never quite fully achieve for more than about five minutes at a time (if even that). All of a sudden, piercing through the symphony of tapping sticks, shimmering tambourines, and chiming handbells (and by the way, my children do not yet understand that handbell dissonance is ok for a few seconds...on the other hand, five to ten minutes of the C bell and D bell ringing simultaneously results in me wanting to rip my hair out), I hear screaming and wailing at what I'm sure still remains an uncharted decibel. Since it is often difficult to tell which child such screams and wails emit from, I make my way quickly into the living room to take a peak.

There on the living room floor I locate Allie, sticks in hand, staring blankly at a teary-eyed, still visibly and audibly distraught Zach. I calmly ask Allie what happened, not wanting to assume the worst just yet. After all, it isn't uncommon, now that Zach is crawling, for him to frequently get into precarious situations that almost always result in bodily harm. Like for instance, last Thursday, the first day he learned to crawl, he knocked the playroom torch lamp down and it fell on top of him. Or the other week, in the bathtub, as Zach was enthusiastically splashing his big sister over and over again, he toppled over face first into the water. Or yesterday, while in his bedroom, he crawled over to his chest of drawers and was gleefully opening and closing (more like slamming) the drawers until one of his tiny fingers got stuck in the drawer, immediately transforming laughter into those all too familiar high decibel screams and a flood of tears. So, as you can see, a little assessment of the situation at hand was necessary before moving forward.

After asking Allie again why Zach was crying, she replies, "I think he had a little accident."
"Oh, he did?" I continue to inquire, "What happened? What kind of accident? Did he fall?"
"Well, no," There is a slight pause before she continues, "I think I was just drumming my sticks on his head and then he started to cry."

After a very poor attempt to hide my own laughter, I scoop up a distraught little (ok, who am I fooling? A 24 pound 11 month old is sooo not little!) Zach and send Allie into her room. A few moments later, Allie and I had a nice chat about the definition of the word accident and how it isn't nice to drum on other people's heads. It actually hurts and makes people cry. She reluctantly apologized to a now happy and fully recovered Zach.

Although the rest of the day was head-drumming free, prior to bathtime there was a rather unfortunate incident of Allie slamming the bathroom door on Zach's fingers. She was actually very sorry this time and apologized to Zach rather quickly. Fortunately, we had a chance to talk about this most recent occurence during our prayer before bed tonight.

We were reading about John the Baptist and how he was baptizing those who repented of their sins and trusted in God. So, I thought for tonight we would shift our focus to the whole sin and forgiveness aspect of the story.

I explained to Allie that sin is when we do naughty things. I asked if she had ever done naughty things to which she replied mournfully, "Yep, like when I slammed Zach's fingers in the door."
I went on to explain to her that we all do naughty things, even Mommy (at first she did not believe me when I told her I did naughty things-ha! I only wish!) And not only is it good to apologize to the person you have wronged, but it is also good to tell God that you are sorry too and He will forgive you.

I asked her if she would like to talk with God and tell Him that she was sorry. She was enthusiastically for this idea! She jumped up and shouted, "Let's go get the phone and call Him up!" As I was trying to hide my grin, I attempted to explain to her that God hears us everywhere and we don't even need the phone to talk to him. However, she insisted that God would in all actuality hear her better if she held up her hand cupped to her ear and pretended it was a phone. So, with her hand held up to her ear, she prayed, "I'm sorry God for slamming the door on Zach. And thank you for today and for music class. Amen."

With a rousing chorus of Jesus Loves Me, followed by our own "I love yous," and concluded by a never ending ovation of hugs and kisses, I turned off the light and quietly closed the bedroom door, realizing that although my kids aren't perfect and never will be, I feel so incredibly lucky and thankful to be Allie and Zach's mom.

Frugal Friday Find

Let me preface this post by first saying that I truly wish I was better at bargain/thrift shopping. I hear a lot of moms talking ecstatically about the great deals they have gotten on kids' clothes, toys, baby gear, furniture, home decor, etc. at rummage sales, Goodwill, Once Upon a Child, and countless other resale and thrift stores. All I have in my arsenal that is actually worthy of boasting about is the 10 hardcover books I purchased for $1 at a rummage sale down the street 2 summer's ago, the 3 wooden puzzles I also picked up for another buck at that same rummage sale, and the chest/bookshelf that I got at yet another rummage sale in WI for $20 that Ben and I spent an entire summer refinishing and now proudly stands in our living room. Anyway, I try to do my best, I really do. But honestly, whenever I decide to go out rummaging or thrift shopping, I find absolutely nothing that I've set out to look for or need. I usually get weary of sorting through the countless racks, peering through tons of shelves, and probably give up way too soon. Plus, all day rummaging excursions aren't nearly as fun when you have to take 2 kids in and out of the mini van over and over and over again.

What I have noticed is that I seem to find the best rummage sales and deals when I'm not looking for them. It is probably mostly due to the fact that when stopping at these particular rummage sales on a whim, I don't have the time to set expectations for what I want to find and how soon I want to find it. All three purchases above were made after stopping at rummage sales on a whim and today's purchase was pretty much the same.

On our way home from Musikgarten class this morning I had to make a stop by the library to return our books that were due today. About a block from the library, I saw a sign for a multi-family rummage sale. Since we had some time to kill before lunch, I followed the signs to find two houses down the street with a ton of kids' stuff for sale. And, I found this for ten bucks:I looked it up on littletikes.com and it retails for $50. The one I have in the back of the mini van looks as if it has rarely been used. Some of the tools are missing, but we can always get additional tools. We had been talking about purchasing a workbench of some sort for Zach at some point in time (and debating whether or not it would be a good birthday or Christmas present) and although he is obviously too little for it right now, I'm sure he'll grow into it soon. He already enjoys pulling up to and opening and closing all the doors to Allie's play kitchen anyway. Allie is also excited about the find. She informed me after the purchase was made that she can definitely show Zach how best to use his work bench. Zach, on the other hand, is beginning to hold his own. So, we'll see who shows who how to use it. :)

Here's to a fun frugal find this Friday!

My New Cell Phone

Yup...here it is.
This is what Ben brought back yesterday afternoon.
Not nearly as pink as my old razor (it's actually blue), but it did indeed meet all of my specifications:
  1. Free: okay, so it wasn't free, but it was the absolute cheapest option available with a plan renewal.
  2. Easy to Use: I have everything set up with the exception of the voicemail and have already made one successful phone call.
Kudos to Ben! He resisted the urge to purchase a "cool" phone that would have most definitely surpassed my technical expertise (or lack thereof).
**Wow, I can't believe I just wrote two posts about my cell phone. However, I'm sure you were all just dying to know about this aspect of my life and waiting on pins and needles to see what I would end up with.**

Thursday, September 4, 2008

In Anticipation of Fall

I didn't think that I was truly ready for summer to be over yet, but the cooler air we've been experiencing here in MN over the past few days has me eagerly anticipating the Fall season (notice I said, Fall. This should definitely NOT be confused with Winter. I am not anticipating Winter. Not yet. And most likely, probably not ever. With the exception of Christmas. I do like Christmas. And snow at Christmastime is eagerly anticipated. Just not snow in February...or March...or April...And now, I've digressed.).

Why Fall, you may ask? Well, here are a few reasons on my mind. And yes, you get another list! Yippee for lists!

  1. No more watering plants and flowers!!! We've kept 'em alive all summer, now it's up to mother nature.
  2. We can open the windows. I know many people barely use their AC over the summer months (or, *gasp*, don't even have AC), but I'm addicted. If it's remotely close to 80 degrees outside and there's even the slightest twinge of moisture in the air, our AC is on. I happily welcome comfortable AC-free/furnace-free days.
  3. No more sunscreen! No more possibility of sunburn! Ok, I know there is still the chance of sunburn, but it becomes rather difficult when you are wearing pants and a sweatshirt.
  4. Musikgarten starts up again. Allie LOVES music class and so do I! Unfortunately, the timing didn't work out for Zach to be enrolled this semester, so I'm hoping he'll be able to participate in January.
  5. Playing in piles of leaves. I know we still have a while before the leaves fall, but I can't wait. Last Fall, Ben and Allie jumped in a HUGE pile of leaves in our backyard. It was October 4. The day before I delivered Zach. Needless to say, I did not jump in the leaves.
  6. Fall food: apples (particularly in things like pies), pumpkins (also in things like, um, pie), hot drinks (white hot chocolate here I come!), soups and stews (bring out the crockpot!).
  7. Flute lessons start up again and my students always seem more eager to learn and work hard at the beginning of the school year. Plus, there are always a ton fewer cancellations during the Fall semester than during the Spring semester.
  8. Birthday bashes for Zach (1 year old on Oct. 5) and Allie (3 years old on Nov. 24)!
  9. The I-35W Bridge will be completed! Hooray!
  10. I signed up to attend a women's Bible study that begins next week.
  11. We also enrolled for the Fall semester of ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education). I'm excited to meet some new moms and kids that live in our neighborhood.
  12. It gets cold at night...bring out the cozy flannel pjs! Ben really loves my flannel pj's! (I'm sure he's rolling his eyes as he reads this...haha!)
  13. The kids go to bed a lot easier at 8:00 p.m. when it is actually dark outside. And, they don't wake up at 5:00 a.m. because it is still dark outside.
  14. All the big kids go back to school, so places like the zoo, library, museums, indoor playlands, and outside parks are a lot less busy during the day.
  15. It's a little nippy outside (notice I said nippy, not snot-freeze-stinkin' cold). Bring out the jeans, sweaters, and hoodies!

Happy Fall to everyone!

(If you haven't noticed, I'm still working unsuccessfully on trying to forget the fact that Winter inevitably follows Fall...every...single...year.)

My Cell Phone


Normally, this would be cause for celebration because we are now free to purchase a new phone. But, in all actuality, I'm really bummed because I liked my pink razor phone:

I like pink. I like phones.

This was a perfect fit.

Ben happily volunteered to go and get me a new phone during the kids' nap time today. (He had a dentist appointment this morning and decided to take the rest of the day off work because he has been working so many hours lately.) He left about a half hour ago and I have not heard from him. I told him I just wanted a simple and cheap (preferably free) phone with the renewal of our cell phone contract.

But, my Ben loves, LOVES gadgets....

Knowing this about my hubby, I'm sure my new phone will be able to do innumerably more than I could ever ask or imagine.

So, it should be interesting to see what I end up with.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It's Been a Week...

It's been a week since my last post, I know. And, I also know I promised State Fair pics...but the pics are still on my camera and have not yet been downloaded to my computer. So, no pics today.

Instead, my lucky readers, you get a week in review at the Dzioba household. And, yes, it will be in the form of a list, because as we all know, I LOVE lists! Here's some of what we've been up to this past week:

  1. Ben worked. Worked some more. And then worked again. We literally can't wait for the bridge to be done and for normal work hours to return.
  2. I reorganized the kitchen. To most normal people this sounds like a chore, but I was literally giddy with excitement at the prospect of additional free counter space and cupboard room.
  3. I put all of Zach's bottles away in storage. No more bottles for Zach!
  4. Speaking of Zach, he started crawling, finally! He just woke up last Thursday morning and began crawling. And, there is no stopping him. He is everywhere and into everything. Allie is not so excited about this new developmental phase as he pretty much follows her around the entire house.
  5. We cleaned out and organized the garage--Ben actually did most of this himself. Now, we can actually park both cars inside!
  6. We all watched the Veggie Tales "Lord of the Beans" movie which in turn inspired Ben and I to begin rewatching all of the Lord of the Rings movies at night after the kids go to bed. We have watched all of the Fellowship and are on to the Two Towers for tonight.
  7. I am abandoning all use of paper calendars and lists in an attempt to keep everything on the computer via Microsoft Outlook. So far, so good. I have my entire fall schedule mapped out, entered into the computer, and synched up with my Palm.
  8. Allie and I dusted the entire house. Although I don't mind cleaning, I'm really not a fan of dusting. So, this was quite an accomplishment. Allie is pretty efficient at dusting with the swiffer.
  9. We got a whirly-pop a few weeks ago from my mom and we have been using it almost every other night. It truly makes the best popcorn--yum!