Friday, July 31, 2009

A Visit to the Fair

This past Saturday our whole family enjoyed a great morning at the Anoka County Fair. The weather was a bit cool for the end of July, but it did not stop us from enjoying all the sights, animals, food, and rides at the fair.
We arrived at the Anoka County Fairgrounds at about 9:30 and were excited to find that we were one of the first families there. We got an awesome parking spot and proceeded to look at and pet all the animals without having to fight the crowds.

After looking at all the animals and a few of the booths, it was time for a snack. Mini Donuts were the snack of choice. None of us had ever had a mini donut before, so it was with a bit of trepidation that Ben handed over his wad of bills in exchange for the bag of sugar covered, deep fried, mini pastries.
And, let me just take this opportunity to say that eating only 1 mini donut was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do since I began trying to lose weight. I believe I walked about 10 feet ahead of Ben, Allie, and Zach until I was sure that every last morsel of mini donut was consumed. They were really that good. In fact, I'm already planning my eating around being able to consume a few more mini donuts again at the State Fair in August.

After snacks, we looked around a little more, taking in the commercial buildings, 4-H displays, and scoped out the Midway (that unfortunately did not open until noon). Ben gave into the fair aroma and purchased a 16-ounce container of Fries that he shared with Allie and Zach when we all sat down to eat the lunch that I had packed for us.
After lunch, we took in a fashion show put on by some of the kids from the 4-H program while the kids and Ben ate some fair made caramel corn.
Then, it was finally noon and we hit the Midway. We were so proud of Allie because earlier in the morning she really wanted to do the pony rides. We explained to her that we had only brought enough cash along to do either the rides at the Midway or the Pony Ride, but not both. I was prepared for a full-fledged tantrum, but instead Allie answered "Oh. Ok. Well, I think we should wait for the rides" and walked calmly away from the pony rides without any more whining or complaining about it.
Both kids had a great time on the rides. Ben and I even got to ride the carousel!

Oh, and here's a picture of Allie drawing on a big cement cylinder. I'm not sure the purpose of this, but she sure enjoyed it.
And, what is a visit to the fair without sitting on all the farm equipment and riding lawn mowers?

Before we left, we stopped by the slushy booth and got some slushies to go. Everyone was thirsty, tired, and ready to head home.

Thankfully, we made it to the truck just as it began to downpour. Allie was the only one who was actually in the truck when it began pouring, although she still proclaimed that she got sopping wet. Ben and I were actually the only ones completely soaked (we threw Zach in as soon as the rain started), but we still deemed our morning at the fair one of the most fun days we've had as a family!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Weight Loss Wednesday

Operation Weight Loss 2009:
Week 28 (7/22-7/29)
Weight Lost This Week: -2.8 pounds
Weight Lost To Date: -52 pounds
Yay! I finally broke the 50 pound mark! I wasn't even going to weigh-in this week because things have been crazy-busy around here, but I'm so glad I did. I was already anticipating breaking the 50 pound milestone this week, however I was definitely NOT expecting a loss of almost 3 pounds in 1 week. Definitely a welcomed surprise, though.
Thanks for all of your encouraging comments last week. I've been at this for a long time and some weeks just seem so much more difficult than others (last week was definitely one of those harder weeks). It is easy to lose perspective of the bigger weight-loss picture when I feel like I am working hard, sticking to the eating plan, and have a week with what I perceive to be not much weight loss. So, I did appreciate all of your kind words--it was just what I needed last week!
I'm not sure what else to report this week. I've been truckin' along with my consistent exercise and eating plan. At this point, a lot of my changes have become habit, so in a way, things have become much easier and I don't feel like I'm forcing myself to exercise or depriving myself of any foods. It's just kind of become my new lifestyle.
However, Ben and I did get into a bit of a disagreement this week when he bought me some Twizzlers and happily proclaimed that I could eat 8 of them for only 1 Weight Watcher's point. I momentarily thought I should check the label myself because it seemed way too good to be true that I could eat that much candy for only 1 point, but I trusted that Ben had accurately read the label and subsequently calculated the portion size, fat, fiber, and calories. He is an engineer, after all, and works with numbers ALL. DAY. LONG. So, I decided to splurge and ate 16 Twizzlers for 2 points.
The next evening while I was reaching into the bag to get 8 more Twizzlers for 1 point, I took a glance at the nutritional information and to my horror discovered Ben had absolutely NOT read the label correctly. Whereas the correct portion size for one serving is 4 Twizzlers, Ben thought the servings per bag (13) was the serving size. And, after I ran the calculations, I was a might bit irritated to find that 4 Twizzlers are equivalent to 3 Weight Watcher's points. Great. So, the night before I ate 12 points worth of Twizzlers. Totally. Not. Cool. I mean, Twizzlers are good and all, but if I am going to use up 12 points, I would rather do it on something like ice cream or cheesecake...not fake, strawberry-flavored, rubber-like candy.
Anyway, on to something different...
I thought the 50 pound mark would be a good time for another before and after picture.
So, here's a profile picture of me making cookies with the kids this past Christmas. I know I have an apron on, but my clothes were definitely tight. And, I was definitely BIG. Why I was making cookies when I should have been focusing on eating a little more healthy is beyond me.
Here's a profile shot I took of myself yesterday wearing a shirt that is 2 sizes smaller and a pair of capris that are 3 sizes smaller:

Let's just say that when I walked in front of this mirror in our living room last year, I averted my eyes and walked by as quickly as possible. Now, upon seeing the reflection in the mirror I stop and stare in disbelief...and then subsequently take pictures of my reflection. Good grief...I guess that is kind of weird. Oh well. I lost 52 pounds....I'm entitled to a bit of craziness, right?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Some Recent Changes

So, it looks like it has been an entire week since my last blog entry!
In my defense, we have actually been busy. In addition to the normal responsibilities of running a household and entertaining two extremely energetic children with fun activities and play dates while also making sure they do not kill or severely injure themselves in the process, I've also found myself re-organizing the kids' books and toys, mowing the front and back lawn for Ben, doing a little online shopping after discovering I don't own any pairs of pants that don't fall off my hips and onto the floor, hanging out with my sister and brother-in-law who were in town for the past few days, practicing oodles for my upcoming flute audition this Monday, listening to oodles of orchestral excerpts in preparation for my upcoming flute audition this Monday, contemplating when or if we should ever move Zach out of a crib upon realization that he is going to turn 2 in a little over two months, and wondering how it is possible that in a little over a month my Allie-Baby will be old enough to go to preschool.


In addition to all the busy-ness, we've also had quite a few changes in our family.
Like, take for instance, a new bedtime routine complete with "together" story time:

I'm not entirely sure how long this will last...the rowdiness factor at bedtime has increased by about a gazillion times since together-story time began last week.
Allie also received an Extreme Bedroom Makeover courtesy of Grandma Richardson. After realizing I wasn't ever going to be able to wash her white comforter clean (please do not ask me what I was thinking when I purchased a white comforter for Allie's room--I blame it on preggo brain and lack of experience with children under the age of 5 with the color white), I found the hot pink daisy bed spread pictured above at Home Goods for an unbeatable price. Unfortunately, the bedspread did not match the curtains or bed skirt, so super Grandma came to the rescue by making (as in, sewing from scratch) brand new curtains and a bed skirt within 24 hours.
Zach is now speaking in more frequent and complete sentences. Some examples:
"I want some more!"
"Stop that!"
"I want some fruit!"
"Why is that?"
"I don't know."
"Give me that!"
"Go fast now!"
And, my all time favorite and most classic Zach phrase:
"Cars go fast!"
And, last, but certainly not least, there have been lots of smiles and laughter lately when we are out and about.
See what I mean: Have you ever witnessed so much excitement over a ride in the family vehicle?
Well, we sure haven't. Until, last week when we bought this from my parents:

I'm not exactly sure what type of face Zach is making in the above picture or what Allie is paying attention to, but note the sheer enthusiasm and border-line giddy-ness on Ben's face.
Not only is he now an official truck owner, but he also sold his old car within 24 hours of posting an online ad.
So, Ben can now say goodbye to those hot, stifling rides to work in silence (both the AC and radio were broken in his old car) as he gladly welcomes riding to work in manly style.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Weight Loss Wednesday

Operation Weight Loss 2009
Weeks 27-28 (7/8 - 7/21)
Amount Lost in 2 Weeks: -2.2 pounds
Total Weight Loss to Date: -49.2 pounds
Well, I've been at this for almost 7 months now and although most of the lifestyle changes I have made to achieve my weight loss success have become habitual, this week I'm especially feeling weary of it all. Getting up at 5:45 AM every morning to bust it out with Jillian, keeping track of every morsel of food that goes into my mouth, planning low fat and healthy meals/snacks for myself and my family, choosing the side salad over the french fries, declining that cookie in favor of an apple, running my 3 miles on the treadmill until I'm covered in sweat and my legs feel like all just feels so overwhelming at the moment.
I am encouraged by my continued weight loss each week, but as I get closer and closer to my goal, I just want the weight to come off faster and faster. Unfortunately, at this stage of the game, I'm not entirely sure that it works that way. The 13 more pounds just can't come fast enough!
I have been working harder now than I have at any stage in this journey and so it can be discouraging when I average only about 1 pound per week lost, when, in the beginning I was losing anywhere from 1.5-3 pounds each week with minimal exercise and more food consumption.
So, seeing as I could really use a few pick-me-ups in the whole weight loss department, I've decided to dedicate the rest of this post to only positive comments. Here goes:
  • It took me approximately 4 years of college (complete with many late night brownie and cookie dough binges) and 6 years of marriage (complete with 2 years of graduate school with LOTS of fast food and Chinese take out and 2 pregnancies with way too many Turtle Sundaes and visits to Coldstone) to put on my extra 49.2 pounds and I have accomplished getting rid of it in a little under 7 months.
  • Allie saw an old picture of me the other week and proclaimed that it didn't look like me at all. She went on to inquire about when I received my new face.
  • I have a ton of extra closet room now that I have finally purged all of my too-big clothes. In fact, once Fall comes, clothes shopping will become a necessity as I'm pretty sure I won't be able to wear shorts and tank tops during a Minnesota winter.
  • Now, if the life insurance people ask if my weight on my driver's license is accurate, I can truthfully say, "No, I actually weigh 15 pounds less than that."
  • Since we don't eat out as much, our grocery bill has increased (don't worry, this isn't a negative thing...we're still spending less on food than we did before with all of our eating out). Plus, our grocery store participates in a fuel incentive program where you are reimbursed at your local gas station a certain amount depending on how much your grocery bill totals. So, we kind of forgot about the whole program until tonight when we redeemed our reimbursement and subsequently gassed up our completely empty mini van for $14.50.
  • Ben told me the other night that he actually enjoys the dinners we've been eating more now than he did prior to my weight loss endeavor. He commented that we have much more variety and he likes trying all the new recipes I find.
  • And, just because I can, this weekend I tried on my dresses from my junior and senior year prom (that was 11 and 10 years ago, respectively) and. . .

they both fit!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Visit to the Farm

Last weekend, on a whim, we decided to head about 15 minutes north of our house to Elk River, MN to visit the Minnesota Historical Society's Oliver H. Kelley Farm. Ben has been overseeing work on a historical road marker outside the farm since last Fall and had mentioned that the kids may enjoy looking around the fully-functioning 19th century farm.
I wasn't sure what to expect and when we pulled into the massive farm field in the middle of nowhere I thought for sure our day trip was going to be a bust. However, as we stepped out onto the gravel road that lead to the historic farm site, I was immediately proven wrong as 2 huge steer greeted us by the road. Allie and Zach each took a turn petting the gigantic cows before we made our way along the rest of the road and up to the farm house. On our way, we saw several historical site workers, dressed in authentic 1870's attire, going about their daily farm chores.
Before entering the farm house, we stopped to pet the sheep that were grazing outside of the house and the kids chased a few farm cats around the yard. Upon entering the Kelley's home, we were overwhelmed by the smell of fresh bread and were greeted by the lady of the house who immediately put both Allie and I to work in the kitchen. Prior to our visit, we had started reading Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Allie was enthralled to actually be able to see and participate in the same chores we had read about Laura and her family doing.
Here are some pictures of us working in the kitchen...sorry for the poor quality. Again, this was definitely an unplanned outing and I didn't have a camera along, so Ben did his best (once again) to capture some photos on his Blackberry.

While Allie and I were mixing bread and preparing liver stew for lunch, Zach and Ben had a look around the house. The best thing about this historical site is that the kids were allowed to touch EVERYTHING! Nothing was hands-off. So, Zach had a grand time opening all the dresser drawers in the bedroom, opening and closing kitchen cupboards, playing with some period toys, and even "slept" in the bed.
After we were done with our kitchen work, we followed our new friend outside to tend to the chickens. Here's Allie helping to put fresh straw in the hen house.
We had a great time explroring the rest of the farm. The barn not only housed the horses (that later pulled us on a carriage-ride tour around the farm), but was home to several barn cats. The kids once again had a blast chasing around all the kitties. I was able to catch one of the smaller kittens so the kids could get a closer look.

And, seriously, what is a farm without great big hogs? We didn't see them at first because they blended in so well with the mud. Trust me, these were some gigantic, extremely muddy pigs. Zach actually jumped back and almost fell over as we walked by and this big guy let out a huge piggy snort.

The sheep roamed freely around the farm and the kids were always excited to spot them.

The garden on the farm was massive! We had fun looking at all the rows of lettuces, squash, beans, potatoes, onions, watermelons, pumpkins, etc.... Pretty much, anything you could grow was planted in that garden. And, as is the custom on this farm, we were put to work right away. Allie had a blast weeding an entire row of pumpkin plants while Zach ran up and down the rows of the garden.

We had an awesome morning at the farm. My only regret is that I didn't plan on the trip ahead of time so that I could have packed our lunches and we could have stayed the rest of the day. We will definitely be heading back again. Apparently there are different "special events" that are held seasonally (ie-harvest time, planting celebration...). I don't think either kids would have ever gotten bored as there was so much for them to see and participate in!

The Drama of the Sunflowers

This past May during our last day of ECFE classes for the season, the kids planted sunflower seeds in little Dixie cups. As I took all 6 cups home, I was pretty sure nothing would ever sprout. We watered the cups diligently and each morning looked expectantly to see if there was a seedling.
Four days passed and nothing. I was pretty sure we would be keeping those cups of dirt sitting on my kitchen window sill all summer long, but then, around the fifth day, Allie spotted one little sprout springing up from the dirt of one of the cups. One by one, each cup sprouted several seedlings and every morning Allie would race to the kitchen to check on the baby sunflowers' progress.
Eventually, we determined the sunflowers had grown too big for their 3 ounce home and needed transplanting. So, one afternoon Ben took both kids outside and they transplanted each sprout into a larger plastic cup that we placed on our back patio. I believe we had about 15 cups or so. Anyway, Allie took to watering each cup daily and was a little saddened to discover a few of the sprouts didn't make it through the trauma of transplanting.
Toward the end of June, before we left on our vacation, the sprouts had once again outgrown their home. So, this time, Ben took both kids and they dug holes behind our garage and planted the seeds in the ground. Allie was now incredibly excited about the prospect of huge sunflowers by the end of summer and made sure to check on their progress whenever we were playing outside.
Fast forward to the week after vacation.
Allie went outside to check on her sunflowers, and came to me devastatingly crying that they were ALL GONE! I went over to look, and sure enough, the sunflowers weren't there anymore. I called Ben over to assess the situation and all he could find were a couple brown sprouts lying amidst some grass clippings. As I was brainstorming ways the plants could have disappeared (ie-maybe bunnies ate it or a squirrel dug it up), a look of sheer panic took over Ben's face as he solemnly declared, "I think I mowed them over before vacation."
"You what?!" pined Allie, "OH NO! YOU KILLED MY SUNFLOWERS!"
After a long arduous apology, Allie determined the only way to make up for the murder of her sunflowers was a brand new plant. So, during nap time, Ben went to the local hardware store and brought back this:

( you think he was feeling a tad guilty? I was expecting a little potted petunia...not a flowering vine taller than my 3 1/2 year old!)
Needless to say, Allie was quite taken by the "Princess Vine" and has not mentioned the sunflowers since. If only all problems were so easily solved.

Friday, July 17, 2009

How Allie Saved the Muffins

Some of my favorite times with Allie have been spent in the kitchen cooking or baking together. Although Allie enjoys helping cook dinner all the time, the change in our family's eating habits this past January has resulted in no time at all spent in the kitchen baking. Homemade baked goods are definitely my greatest weakness and up until this past weekend, I wasn't sure I was strong willed enough to consume any homemade goodies in moderation (however, that is still up for debate...seeing as I had to freeze massive quantities of our baked goods in an effort to make it more difficult for me to consume them all at once).
Anyway, with the bumper raspberry crop our backyard bushes have produced this July, I thought it was high time for some good ole' fashioned raspberry baked goods. I was going to do the whole jam thing, but after making oodles of freezer jam last year only to discover that our family really doesn't consume that much jelly or jam, I decided baked goods were definitely a better use of my time.
So, after flipping through some tried and true raspberry recipes my grandma sent me a few years ago along with others I'd clipped out from magazines here and there, I set out to make a whole slew of home baked raspberry goodness including: Double Berry Cheesecake Muffins, Raspberry Lemon Muffins, Raspberry Crisp, Raspberry Oat Bars, and Lemon Raspberry Cookies. A little over the top? Hmmm....maybe. But, I have been seriously deprived of baking over the past few months and I had a little helper that was more than excited to get started!
First up, Allie's choice: Double Berry Cheesecake Muffins. I set Allie to work measuring out all the ingredients. She did an excellent job and informed me that she enjoys using the flour scooper best of all. As she continued measuring out sugar and flour, I got together all the other ingredients we needed, including the eggs, and set them on the other side of the countertop.
As we were creaming the butter and sugars together, Allie was asking about all the ingredients. We talked about how we needed to add each one, carefully following the instructions on the recipe, so that our muffins would turn out just perfect. After the butter and sugars were sufficiently creamed, we added the flour and baking soda and set to work stirring the batter.
At this point, I was thinking the batter looked a bit stiff for muffins, but thought nothing of it as I proceeded to scrape it by tablespoonfuls into the paper liners Allie was meticulously placing in the bottom of each muffin cup.
After we had filled all the cups full and were ready for the next step (the cheesecake berry filling and streusel topping), Allie looked at me and matter-of-factly stated,
"Mom, don't we need those eggs in there?"
I looked over to where she was pointing to see the two eggs I took out of the fridge still sitting on the counter where I had left them.
"Actually, yes, we do. Thanks Allie! You saved the muffins!"
"I saved the muffins?! I SAVED THE MUFFINS!"
"That's right Allie! Without you the muffins would have been completely ruined!"
As I scraped all the batter out of each cup back into the bowl, added the eggs, and let Allie use the handmixer to remix the batter ( that looks more like muffin batter consistency), Allie continued her commentary.
"You know, Mom, you should really read the recipe more carefully and follow the instructions better. I don't think you are a very good baker. Good thing you have me to help you--you're pretty lucky, huh? I really saved the muffins? I REALLY SAVED THE MUFFINS!"
Actually, Allie, I am so lucky to have you. My life is always full of excitement and laughter with you around. There is never a dull moment...which, honestly, is exactly how I would have it. Every morning when you greet me with a big grin on your face and a bear hug around my knees, even though I'm not much of a morning person, you make 6:30 a.m. seem so much brighter. I just know I wouldn't want to share my days with any other little girl, but you.
So, here's to many more years of baking with you, Allie-babe. I know there will be countless muffins in our future that will need saving!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Warning...This Post May Contain TMI

I am positive that there is a secret pact between parents to keep under wraps all the disgusting stories about raising kids to insure that procreation continues and that the human race will flourish. I have come to this conclusion through the certainty of knowing that if I had been told that there was even the slightest risk of the particularly nasty events of this week actually coming to pass, I may have spent much longer contemplating my desire to have, say, until after I reached menopause.

It is at moments when you are at McDonald's, trying to yell in the general direction of your 3-1/2 year old, who is making a mad dash for the playland, to wait for you while instinctively reacting to the horrendous odor coming from your 1-1/2 year old's bottom with the one-finger rear-end diaper check, only to pull your finger out to find it completely covered in poo, that you wonder why in the world no one ever warned you about the atrocities of a toddler's poopy blow out in the middle of a crowded restaurant. Or, why in the world nobody told you in advance not to give in to your gut reaction toward a poop-covered index finger by shaking it as vigorously as possible while declaring "EWWW! EWWW! EWWWW!" much louder than appropriate for a public place, only to glance up and find the lady sitting at the adjacent table holding her Big Mac mid-bite, completely frozen in shock, staring in horror as the poop is being flung off your index finger and splattered all over your table.

Fortunately, even though you were unaware of such nightmarish possibilities, you are one prepared momma and after a diaper and clothes change in the restroom, you're good to go. However, you couldn't help but notice upon exiting the restroom that there was another family sitting at your table, already digging into their fries and guzzling their Cokes, totally unaware of the bleak recent history of the table. And, even though you did use a wet-wip to "clean up" the mess, you really don't want to be the one to inform them because who knows if thst one little wet wipe was quite enough to extinguish all remnants of e-coli.

Anyway, all kidding aside, I think it is going to be quite a while until I muster up the courage to eat at another McDonald's again. Which, honestly, it is going to be quite a while before Zach's little stomach can even tolerate a McDonald's Happy Meal. After four more poopy blow-outs (that definitely qualified from smell and consistency as the Big-D) in a little over 2 hours, I believe he has officially contracted some sort of stomach virus. And, that was on Tuesday.

Today is Thursday. And, let me tell you, his poor little bottom is suffering big time. If I even mention a diaper change, he runs from me as fast as humanly possible for someone with legs only a little over a foot long while screaming "OWWW!" at the top of his lungs.

Anyway, my McDonald's incident was the worst it could get. Right?

Well, unless, for example, tonight you hear your husband screaming for you from the bathroom at the top of his lungs in an attempt to be heard over the horrified shrieks of a 3-1/2 year old and panicked cries from a 1-1/2 year old, and of course, you drop everything right away and race into the bathroom, but nothing can quite prepare you for the sight you are about to behold ('s that whole secret parenting pact I told you about) as you glance into the bathtub to find lots of blackish-brown specks floating amidst a toy duck, toy alligator, and plastic boat in the now murky bath water (don't worry--both kids made a quick exit from the tainted water and were officially re-cleaned and sanitized ASAP). And, as you try to calm down a terrified daughter who is worried because her brother has just pooped "bugs," all you can think about is how in the world are you supposed to clean up that (ummm...definitely no instructions for that in any of my parenting books) and how perfectly fitting for such an incident to occur on the very day that you spent over a half hour scrubbing the shower and tub from top to bottom until it sparkled.

Thank God for husbands...especially ones who can clean up that. However, he has just informed me that he does not do vomit. Oh well. No man's perfect.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 4th Photos

That's right...Those are actual PHOTOS from our July 4th fireworks celebration!
Apparently when I wrote this post about July 4th, I was mistaken when I recorded that we did not have a camera along to document the festivities. As it turns out, Ben was snapping shots on his Blackberry all throughout the fireworks show. So, although the pictures aren't great quality, we at least have photographic evidence of the kids during their first fireworks on July 4th! Yay!
Here are the kids playing with their glow-in-the-dark necklaces that Ben got for them:

Here's Zach in his favorite place-Grandpa's lap: Here are the kids and I watching the fireworks:And, please don't ask me how I could forget that Ben was snapping photos with his Blackberry that evening when I actually posed for one of those photos with the kids...I guess I could blame it on being tired (seeing as I can't remember the last time I actually stayed up that late at night), but I think the real source of the forgetfulness lies in the fact that I am now a proud owner of my very own "Mommy Brain."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back Yard Swimming

Last Friday I finally decided to blow up the kiddie pool so the Allie and Zach could splash around in the back yard. I reserved naptime to tackle the job which was a good idea because the seemingly simple task of inserting air into a big plastic inflatable safari oasis proved to be a bit more difficult than I originally anticipated.
After a phone call to Ben to locate the correct electric air pump (apparently I was using the air compressor that is reserved for blowing up tires, not swimming pools), I was able to complete the job. The only other minor glitch occured while I was trying to fill up the pool with the garden hose while simultaneously talking to my friend on the phone. Let's just say our cordless phone spent the remainder of the afternoon in several pieces drying out on the kitchen counter.
Even though the clouds were moving in and the air was becoming cooler by the time the kids awoke from their naps, they were still both excited to change into their bathing suits and jump right in. However, after feeling how frigid the water was, there was a lot more splashing and a little less jumping and dunking.
Allie was first to brave the elephant slide:
She flew right down the slide and was a bit stunned by the cold water...suffice it to say, all remaining trips down the slide were attempted with a little more caution and a lot less body in the water.

Allie exerted all of her energy to help Zach get atop the slide.

Zach was absolutely NOT a fan of the slide...mostly because he landed right in the water which was kindof a shock for him, After his one trip down the slide, he quickly climbed out of the pool and remained outside of it for the rest of the afternoon.

Here's the swimming beauty...and no, she never got her hair wet.
Zach splashing in the water (I believe he was saying..."Oooooh! Wadah!").

Allie's favorite thing to do was splash Zach. Zach was not quite so fond of this activity.

After a full afternoon of swimming, I had two very hungry kids on my hands and one hungry hubby returning home any minute with a Papa Murphy's pizza in hand. Friday night has become pizza night this summer, giving me a break from cooking and allowing Ben to become good friends with the Papa Murphy's Pizza guy. In fact, Ben informed me that he is now known on a first name basis at our local PM Pizza and he doesn't even have to order anymore because they remember his usual: Bacon Chicken BBQ Delite, no onions, half tomatoes. Gotta love summer. It doesn't get much better than swimming and pizza. The kids wholeheartedly agree!