Monday, March 30, 2009
You would think that after three years of tackling the seasonal clothing switch far too early I would have learned that one nice spring-like week in Minnesota does not necessarily indicate spring is here to stay, and that I should in fact wait to put away the snow boots and mittens until at least the end of April. But, no such luck. Every year my excitement over the advent of spring takes over, my desire for an organizational high kicks in, and I can't help but oogle over the sandals and capris while turning my head in disgust at the over sized down coats and confining fleece hats.
I think my over zealousness for spring's arrival is also a bit confusing to the kids. After the clothing switch, Allie was especially excited by the reappearance of her spring and summer dresses on the lowest bar of her closet, making it easy for her to pick out her own clothes and get herself dressed in the morning. However, the past few mornings we have had quite a few "discussions" over why we can't wear a sleevelss cotton dress with no tights and sandals when it is approximately 32 degrees outside.
"But, Mom, you said it was spring," Allie pleads as I stare blankly in her direction trying to think of a come back to my own words being blatantly used against me at approximately 6:45 in the morning when I'm barely able to keep my eyes open, let alone think coherently. I'm eventually able to coax her into wearing a pair of jeans and a particular oversized purple sweatshirt by convincing her it is actually a winter time purple play dress, just like the little girl has in "Purplicious." I've had no such luck with getting her to wear the cute, brown mid-calf boots, though. She officially refuses to wear those anymore, opting instead for her spring time pink and khaki sparkly Skechers. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.
Anyway, Zackers doesn't seem to be as opinionated in the whole clothing department as Allie. As long as the article of clothing has a truck or some type of vehicle plastered on the front, whether short sleeved or long sleeved, he's happy. And, if we aren't able to locate an adequate vehicle shirt, we can always pacify him by slipping the "Cars" socks on his feet that Daddy found in the dollar bin at Target. Although Zach has never, ever, EVER kept socks on his feet, he absolutely refuses to take these particular socks off. Unfortunately, the dollar bin "Cars" socks were not manufactured with those nifty little grippies on the bottom like the rest of Zach's socks. So, the poor kid continually wipes out flat on his back every time he places even a toe on the kitchen linoleum. We've tried taking the socks off (you know, because as parents we are of course vested in protecting our child from physical harm...even if it is self inflicted by him running around in the kitchen while wearing fashionable, but unpractical footwear) but the crying and tears that result are far worse than those we endure from his unfortunate incidents.
So, tomorrow, while the snow is still fresh on the ground, you will most likely find us inside with the thermostat turned up to 70 degrees. Chillin' in our pink floral sundresses. Slip-sliding around on the kitchen floor in "Cars" socks. All in the name of spring fashion.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
We've read lots and lots and lots of books...over and over and over again:
We've played so many games of Pretty, Pretty Princess that I have lost count of how many. I do know that I have only won twice, though.
We lounge in our crib during nap time and stick our feet through the crib slats instead of actually closing our eyes and falling asleep:
And, the true highlight of our day is when we all gather by the back door window to check and see if the squirrel that has been "sleeping" on the little black box attached to our power lines in the backyard since the beginning of February is still resting peacefully.
There he is, taking an over two-month nap with his eyes wide open while his fluffy tail still whips around in the breeze. Snow, nor rain, nor sleet, nor cold, nor wind, can apparently shake him from his perch. Maybe he's just serving as a powerful visual reminder to the other neighborhood squirrels that it is really not such a good idea to chew on power lines or sit on top of a little black box that has the word "Electric" written on the front of it and is partially open with little wires sticking out. Come to think of it, I really haven't seen many squirrels treading atop the power lines recently...they are kind of sticking to running across the back yard fence instead.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Week 12 (3/18 - 3/24)
So, there you have it...my before and after pics. Whew. That was tough for me. :)
Monday, March 23, 2009
Good thing he's a quick learner:There's just something about the sun that puts a smile on everyone's face!I'm not sure what was going on here...just some sibling bonding, I guess:
Zach is big enough to do the step all by himself now...something he could not do last Fall:
There's nothing better than the wind blowing through your hair as you climb to the top of a swing set:
Besides playing outside, we went on bike rides almost every day. On Saturday we even took the majority of the day to bike along the Mississippi River. We packed a picnic lunch that we enjoyed together after stopping by the playground toys at a nearby park so the kids could run around like little hooligans. Naptime was spent in the bike trailer...not nearly long enough as evidenced by the decline in the kids' behavior by 4:00 p.m., but better some rest than none. Plus, just being outside after all the long, cold, dark, and dreary days of Winter seemed to make all the whining and tantrums well worth it. And, it meant both kids slept doubly as long on Sunday afternoon while Ben and I rested our jello-legs on the couch in the living room!
We're looking forward to many more days like Saturday. I will have to keep reminding myself: Spring is just delayed....
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Although there will always be a special place in our home and hearts for the princesses brought to us courtesy of Disney (in addition to our regular attendance at countless princess tea parties and our faithful viewing of our fair share of princess movies), a new star has recently made his debut at our home.
There's new royalty in town.
That's right. Zach is obsessed with all the cars from Disney's "Cars" movie. Just the mere utterance of Lightening's name causes our little boy to rip off his shirt, throw his hands over his head, and emit squeels and shrieks of excitement:
Back to the topic at hand...Zach's "Cars" Obsession.
Grandma Richardson also found some "Cars" books, a talking Mater, and a talking Lightening that she picked up for Zach. Here Zach is before bathtime playing with Mater:
Zach has these cars in a death grip literally all. day. long. He does not let them out of his hands or sight if he can help it. It takes all the strength and patience I can muster to pry them out of his hands if we have anywhere to go. However, Mater and Lightening have been known to accompany us on several outings: grocery store, Target, bike rides, playing in the backyard...you know, sometimes it is just not worth it to leave the cars behind...preserving the peace and my sanity often takes precedence.
Here's a picture of Zach in his favorite McQueen pajamas...and yes, he is clutching Lightening.
It can be difficult to get him to relinquish the cars before bedtime as well. And if we do in fact coax him to give them up, it is guaranteed he will be standing in his crib the very next morning, pointing over to the cars, saying over and over again in desperation "GUCK! GUCK!" until we place either Lightening or Mater in his hands once again.
However, on the plus side we have noticed Zach's Cars obsession has caused an increase in his spoken vocabulary. One of Zach's favorite quotes from the movie and one that his McQueen car also says is, "Speed. I am speed!" And just how do we know this? Well, it is because Zach's newest and most used word while playing with his cars is: "PEED! PEED! PEED!" I guess we'll have to begin working on that 's' sound...either that or maybe we should start potty training.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Allie, a girl after my own heart. Check out that loaded shopping basket and the sheer look of determination on her face as she eyes up what else she can cram inside.
Apparently Zach is already well versed in the fine art of picking fresh produce.
Watch out streets of St. Paul!
We were on TV! (Zach was mesmerized as he just stood there and stared at the television)(Check out Allie's version of the 'Y' from YMCA)
Here we have some bubble action:
We had a few fancy-dancy trace and wipe flash cards that got us started out, but I found the best thing for her was a plain old piece of notebook paper and marker. I began by writing a single letter at the top of the notebook page as an example. I talked her through how to go about "copying" it and let her loose! She has been practicing diligently now with every opportunity she gets and especially looks forward to any time that she can write her own name on name tags at Musikgarten or art projects at ECFE. Here is a picture of her early efforts:
Not perfect, but still, I'm rather impressed! Way to go Allie! She is so proud of her accomplishment that we still have examples of her name hanging on the fridge. We haven't started working on other letters yet, but I figure that will come in time.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Week 11 (3/11 - 3/17)
Weight Lost This Week: -1.2 pounds
Weight Lost To Date: -22.0 pounds
Monday, March 16, 2009
That picture of our backyard was taken last year on April 1st. So, as evidenced above, a 4-day stretch of true spring weather does not mean we are in the clear yet!
We would have happily biked the day away, but I had already made plans to go shopping with my sister at the outlet mall while Ben watched both kids. (Oh darn. What a bummer. Shopping all afternoon with no kids! In all actuality, I had been excited about this excursion for the entire week!)
We had a great time shopping and in addition to picking out most of the kids' summer wardrobes, I also scored a new spring top, some silver shoes to wear at my sister's wedding, and a cotton sun dress (for only $14.99!) to wear to the rehearsal dinner. Although the crowds were crazy, it was a great day of shopping, just girls and sans kids.
Sunday we decided to load up the bikes and went to Woodbury for lunch with my family and an afternoon bike ride. I never realized how many hills were in my parent's neighborhood until we got on our bikes and began to ride. It was a fun, but tiring ride! Fortunately for me Ben had the trailer hitched to his bike.
But, it looks like tonight I will take my turn with the trailer. Since my flute students cancelled tonight due to their spring breaks, I do believe an after dinner bike ride is definitely in order. I can't wait. Maybe we'll even have an early dinner. The 60-degree weather is definitely calling our names!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
Anyway, I'm just about out of things to keep me busy during nap time...I cleaned up the dishes, picked up toys, put some clean clothes away, tidied up the bathroom, caught up on my e-mails, called Ben, read a bunch of blogs, surfed facebook, did my Pilates, and now I'm blogging at the kitchen table while staring out at the brown grass peering through the massive openings in the quickly disappearing snow while ever so beautifully glistening in the balmy 40-degree sunlight. That's right...I said FORTY. 4. 0. 40.
And there's a brand new park at the end of our street that is just begging for the kids to go and break it in. There's also a mommy that has had a very, VERY long week and is in dire need of some sunshine and fresh air in addition to a very large outdoor plot of land for her kids to run back and forth endlessly, screaming and yelling to their little hearts' desires...or until their legs and lungs give out...whichever comes first.
I guess I didn't realize I had spring fever. I thought I was a true, tough Minnesotan resolved to the dismal fact that winter inevitably takes up at least six months out of our year. I wasn't really planning on tasting spring this early. And, now that I have.....
Anyway, they're still not up, so I guess that means you're stuck with me a little longer. Let's see. What to write about...hmm...
Did you know that attending Musikgarten classes with a 17-month old little boy is like an all-star wrestling match? Seriously. Believe me, it is. Whereas all the little girls sit peacefully and attentively in their mommy's laps, listening ever so patiently to the teacher, following her instructions word for word (I know about these little girls first hand because Allie used to be one of them), Zach's only concern is finding a way to wriggle free from my choke hold on him so that he can run as fast as he can throughout the room, while screaming as loud as possible, only occasionally pausing to point out the window at the pick-up trucks in the church parking lot. Oh, and he also likes the rhythm sticks because of my reaction when he bangs them as hard as he can against my head.
I used to get a little irritated at how disruptive some of the little boys were in Allie's music classes. Of course I never said anything, it was just one of those things I kept inside while silently feeling so proud that my daughter followed instructions and was the perfect little music student. I made a silent vow that none of my kids would ever be so disruptive in a classroom setting.
I eat my words. As well as offer up my sincerest apology to all mothers of sons. I finally get it. I now understand. B.Z. (before Zach), I had no idea the shear amount of physical energy required to keep a boy occuupied. It is exhausting. They have to be moving literally all. the. time. So, after 35 minutes of non-stop wrestling, bouncing, running, jumping, restraining...I'm pretty much ready to throw in the towel.
I'm not sure music class is the best fit for Zach right now. Anybody know of a local toddlers wrestling league or tackle football team?
It's now 3:00 pm...
And, I hear rustling in the kids' bedrooms...
Time to go outside and play!
Thursday, March 5, 2009
"I'm king of the waffle!"
(ok...I admit, that was a little over the top)
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Happy Blogiversary to me...
Happy Blogiversary to me-ee...
Happy Blogiversary to me!
Exactly one year ago today, I jumped on the blogging bandwagon and started this blog. Today, on my one year blogiversary, I give you my 175th post...
A funny story from the other evening:
Allie (while taking her baby dolls to the play kitchen): Here, babies, I'll just heat you up a little bit because you are a little cold (proceeds to stuff all three baby dolls in the play oven and turns up the play dials).
Ben: Allie, you really shouldn't put babies in the oven.
Allie: But they are cold.
Ben: Let's take the babies out of the oven.
Allie: But can't we heat them up?
Ben: No, we don't cook babies. (looks toward me) What really goes on here when I'm not around?
Jennifer (shrugging, while simultaneously trying to hide a grin): Honestly, I have never ever heated up a baby doll in the oven.
Monday, March 2, 2009
I was surprised at Zach’s reaction while I was holding my friend’s new 2-week old baby girl. There was kicking, screaming, wailing, thrashing, tears, and even a failed attempt to climb up onto my lap while completely disregarding the presence of another human being in my arms. Obviously, Zach is not ready to give up the title of “baby” just quite yet.
I was equally surprised at Allie’s hesitance to hold the new baby because for the past two weeks she has been asking me, non-stop, when she was going to get to see and hold the new baby. Actually, upon reflecting, I’m not quite sure Allie was convinced it was a real baby until the baby began to move and make noise. I’m pretty certain she thought we were trying to pass off a baby doll as the real thing.
After deciding not to attend my treadmill date on Saturday, instead opting to sleep in until the ripe ole’ hour of quarter to seven (that was when Allie came into our room informing us that it was morning), I was surprised to discover just how physically terrible I felt. I was tired, sore, lethargic, and a bit on the cranky side (or so I’ve been informed by other members of my household).
I was surprised at how well the kids tolerated being dragged around to several different stores on Saturday morning in search of the perfect invitations for my sister’s upcoming bridal shower. Or, now that I think of it, their good behavior was more likely a result of Daddy’s Indy-500 “cart rides” and the promise of lunch at Wendy’s.
I was surprised that I didn’t recognize Allie’s ECFE teacher when I ran into her and her husband while I was looking for more invitation materials at Archiver’s on Saturday afternoon during the kids’ naps. I probably stared at her for a very uncomfortable 30-40 seconds until my brain actually kicked in and I remembered where I knew her from. Awkward. I’ll have some explaining to do next Monday.
I was pleasantly surprised to find myself and Ben sitting in a movie theater on Saturday evening at 7:30 pm after my sister called just an hour and half before offering to watch the kids because in her and my mom’s words, “…you have to go and see “Slumdog Millionaire” at the movie theater. I was even more surprised that a movie I knew little to nothing about (except that it won a slew of Academy Awards), ended up being one of the better movies I’ve seen in I don’t remember how long.
After the movie, Ben and I were surprised to discover that the front heater in our van was not working. It was a very cold ride home.
I was surprised that despite having one more adult in our house (my sister stayed overnight on Saturday) and the fact that I did in fact have my morning meeting with the treadmill, we still arrived unbelievable early at church on Sunday.
I was surprised that during the kids’ naps on Sunday afternoon, Ben offered to help me make my sister’s bridal shower invitations (not exactly a masculine pursuit) and even though Allie got up early from her nap, we were still able to finish every single invitation. To keep Allie busy, we put her to work stamping all the leftover paper, envelopes, and scraps.
I was surprised to learn that you can indeed make a low-fat quesadilla. In fact, for dinner on Sunday, Ben made some pretty mean pizzadillas. What’s a pizzadilla? Well, it’s one of Ben’s culinary inventions comprised of 2 fat-free tortillas, a heaping ¼ cup of part skim mozzarella cheese, and 7 pieces of turkey pepperoni, served with pizza sauce for dipping. Pretty yummy, if I do say so myself.
On Sunday night, we were all surprised to discover that Ben’s car wouldn’t start. We made this surprising discovery after dinner while the kids and I were loaded in the mini van waiting for Ben to follow us in his car to the Chrysler dealership where we intended to drop off the van so the heater could be repaired today.
This morning, Ben was pleasantly surprised to find himself driving my brother’s car, a fire-engine red Ford Mustang, to work in place of his temporarily impaired Honda.
And now surprisingly it is 11:30 am and the troops are hungry...which shouldn’t come as a big surprise to anyone. Except, the cook hasn't been keeping track of the time, and has instead been busily blogging away while she should have been making lunch.