Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mothers, Beware

If both your kids are sick with nasty colds and you have been the one chosen to stay at home with them on a Sunday morning while your husband attends church, mothers beware. Both kids will be incredibly cranky, whiny, bored, and it will probably not be a good idea to rip your kitchen apart in an effort to make a ginormous batch of homemade applesauce.
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But, if you do decide to go with the applesauce making, definitely do NOT send your kids to the downstairs play room so that they can run around and whine at a distance instead of carrying forth such activities right beneath your feet in the kitchen (and, yes, I did try to let them help, but they were definitely NOT enthusiastic about the task at hand). Believe me, you will regret it.
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And, even though it will only take you approximately a half hour to complete the apple sauce making, it might be a good idea to check on them more wholeheartedly than by just poking your head around the corner, summoning their names, and listening for some sort of audible response in an effort to reassure yourself that they are both still alive.
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But, if you do decide to go with the whole quick check method, just rest assured that the following picture will be your view from the top of the stairs:
See? No need to worry. Just a little bit of a mess. And, look...you can even see proof of life in the upper left hand corner in the form of a tiny arm and leg.
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But, beware as you finish up your applesauce extravaganza and proceed to head down the stairs to round up the kids for lunch, your visibility will increase and you will behold:

Ok...definitely a little bit more of a mess than anticipated, but still manageable. That is, until you spot the over turned chair and your almost 4 year old informs you that your almost 2 year old fell off the chair, but all is well because he escaped unscathed and didn't scream or shed a tear.


Thank you, Zach. I appreciate your effort in attempting to help clean up.


Oh. What's that? You weren't really cleaning up? Well, then, I guess it's ok for you to proceed walking over the chair.


Hmmm...what is that other chair doing over there?


Let's just take a closer look. Oh, what's that Allie? Ok, now I see. So, that is how you were able to reach up to the very top shelf where every single game that we own (which is well over a dozen) is tucked neatly in place to avoid such occurrences as the one we have here.
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Oh really? You and Zach were just having so much fun playing all the games that you couldn't remember to pick up? Convenient, I see, and also incredibly believable.
Well, good thing moms are great at teaching their children how to clean up messes. Apparently we have lots of practice in that arena.
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After 45 solid minutes of sorting out teeny tiny little cherries, sifting through multitudes of minuscule pieces of plastic sparkly jewelry, gathering up all those tiny colorful butterflies from all corners of the basement, and searching for every last Candy Land color card, both Allie and I were at last in agreement: Playing one game at a time is definitely a much better way to go.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

So, While I Was Typing Yesterday's Blog Post...

Allie was playing the piano and composing her own praise and worship songs. So, I thought it would be fun to quickly type out the words to her new song. Although the lyrics are not entirely theologically accurate, I am quite impressed (I am her mom, by the way).
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After she finished, I asked her for a title and she looked at me with a blank expression. Thus, I conclude, the following lyrics shall remain un-named. Unfortunately, I was also not able to capture the exact melody and accompaniment (as I am not entirely sure it ever stayed consistent), so you will all just have to use your imagination.
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So, without further delay, here's Allie's first attempt at composing song lyrics:
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Satan can’t stop God’s plan.
God sent him to hell so he couldn’t be around God anymore. Because God is great. God is great. Forever. God is great.
Praise God. Holy God. God has created everything for us. Everything for us that we needed.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
To God be the glory.
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God, you praise me. God will work today.
Glory that God will use for God. Satan will stay in Hell.
YAY!
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All the glory to God. God will work in our family.
God is in heaven, but will still work here. And Satan is in the dungeon.
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God made creation for me. God is overboard on a ship
and then He will go up into heaven.
YAY!
God’s creation will stand. God’s creation will actually work.
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God will know and God will go
.
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So...not quite sure why God would be praising Allie or why He would make creation for her and then jump overboard from a ship before ascending to heaven, but hey, I warned you about the theological accuracy, didn't I?
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I think my favorite part, however, is about how God's creation will actually work. I guess I never really thought about it that way....

Monday, September 28, 2009

Two Year Olds Are Fun

As Zach’s two year birthday is quickly approaching, I have been reminded lately how much fun 2-year olds can be. I mean, sure, along with all the fun stuff there is the occasional full-fledged maniacal temper tantrum thrown into the mix due to constantly changing opinions and an ever growing will…and there is that whole issue of getting the 2-year old to understand what a toilet is and how to actually use it…and, of course, the graduation from crib to bed typically means no more containment in the wee hours of the morning or during those nap times when the 2-year old adamantly refuses to sleep….
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But, those few things aside, 2-year olds really are fun. Don’t get me wrong…It’s not that I don’t think 1-year olds can be fun as well. However, it just seems that as the 2-year old is finally able to discover a multitude of words to express all that is going on in their tiny, little mind, the other people in their lives get to know them in an entirely new way. Thus, we are quickly learning around here how hilarious Zach is. Even at almost two, this kid has a great sense of humor and we all enjoy laughing at the little quips he comes up with each and every day.
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Zach’s “language explosion” began a couple months ago and has yet to slow down. Although it can be difficult to understand exactly what he is saying at times, we all listen and try, to the best of our ability, to interpret. And, when we do get it right, the smile on his face as a result of knowing that he’s been understood is truly priceless.
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For example, a little over a month ago, Zach began singing a song that starts something like this: Dod-ooo-weee. Dod-ooo-wee. Da-da-da. Dod-ooo-fow…..
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Yep, that’s all we had to go on. And, seriously, your guess is probably just as good as mine was. Zach was extremely frustrated that we couldn't join in with his singing, so Allie, in an effort to cheer him up, started singing along with him by using his made-up words. And, for about a month, everywhere we went, our kids would sing this song at the top of their lungs and we had NO CLUE what it meant.
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Then, one random night at dinner, it dawned on us.
Dod-ooo-wee = Gotta Be.
Dod-ooo-wee=Gotta Be
Da-da-da=VEGGIE TALES!
Dod-ooo-fow=Cauliflower….
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As we started singing along with Zach, he was so excited that he couldn't contain himself. He was laughing and singing and grinning all at the same time because he was so thrilled that after an entire month, he was finally understood.
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Since then, he's continued to enjoy the attention and inclusion that comes along with finally being understood. He’s become extremely talented at saying just the right thing at the right time. For instance, the other night when Allie got taken out of the bath for repeatedly splashing after she was told not to, Zach yelled at the top of his lungs, “STRAIGHT TO DA BED! STRAIGHT TO DA BED!” Of course, we couldn't help it, and we all broke out in laughter.
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In addition, Zach is getting better and letting us know what he wants. He’s able to tell us when he wants a drink or a snack. He can tell us when he’s looking for a certain toy or wants a particular book. And, he can tell me in the middle of the grocery store, while trying to maneuver his way out of the cart that he wants a “KISS! KISS! KISS!” And, sure enough, after I plant a wet one straight on his forehead, he sits right down, and demands another.
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Of course, he has mastered the words, "No," "Mine." and "GIVE THAT BAAAACK!" In addition, he likes to remind me when Allie should receive a "Team Out (Time Out)," but ironically never requests one for himself. Lately, he's also taken it upon himself to enforce some of our house rules. In fact, just the other day, I heard him admonishing Allie by yelling after her in the hallway, “WATCH OUT! NO PUSHING!”
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So, whether He points out the portrait in the hallway at Allie's preschool and proclaims at the top of his lungs, "LOOK! JESUS! LOOK! IT'S JESUS!" or shouts out enthusiastically "E-I-E-I-O" when I mention our upcoming visit to the farm, we are all happy that Zach has finally found his voice...and that we can actually understand it now.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Weight Loss Wednesday Friday

Operation Weight Loss 2009:
Weeks 36-37 (9/9-9/24)
Weight Lost Over 2 Weeks: -3.0 pounds
Weight Lost To Date: -61.6 pounds
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As I am sure you have noticed, it is not Wednesday. However, due to all the changes in our schedule this Fall, I've had to change my Weight Watcher's weigh-in day to Thursday; thus making it impossible for me to continue Weight Loss Wednesday on an actual Wednesday. So, if there are any suggestions for a more clever and preferably alliterative title for my new Friday weight loss (hopefully soon to be weight and health maintenance) updates, I'd greatly appreciate any input (Ben was just reading this over my shoulder and suggested "Fat-Free Fridays...hmmm...whaddya think?).
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Back to the topic at hand.
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I was actually pleasantly surprised by the amount of weight I lost over the past two weeks. It seems for the past 3 weeks, my weight has been hovering around the same numbers on the scale and it has been a bit discouraging. However, I must admit that I have had a few indulgences that I normally would not have allowed myself (like the Coconut Macaroon Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory followed 2 days later by one too many pieces of my mom's homemade Coconut Cream Pie and Chocolate Cream Pie in celebration of my dad's birthday).
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Also, with our new schedule I just haven't had the time to perform my normal exercise routine (either 2 Jillian Michaels exercise videos--one cardio and one strength training--or one Jillian Michaels video in addition to running about 2.5 miles). I would have to get up at 4:30 a.m. in the morning to make that happen and I've decided I definitely value sleep far more than weight loss. Plus, what good am I to anyone if I'm skinny, but so tired that I have no patience and no motivation to carry out my daily tasks well.
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I knew I had to mix things up to kick-start the weight loss process again now that I'm on the home stretch. So, I resolved to impose my diet more rigorously, including not eating more than a 1 point snack in the evening (which amounts to about 50 calories) because I've found that for my body, eating too much later in the evening is synonymous with no weight loss or *gasp* weight gain.
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I also began running 5 miles a day on the treadmill and it takes me an hour (I'm definitely not a sprinter, but I have never been more covered in sweat in my entire life than after I have completed running those 5 miles). With our new schedule, I need the fastest way to burn as many calories as possible and for me, running seems to do the trick quite well. Unfortunately, I've been sick with a killer cold (which it seems I have now given to the kids) the past few days and have only managed to make it to 3 miles. But, I'm hoping tomorrow to get back up to the 5.
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Regardless, I guess my new resolve to get to my goal actually worked as I broke the 60 pound mark this week! I officially only have 0.6 pounds left to lose until I reach my goal! Hooray!
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The leader at my Weight Watcher's group talked to me a little bit about the maintenance plan this morning and I am definitely excited to enter this new phase. I only received a brief overview today, but hopefully I'll be learning more next week and will officially enter my 6-week maintenance plan whereupon completion I will be eligible for Lifetime Membership (all the benefits and resources offered by Weight Watcher's for the rest of my life with no cost to me!).
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So, hopefully when you check back next week, I'll have celebratory news. And, yes, I have already started thinking about what I'm going to eat in celebration of my weight loss success. And, no, it will not be a salad.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Know, It's Been A While...Again

Although I'm getting the hang of our busy Fall schedule, it seems that I have apparently found absolutely no time to blog about it. Which is a bit sad...because we've been really enjoying our first few weeks of Fall happenings. Even though the warm and sunny weather we have been experiencing is more reminiscent of the summer that we never quite had, I still managed to happily dig out the box of fall decorations hidden away in the corner of our basement and proceed to strategically place pumpkins, fall leaves, and acorns all around our living room. And while I was eagerly decorating for the new season that is supposedly upon us, I was content to be taking in the warm aroma of my newly purchased autumn harvest and apple candles in addition to thoroughly enjoying the blast from our home's AC while wearing shorts and a tank top. Yes, I do realize the above picture is not a depiction of my fall decorations and indeed has nothing to do with anything I have written about. But, like mentioned previously, I'm behind in blogging and I have to fit everything in.
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In my blogging negligence, I managed to skip two very important September days. So, a big "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" to my dad who is now officially one year away from being half a century young and to my sister who somehow turned 24 yesterday. I'm still trying to process my sister's age...because I feel like I just turned 24 last year...which would mean that my sister should still be 20. And, if my sister is not 20 and is in fact 24, that means I didn't make a mistake yesterday when I told the dentist I was actually 28 even though I spent the remainder of the appointment flat on my back in that awkward chair, mouth hanging wide open, trying desperately not to cough (I have a really bad cold) all over him for fear of being accused of contaminating the entire office with swine flue, silently questioning myself whether or not I gave him my correct age because 28 just seems really old (because: first, I can still remember when my mom turned 28 and second, that means I've officially entered my late twenties, and last, it means I have less than two years until I'm t-h-i-r-t-y) and I wasn't exactly adequately prepared to deal with my aging insecurities yesterday while getting my teeth scraped and polished.
Oh, so you want to know why his hair is highlighter blue and green? I'll get to that soon...hang in there.
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In other news, Ben and I finally got to go out on a date last Friday. It was much needed and way overdue (3 months, in fact). While the kids had fun hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa at our house, Ben and I went to see the new Harry Potter movie, indulged in dinner (and an incredible dessert...move over German Chocolate Cake, I think I have found a new love in Coconut Macaroon Cheesecake) at Cheesecake Factory, and ended our time together with a little shopping for some clothes for our family photo shoot that is to take place next week. We enjoyed some much needed time to talk without interruption and felt very refreshed from our time away. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
Yes, it was Allie's idea to have pig tails. And, yes, she picked out every single color that was available.
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So, I'm sure you're wondering how the kids are adjusting to the new Fall schedule. Well, Allie is still loving preschool, but was a little perturbed when her teacher suggested to her that maybe she should wear pants instead of dresses to school. Actually, perturbed is a mild way of describing Allie's reaction to such a hainous suggestion. Let's just say that when someone dares impose advice on Allie's fashion sense, especially when it comes to her choice in dresses, it will take a long time to rebuild that which is lost by claiming pants are superior to dresses in regard to preschool attire.
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Anyway, Zach had his first day of ECFE this week. Although he was a bit hesitant at first, when he realized his classroom contained both a climbing gym and at least a dozen different types of toy vehicles, I had a hard time getting him to want to come home. It is definitely good for him to have his own class to go to because it has been increasingly difficult for him to leave Allie at preschool. I think he feels like he is missing out on the fun in addition to his built in playmate (as exemplified by him asking me about 132 times every Tuesday and Thursday morning where "Aa-wee" is and if she is still at her "cwass") two days a week.
Yes, this is some sort of kiddie carnival game. And...absolutely...I'm positive that crunchy neon hair did in fact enable both kids to perform at above average levels, resulting in an ample winning of prizes ranging from cheap plastic toys to sugar laden treats.
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Both kids get to come with me to Bible Study on Wednesday mornings where Zach especially enjoys the time because he is allowed to stay in the classroom and play (and doesn't have to leave...like Allie's preschool). Allie, however, has expressed concern over the fact that there is only one class for all the kids and she is in with all the "babies."
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Speaking of church, Sunday School is in full gear again for the Fall so the kids have both been enjoying their classes while Ben and I spend time helping out with the third graders. Even though it has only been one week, we are both looking forward to the year and being able to serve at church together (something we have never been able to do before until now!).

Yes, I realize that Zach could have cared less that his hair was in technicolor when there was ice cream to be eaten. And, of course, he finished the entire ice cream cone without any help from either Ben or me (or Allie, for that matter, though she did try).

Well, I think you are all now completely caught up with the current events in our family. Oh, what's that? You want to know what was up with the weird hair pictures? That's right...I forgot to elaborate on that event. Unfortunately, it is nothing terribly exciting. Ben heard about a local 5k that was taking place at our community's park. So although we didn't participate in the running aspect of the 5K, we had a great time joining in the carnival that went along with the 5k festivities. And, yes, the hair color did come out of their hair. However, both Allie and Zach were a bit concerned when the bath water turned a nice shade of murky, glittery, black.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

While Allie is Away. . . .

Although Zach was at first a bit saddened to discover he would be losing his built in playmate two mornings a week due to Allie attending preschool,
he quickly recovered upon realizing that he gets two mornings a week with mommy to himself.Before Zach came along, I had day after day to spend solely with Allie and we had an infinite amount of one-on-one time to attend music classes, cook, play outside, read books, play with toys, go on walks, attend play dates, etc. I never realized how difficult it would be to find that same quality time to spend one-on-one with my second born. So, I'm actually excited to have Tuesday and Thursday mornings with just Zach and I, whether we are attending ECFE on Tuesdays (beginning next week) or meeting for a play date with one of my closest friends and 4-year college roomate (like we did yesterday), I know we will enjoy the one-on-one time together.
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And, since I actually had the camera along, I snapped some pictures while at our park play date.
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Owen and Amelia loved the water and sand, but Zach was a little bit more apprehensive.
Sweet Amelia--she's about a month older than Zach:
Zach really loves the slides!
Here's Owen who is a about a half a year older than Allie. I neglected to inform Allie what we did during her time at preschool because I know she would have been disappointed at not being able to see her friend Owen.

So, even though we will miss Allie while she is away, that doesn't mean Zach and Mommy won't play!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Allie's First Day of Preschool

Today marked Allie's historic first step into the world of academia and according to her, it couldn't have come soon enough. Barely able to contain her excitement, Allie was up at the crack of dawn this morning, informing me at approximately 7:02 a.m. that if we did not leave soon, we were going to be late for her first day of preschool. I was able to convince her that it would indeed be a good idea to wear clothes as opposed to lime green kitty-cat pajamas to her first day of preschool which brought us to about 7:07 a.m. when the proclamations of impending lateness again ensued. As a side note, preschool does not start until 9:15 a.m. and the location is less than a 10 minute drive from our home.
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My suggestion of breakfast was not that heartily accepted until Allie noticed a hidden message for her left by Ben on our white board in the kitchen:
She happily agreed to a meal of frosted mini wheats, banana, and string cheese while every now and then glancing over her shoulder to make sure the message was still intact. Zach dined alongside Allie and was really not sure what all the fuss was about and why in the world I would dare to shove a camera in his face at the unsightly time of 7:16 a.m. while he was minding his own business, attempting to fill his hungry belly. I was able to stretch breakfast time out by conversing with Allie about preschool. She told me she was most excited for the art projects and that she would miss Zach and I very much...so she would definitely give us hugs before leaving for her class. She showed absolutely no signs of nervousness or apprehension except that she was very concerned that I would let Zach play in her room with all her toys while she was gone. Thus, before we left, she made sure to close her bedroom door and left implicitly clear instructions to keep Zach out.

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Before leaving, she insisted on a photo shoot with her princess backpack, so I happily obliged: Once we arrived at preschool (yes, we were 20 minutes early), Allie hung up her backpack in her labeled cubby...




and then eagerly waited by her classroom for the teacher to open the door, signaling that class was in session.

Upon entering her class, she happily retrieved her name to show that she was in attendance
and very excitedly found her name tag


before making herself at home with the different toys stationed around the room.
I was anticipating a little bit of dramatic flare upon my leaving, but Allie simply waved to Zach and I from across the room as we exited and, that was that!
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When we arrived back at noon to pick her up she just looked at me very confused and inquired, "Why are you here, Mom?" When I told her it was time to go home she informed me that she could actually stay for lunch and the rest of the day. However, when I told her I was planning to take her out for lunch at Wendy's in celebration of her first day of preschool, she abandoned all notions of taking up permanent residence at her preschool and followed me out the door. However, on the way to the car, she proceeded to remind me that the last time we had a celebration we also went to play mini golf and ride the go karts. Hmm...not so subtle hint?

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Over our Wendy's lunch, I discovered that Allie's favorite part of preschool was the singing time, that they read a story about a mouse, that she really had a lot of fun coloring, that there were way too many kids grabbing at all the dress up clothes and they were taking them all away from her and no one would share, that she got to ride bikes outside, that she got to show the teacher how she can pump herself on the swings, and that they celebrate birthdays and she can't wait until it's her turn to wear the birthday crown. Oh...and she wants to go back...after her nap today.

And, call me a bad mom, but I didn't cry. Allie was just so happy and excited about today that I couldn't help but join in her enthusiasm. I know that she is growing up, that she will never be that same cuddly, little chubby cooing babe again with quadruple thigh roles and peach fuzz atop her smooth little head. And, even though I loved her then, when all she could do was poop, sqwauk, and sleep, I find that the more she grows and the more I learn about who she is, the more I love her and the more I'm excited to see who she will become.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thoughts on the Reality of Being a Mom

It has been brought to my attention that sometimes in my blogging I can focus a little too much on the embarrassing kid stories, huge temper tantrums, and more "challenging moments" that come along with being a mom to an almost 4 year old and an almost 2 year old. And even though there are plenty of joys to be had amidst the struggles, I can see how my not blogging about the joyful moments can leave many of you thinking that they must not exist...which is definitely not the case.
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It's just that I can really relate to and find encouragement from mom bloggers who are not afraid to tell their audiences that they spent almost 10 minutes in a public bathroom singing "Tinkle, tinkle, on the potty..." to coax pee out of their potty-training two and a half year old and now that the same two and a half year old is almost four, roles have reversed, and today as the mom sat on the potty in a public restroom, it is the four year old that began a rousing chorus of "Tinkle, tinkle, on the potty..." to help them get their pee out.
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Although I definitely think there is a place for bragging about each of your child's many perfections and cute behaviors, sometimes I just need to know that there is someone else out there who has had to respond to their almost four old when she instructs them that they did not discipline their almost 2 year old correctly when he threw a toy train at her head...and your almost four year old wants them to make sure that they tell your almost 2 year old that in addition to having his train taken away and sitting in a time out, that he needs to say "I'm sorry" right away.
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I guess I just have a fear of being one of those moms...you know the type...the ones that seem to have everything all put together and whose children look like they've come straight out of a Pottery Barn Kids magazine...the ones who insist that their child can do no wrong, are reading by the age of 3, and speak fluently in Spanish and English by age 5. And, even though I'm sure these moms have fantastic children, I just long for the reality of an account of their kids doing something normal...you know, like writing their name in crayon on their bedroom carpeting, insisting they had nothing to do with it, and then fabricating a miraculous tale of magic crayons that write all on their own.
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I don't know what it is, but I feel an instantaneous bond with the mom who is willing to relay to me about wrestling her screaming two year old in the middle of Target, trying desperately to bribe him with fruit snacks so that she can get her shopping done more so than the mom who proudly tells me that her 3 year old can already write her name completely unassisted. And, this phenomenon is not due to the fact that my kids are always misbehaved or cannot write their names. In fact, I'm daily blown away by what my kids are able to achieve and how at times they actually do behave like complete angels in public.
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However, there is something so raw and real about the mom who is willing to share with me her struggles, affirming to me that I'm not the only one who doesn't have all the answers, and that despite all of the embarrassing stories, temper tantrums, and challenging moments that they too love their children more and more with each passing day.
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Sure, I beam with joy inside when Allie instructs the bigger boys on the playground to be careful around her baby brother. And, when Zach does hurt himself (which is inevitable), I am thrilled to see that Allie is often the first one on the scene to offer a kind word and hug. I gush with pride when Zach, unprompted, shares his prized Cars toys with Allie. And, when he freely uses the words "please, thank you," and "your welcome" at the correct moments I couldn't be more pleased.
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Although I could fill this blog with post after post of all those seemingly perfect moments, it just wouldn't be real. Could I do better at sharing my joys? Yes. Most definitely. And, I will try to do that from now on. But, sometimes, as in this past week, my reality finds me quarantined inside our house, caring for overtired and sick kids while scrubbing puke off of the floors. Honestly, there is not much perfection or glory to brag of in that job at all. So, as this blog serves as a record of my reality as a mom, it would be an injustice to not include those more indecent moments. And, hopefully, along the way I can serve as an encouragement to other moms who just need to know that the reality of motherhood isn't always perfection.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Last Hurrah of Summer

Since it's been quite a long week, complete with cleaning up vomit more times than I wish to recollect (yes, we were all privileged enough to experience the 24-hour stomach bug here), I thought this type of post was in order. You know, a post in which all I have to do is type minimally and post a bunch of cute pictures of the kids. It requires much less effort than actually engaging my mind in an effort to record something witty, amusing, thoughtful, challenging or entertaining. Unfortunately, I realize that many of my posts fall into this "effortless" category lately, but let me just assure you, the patience I have acquired while waiting for Blogger to slowly but surely upload my photos has indeed been character-building and I'm sure more engaging posts are in my near future.
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So, on this Sunday evening as I breathe a sigh of relief that the kiddoes are finally tucked into their beds, I find myself sitting on the couch next to Ben, who is basking in the glow of the television tuned in to the first Sunday night football game of the season, where I bring to you our "Last Hurrah of Summer: The Minnesota State Fair." We forgot to take our camera to the Great Minnesota Get-Together (forgetting our camera seems to be our new habit) and therefore Ben became the self-proclaimed Blackberry photographer (even though there are absolutely no pictures of animals, rest assured we saw our "fair" share of them--see, lame attempt at wit--that is why I should just stick to the pictures when I'm having a brain-less evening such as this one).
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Anyway, we enjoyed a fantastic day at the fair, complete with all the greasy fair food one could possibly consume, and the kids are already looking forward to next year.









Friday, September 11, 2009

Chicago Trip

Actually, not quite Chicago, but:
We spent most of Labor Day weekend in Elgin, IL visiting my sister and brother-in-law. While Zach, Ben and I stayed in a nearby hotel, Allie slept in her princess blow-up bed in Aunt Stephanie and Uncle Chris' apartment. Both kids were happy about the sleeping arrangements. Allie-because she stayed all by herself as Zach wasn't old enough yet (actually, I recall my sister mentioning something about not wanting to change almost-2-year-old poopy diapers...I completely don't blame her there!). Zach-because he got to press all of the elevator buttons at the hotel without Allie running to get to them first:
Upon arriving in Elgin after our 7ish hour car trip from Minnesota, the kids were more than happy to visit Aunt Stephanie's preschool classroom. There were still some kids at the school, so Allie and Zach got to join them for the remainder of the days' activities. We were able to look around my sister's classroom (which is completely huge and awesome--nice work, Stephanie!) before heading out to grab pizza for dinner.
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We also got to see my sister and brother-in-law's apartment for the first time. We had fun looking through all the cupboards and closets, admiring all the new wedding gifts that have now been neatly organized and arranged throughout their very first home together.
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The next day, we decided on a train ride:


We had originally planned on riding the Metra all the way into Chicago to visit the zoo, but after a long car ride the previous day with no naps and not a good night's sleep, the kids looked like this:

And, so we thought a shorter train ride to Bartlett to have a picnic, visit a park, and go out for ice cream was a better idea.
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Before boarding our train, we were able to watch a few others whiz by:


And, then we were off to Bartlett:


The kids had a blast at the park:



The adults had fun too:

After a picnic lunch, we headed to the local ice cream shop that was also the site of a huge flea market/antique fair. We perused the fair and ended our trip with some tasty ice cream:


It took quite the effort to dish up that ice cream:


But, well worth it in the end:
After unfortunately missing the train in Bartlett that was headed back to Elgin, we located a nearby taxi. So, not only did the kids experience their very first train ride, but they also got to go on a taxi ride as well!
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That afternoon, the kids enjoyed swimming at the hotel pool with the guys while Stephanie and I did a little window shopping. We finished the day with Never-Ending-Pasta Bowls at Olive Garden. Yum!
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Sunday we had fun attending church with Stephanie and Chris before having lunch (made by Stephanie--it was tasty!) and heading home.
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The kids were so exhausted from the weekend's events that they fell asleep the moment we got on the freeway in Illinois and stayed asleep for over 2 hours. 2 movies later, a pit stop for bathroom breaks, gas, and dinner, we finally arrived home.
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We had a great weekend away. And, FYI, Stephanie...Allie is already planning her next trip!