Friday, October 31, 2008

Make Sure to Check that Candy!

As all good parents know, you can't just allow your kid to eat possibly tainted candy received on Halloween. It must all be checked out, examined, and pre-tasted thoroughly prior to kid-consumption. So...now that my kids are down for their naps, like the good parent that I am, I alone have taken on the highly sensitive task of sifting through the pile of Halloween candy they received this morning at trick-or-treat and am now in the process of closely checking it for any and all defects.
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It just so happens there are quite a few Baby Ruth bars that look a bit suspicious:



Hmm...like for example, this one:


Oops...I'm pretty sure that is a rip in the wrapper.
Oh and look now...now it is totally and completely ripped open!
Not sure how that happened?!
I definitely can't risk this piece of potential poison going into the mouths of my children.
I must never take my responsibility that lightly.
This one's for you kids!!!
Here it goes...down the hatch!




Thankfully I'm still alive after that one...it was close, though...




And...what's this?!


It looks like yet another Baby Ruth bar...


This one seems to be a little bit smooshed...
No, wait...it is totally and completely smashed!
What?! I can't have my kids eating smashed candy!
Only the best for the children...
And so here I am...making yet another sacrifice for the sake of my children!

Hopefully, I will live to tell the tale of how I risked my life one sunny 2008 Halloween afternoon in order to save my poor, helpless children from the ooey-gooey-choclately-carmel-peanutty-nugettey-goodness of the evil Baby Ruth!



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So...what candy have you saved your children from lately?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Today...

It is a gorgeous Fall day outside, the kids are down for naps, and I thought that I would use this time of peace and quiet to catch up on some blogging...except, I really can't think of anything to write about! We've had a very busy week complete with our normal activities of ECFE classes and Bible Study, in addition to a visit to a friend's home to play and have lunch, multiple trips to the grocery store because I haven't been as diligent in meal planning the past few weeks (meaning that I usually forget something I need for a specific recipe), a day trip to the Children's Museum in St. Paul, and a visit to Grandma's. Although I'm completely exhausted, I can't deny the fact that the week has whizzed by!

We are also experiencing a sort of Indian Summer (almost 70 degrees today-yay!) and so we're definitely heading outside after the kids wake up from their naps. A brand new park is being built about a block down the street and so I thought we would take a walk and see if the new play toys are completed or not. If not, the newly paved trail will be a great way to let off some pent up energy.

And because I'm too tired to think of anything else to write, I think I may catch a little nap myself. But, first, tomorrow is indeed Halloween and Allie has been soooo excited about her costume. She can't wait to wear it. Actually, she has been pretty much asking to wear it daily since we got it. Zach will be dressing up too; however I'm not sure he's as thrilled about his get-up as Allie. Both kids' costumes coordinate together, but were definitely more influenced by Allie's current interests than Zach's. Any guesses as to what the kids are going to be?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Daily Dose of Allie-isms

**update: the following 2 conversations happened within the past hour and I thought that they were too funny not to add. Enjoy!**
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"Mommy...does it smell in here? I think it smells in here"
"No, Allie, I don't think it smells? Why do you think it smells?"
"Well, I was just tootin' and tootin' and now it is just really smelly!"
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Me, commenting on Allie's bubble bath: "Wow, Allie, you look like a bathing beauty!"
Allie: "No, I'm not a bathing beauty. I am Sleeping Beauty!"
Me: "Oh you are, but you aren't sleeping." (I proceed to close my eyes and make old man snoring sounds).
Allie, with a very serious look on her face: "No, mommy...princesses DO NOT snort. I don't snort and I'm a princess. And, Sleeping Beauty doesn't snort. No snorting, Mom. You just close your eyes and are quiet...no snorting."
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Hmm...so apparently it is a-ok for princessess to toot, but snoring is forbidden. I guess I need to brush up on my princess lessons!
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Original Post Below:

It's been a while since I have posted some Allie-isms. So...here are some memorable ones that have occurred recently:

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While driving home from a friend's house Allie asked me what we were all going to do when we got home.
"It's nap time, honey," I replied, "and I think mommy might take a nap today too. I'm sleepy."
"No, but you can't!" Allie interjected, "You have to type on the computer or do your Bible study. Or maybe you can talk on your phone calls."
"Or maybe I could take a nap?" I questioned.
"No, mommy. You don't have time."


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Look! It's a "waterfall tree!"
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And here we have a picture of a "rainbow cloud."

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Me: "Allie, just please come over here and zip your lip."

Allie: "But, but, I can't. I don't know where the zipper is!"

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My friend asked Allie what her daddy's name is to which Allie replied, "It's just Daddy or Dad. Yep, that is just his name."

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We were at Target waiting in the checkout line and of course by this point both Allie and Zach were whining and whining and whining.... Allie gives Zach "the look" (you know...that look your mom always gave you as a terrifying warning before you were about to do something you knew you shouldn't) and in the whiniest of whiny voices the following spews forth from her mouth: "Zach, you have to stop whining now because it is very annoying."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Photos

Once again, my friend Angie has taken some great pictures of the kids! We headed to her home photography studio a week and a half ago, with every hair in place and every article of clothing impeccably pressed and clean (notice...I did not say we actually made it to her house looking this way). We did have to make a stop at Target along the way to purchase a new hot pink headband for Allie because unbeknownst to the humans residing in our home, the original hot pink headband had apparently gotten up from its hook in Allie's bedroom, walked all the way down the stairs to the playroom, and had hidden itself inside the pink Disney princess tent amongst several baby dolls, blankets, and a few books. Irritatingly enough, hot pink headband did not stand up to declare itself as we were ripping up the entire house trying to find it 5 minutes before we had to leave. Original hot pink headband did however make itself known the afternoon we returned...interesting how that works, huh?

Anyway, at Target we also picked up some yummy Archer Farms monster cookies for bribery. When going to take pictures, I have found that it has always been worth my while to have some sort of mouthwatering, admirable booty to coax jittery children to sit still and smile. And, what could be better than a ginormous cookie packed full of every sugary sweet thing known to man? Nothing, I say, nothing. Well, nothing except for the caffeinated Diet Dr. Pepper I also picked up for myself to ward off the already forming headache in my already about to explode head.

We did make it to Angie's on time and all in one piece. After adequately petting and admiring Moose (their gigantic dog...which for Allie is the absolute highlight of taking pictures...and we could never go anywhere else to get pictures taken because Allie fully expects a huge dog to greet her upon arrival for every picture taking session) we headed to her basement studio to begin the session.

Upon looking at the proofs, it is quite obvious who the genuine ham of the family is. I will let you judge for yourself: click here to go to Angie's site, select the gallery for Allie and Zach, and enter the password "Dzioba."

Welcome back...there really is no question who was hammin' up to the camera, huh? That's Allie for you. What was most ironic, well...errr...more like...most irritating, to me is that Allie refused to smile, sit still, or even remotely listen to Angie if I was paying any attention to her or looking in her general direction. However, as soon as I would turn my back and stop so desperately trying to get her to smile, I would hear a little girl giggle explosion followed by Angie's "Great job, Allie! Now, can you sit like this? Good! Wonderful smile!"

We had a little more difficulty with Zach because he just really wasn't in the mood to get his picture taken. He definitely did not want to sit still and was much more interested in crawling all around. Unfortunately, he does not yet understand the whole theory behind "be good and you get a cookie." He did a little better when Allie was with him or when we put him on a prop that he wasn't able to get off of and also after we gave him the little red Hotwheels car that he clutched, white-knuckled, in his left hand for the duration of the session. I'm sure we looked like a complete three ring circus trying to get that kid to laugh or just even remotely crack a smile...it was actually quite ridiculously funny.

After about an hour, countless smiles, a few tears, and one outfit change, we pet Moose "goodbye" and piled back into the van where I equally rationed out the monster cookie reward (and by equal I mean that I got 2 cookies and both of the kids split 1). It must have been a tiring morning as Zach was fast asleep by the time we were only about a half a mile down the street. Good thing for him, Allie volunteered to eat the rest of his cookie.

Now the hard part is choosing which pictures to get! Any opinions?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

$2.29

As I was driving by the Holiday station today I glanced up at the sign and instead of cringing in terror at what ghastly amount was being charged for a gallon of gasoline, I sat there in awe, beholding three of the most wonderful numbers I believe I have ever seen:

$2.29
Could this really be true? I had to look again. It was still there, in the most beautiful bold script:

$2.29
Does anyone know the last time gas was this price? It honestly seems like forever.
Maybe I am going to have to make a trip to the gas station to fill up tonight...just to make sure...and to revel in filling up my mini van tank for less than $40.

While the Mom's Away, the Dad & Kids Will. . .

Go to church.

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Eat grilled cheese sandwiches and princess chicken noodle soup for lunch.

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Take empty paint cans left over from our weekend painting extravaganza:


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Put painter's tape on them like this:

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Spray paint them pumpkin orange like this:


(In case you're wondering, this was indeed Ben's idea, of which he is extremely proud of, and he did all the prep work before I left. He actually ran to JoAnn's at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday night to get additional spray paint because he didn't buy enough the first time around. I'm not sure who was more excited about this art project, Ben or the kids!)
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Carefully remove the tape and cover all surfaces:

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Put on smocks and paint away with sponges and glitter paint:


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Voila! Proudly display completed trick-or-treat buckets in all their glittery glory:
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Experience the pleasure of a Vikings' demise followed by enthusiastically cheering the Packers on to victory.
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Talk to mom on the phone and tell her all about the days' adventures.
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Head to ECFE on Monday morning.
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Go to Northtown Mall to see the puppies and enjoy a Tinker-Bell bucket full of mini chocolate chip and M&M cookies.
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Eat lunch at Old McDonald's: Cheeseburger (no onion) Happy Meal with Apple Dippers and milk.
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Make a huge pile of leaves to play and jump in:


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Enjoy Dad's specialty for dinner: Macaroni and Cheese with peas mixed in.
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Eagerly anticipate mom's arrival home.
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So...what did the kids' think of mom being away?
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I think this pretty much says it all:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I'm Baaack!

Ok...so most of you probably didn't even know that I was gone. But, I was...and now I'm back. My mom and I left MN early Sunday morning and headed to Osh Kosh, WI to meet up with my sister to do some wedding planning. We had a fun time shopping, eating, seeing the church, eating some more, touring the reception hall, laughing, watching HG-TV, meeting the in-laws, picking out flowers, going out for coffee...all with NO kids! Yep, that's right! Ben stayed home and played Mr. Mom for two whole days and one whole night while I played hooky for the first time in 3 years (stay tuned for a post about what they were up to in the very near future) and it was a blast!

Anyway, now I'm back...and doing laundry and trying to get caught up on everything around the house. And there is one very important thing on my to-do list for this week that you could help me out with! I'm trying to find a good place to take the kids trick or treating next Friday for Halloween. My kids are definitely at their best in the morning so I was hoping to find a location that we could go to in the morning. I also would like to go somewhere indoors since I'm never quite sure what the weather is going to be like here in the almost frozen tundra of MN and would prefer not to cover up the kids' costumes with their coats, hats, scarfs, and mittens.

So...trick or treating...Oct. 31...in the morning...inside. Any ideas?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fall Fun

Today we spent the entire morning enjoying the Minnesota Fall at Berry Hill Farm in Anoka. Last night as Ben and I were trying to come up with something fun for all of us to do together this weekend we stumbled across this website that lists all the pumpkin patches/corn mazes/hay rides/and more in the state of Minnesota. You can search by location and that is how we came across Berry Hill Farm which is only about 20 minutes away from our house.

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We got to try our hand at driving the farm equipment:


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There were many props set up all around the farm that made for some very cute fall photos. However, from the look of Zach's face in the picture below, I don't think he was enjoying the photo opportunities as much as I was:

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We also got to see and pet goats, chickens, a rooster, piglets, a donkey, a sheep, and bunnies. Note the look of sheer delight on Allie's face as she peered into the little shed and saw a rooster:



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And, of course there were pumpkins! Zach enjoyed crawling around and pulling up to all the big pumpkins. Allie ventured into the patch to pick out her very own pumpkin in addition to picking one for Zach:



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We also went on a tractor ride through the whole farm. We were on the lookout for "friendly trees" and scarecrows along the way:



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The end of the tractor ride brought us to a maze...not quite a corn maze, but basically the same idea. We were supposed to find a golden nugget, a culvert, a wooden wheel, and a steel wheel. We found 2 of the 4 before calling it quits:

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Before leaving, we definitely could not pass up the huge pile of leaves or the caramel apple sundae:



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A fun day was had by all!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More Election Thoughts

I know you are all waiting in eager, breathless anticipation to read my comments regarding last night's final presidential debate.

Well...

I only made it to the part where Obama and McCain started arguing endlessly over their respective campaigns' use of negative advertisements. Increasing levels of personal irritation got the best of me and so instead of enduring the remainder of the debate, I headed into the kitchen for a piece of apple pie. And that, dear friends, is all the commentary I have for you.

Except...oh, yes...I mustn't forget to share Allie's comments...

Apparently our almost-3-year old is becoming increasingly more aware and observant of the fact that God has created everyone unique, especially in regards to skin color. Today, during lunch at Culver's, she pointed to a nice man sitting in the booth behind us and excitedly inquired, for all to hear within a five-mile radius (wait...make that ten-mile radius),

"Does that man have dark skin just like BARACK O-BAMAAA?!"

Yes. Ummm. Sort of. Except, the man was of Asian descent. Needless to say, it was an awkward moment.

And now for more apple pie...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Parenting Milestone Reached

Tonight we have definitely entered into a whole new phase of our parenting adventure....

Allie: "Mom, can I take a bubble bath?"

Me: "I don't know...did you ask Daddy?"

Allie: "He said probably, yep. Probably."

(Ben now enters the room)

Allie: "No, go....Go out Daddy! I am asking Mommy something! Go!" (as she is literally pushing Ben out the door)

Me: (shouting to Ben who is now outside in the hallway) "Ben...did Allie ask you if she could take a bubble bath?"

Ben: "Yep. I said not tonight."

Me: "Allie, what did Daddy tell you about the bubble bath?"

Allie: "But, but...I'm asking you now, Mommy!"

Hmmm....how does an almost three year old figure this stuff out? And, not only does she fib to me about Ben's response, but then tries to literally push him out of the room so that I don't discover the truth?! Crafty little gal, huh?

So, how did we remedy this situation tonight?

Well, both Ben and I were too tired to deal with a full blown tantrum tonight which would have most definitely ensued prior to a bubble-less bath. And, honestly, they are really cool pink Disney princess bubbles complete with pictures of Ariel, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty on the bottle...and she is only not even three...and she didn't even really get a nap today because we spent the afternoon at Mall of America...and I'm sure Zach would also really enjoy taking his very first bubble bath...and this is only the first time she's done anything like this (and we'd be crazy to think this was the last time)...

Ok, ok...I know...I'm justifying.

Allie took a princess bubble bath...with Zach...and she loved every minute of it...as did Zach. There. I said it. We'll just chalk this one up to a lesson in grace. :)

Has anyone else in the parenting world ever simply "given in?" Let me hear your story!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Weekend Project

This past weekend, we packed the kids' bags and sent them over to Grandma and Grandpa's for a couple nights so Ben and I could spend the entire weekend alone...painting! Yep, that's right - I said painting! The inside of our house was in dire need of some color (remember, I'm married to Mr. Anti-Color...ahem...I mean...Mr. Likes White Walls) so we (or maybe 'I' is the more appropriate pronoun here) decided to repaint the kitchen, living room, hall, and our bedroom.

We started our endeavor on Friday night after dinner at Chipotle. We were able to get all the furniture moved and by 11:00 p.m., when we decided to call it quits for the day, we had completed the longest wall of the living room in addition to the entire hallway. We couldn't believe how much we were able to accomplish in just one evening with no kids!

Saturday, we slept in until 8:00 a.m. (which was pure heavenly bliss, might I add) and then tackled the remainder of the job. Ben resumed his position on the ladder for his painting expertise of ceiling trimming while I trimmed all the windows, baseboards, and began rolling. We worked until midnight, but were able to get all the painting done and all the furniture moved back into place.

Sunday was spent hanging pictures and cleaning up the mess that comes along with painting. We completed the job in time for Grandma and Grandpa to bring the kids back to our house in the afternoon. We definitely missed the kiddies, but were thankful for the opportunity to get everything accomplished. Plus, it was fun to listen to some grown-up music, have some grown-up conversation, and at times enjoy the sound of absolute silence (which is usually completely unheard of at our house these days!). I'm also thrilled with how everything turned out--our house feels so much warmer and cozier...just in time for winter!


Here are some pictures of our weekend project:

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Painting the Living Room:

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Our Bedroom

Before:

After:
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The Kitchen

Before:



After:

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The Living Room:

Before:


After:

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The Hallway:


Sorry...no before pics of this one...but here's the after pic: