Thursday, March 18, 2010

Random Thoughts for Today

I love Spring. I am fully aware of the fact that we live in Minnesota and our 60 degree days in March are numbered, but any day that I can spend over three hours outside in a t-shirt and jeans watching the kids run around the back yard until their legs don't function anymore and they have to move on to more peaceful activities such as decorating the entirety of our cement porch with pastel-colored chalk, is a great day in my book.
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Ben decided to work from home part of the day today in an effort to also spend some time painting the downstairs bedroom. Since painting a room is far more effective minus two kids, I'm corralling the troops in our back yard while I work on my Minnesotan March tan (which basically consists of a bleak attempt to rid the pasty white pigment from my forearms, neck, and face).
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Do you know what happened to me last night? It really shouldn't come as a big surprise to me, seeing as every single time we go into a restaurant together as a family the child that chooses to sit next to me ends up being either the most poorly behaved or completely accident prone, but I was still caught off guard by the whole ordeal. I mean, really, is there any way to recover from having an entire cup of chocolate milk dumped all over you in the middle of a restaurant, leaving your clothes a brown soggy mess and the ends of your hair sticky with remnants of chocolate milk goo that you were unable to adequately clean with the two measly napkins allotted to your table? In her defense, it was an accident and Allie was completely mortified by the fact that it even occurred. But, still. Yuck. Oh...and I neglected to mention that not a single drop of the spilled chocolate milk landed on Allie. All of it. On me.
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So, Zach just ran up to me and his entire face, arms, and shirt are completely covered in dirt. It seems he has taken to going down the slide, head first, and is landing face first in the mud pit that has become the end of our slide. Let's just say I'll never have to wander again what my two year old will look like all grown up with a five o'clock shadow. There he goes again...face planting in the mud and laughing hysterically. And, he just convinced Allie to take a shot at it too. I foresee baths in the near future.
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So...to make this post even more random...I'm in a total food rut. I just can't come up with any new ideas for dinner lately. There's a pound of ground beef defrosting in the fridge and that is about as far as I've gotten today. Anyone have any tips for finding new and healthy recipes? Our family isn't too adventurous, preferring mostly home cooking (as opposed to gourmet cooking where I can't identify half of the ingredients in the recipe let alone find them in the grocery store), and is not into anything fish or seafood related. I also usually like to stick with recipes that include nutritional information as well so that I can keep myself in check. Anyone have any ideas? I'm definitely getting desperate here.
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Anyway, it looks like the mud sliding has temporarily come to an end and I'm thinking it would be a good idea to start solving this dinner dilemma before the kids get too hungry (or before I decide it would be a good idea to consume peanut butter alone for dinner). If you made it to the end of this post, I commend you. Bravo for your attempt to follow my meandering and seemingly unrelated thought process. Until next time....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hooray for Spring!

I have hardly been bothered by the fact that it has been rainy and gloomy here today because for the past two days we have been enjoying unseasonably warm and beautiful weather. Sixty degrees and sunny is always happily welcomed in the middle of March in Minnesota!
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Yesterday, after running a few morning errands, the kids hopped on their bikes... and we headed up the street to our neighborhood park. It is always fun to see how much the kids have grown over the long winter months and that growth was clearly evidenced yesterday by their ability to easily maneuver around all the park equipment. Allie was all monkey, climbing and swinging on everything without fear.
Last year, we were still following Zach around most of the equipment because he was still a little wobbly and we were fearful of him falling off. Not so yesterday. He was able to climb up and down with complete ease and always ran for the same slide over and over again.

Allie and Zach also discovered the joys of venturing down the slide together.We spent well over an hour at the park where both kids sufficiently tired themselves out and needless to say, we all enjoyed uncharacteristically long naps. Here's hoping for more beautiful Spring days in the near future!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

First Day of Spring?!

After over a week's worth of gloom and rain, I was pretty much expecting to wake up this morning to more of the same. So, imagine my surprise upon leaving for church when the kids started screaming emphatically, "SUN! SUN!" Lo and behold, there was indeed sun.
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Apparently my kids weren't the only kids excited about the early arrival of Spring (which doesn't officially make its appearance on the calendar until next weekend). Pretty much all the third graders in the Sunday School class I help out in were nothing short of squirrely. I think everyone, myself included, was anticipating time spent outside soaking up the sun and warm air. In fact, the first thing out of Zach's mouth when I picked him up from his Sunday School class was, "Bike ride, NOW!"
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So, we hurried home (by the way, our van's nifty thermometer reported a balmy 62 degrees...yes, folks...SIXTY TWO DEGREES...in Minnesota...in March!), scarfed down lunch, and headed outside as quickly as possible. After finally taking down the outside Christmas lights and packing them away, we got our bikes and the Burley ready for our inaugural bike ride of 2010.
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Although some of the bike trails were still pretty slushy, thereby forcing us to take the longer route alongside the city streets, we still made it to our favorite park destination where we let the kids run around like hooligans for over an hour while Ben and I sat enjoying the warmth of the sun while discussing how out of shape our bike riding muscles have become after a 6-7 month hiatus.
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After the kids were sufficiently tired out, we enjoyed a quick snack before reluctantly (remember that discussion about our bike riding muscles...) jumped back on our bikes and headed home where we decided pizza for dinner sounded oh so much better than our planned leftover buffet. So, we all hopped in the van and headed to our favorite pizza spot to finish off our fantastic Spring day.
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Due to the fact that the kids were outside for the majority of the day, they were so tired that they hardly even noticed the time change. They were in bed and sound asleep by 8:15 (which should really have felt like 7:15 to them!). I believe Ben and I will be following suit rather shortly. It looks as if tomorrow is supposed to be just as nice...so I have to get a good night's sleep if I'm going to keep up with the kids tomorrow--Grocery store and park, here we come!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Out of the Mouth of Babes...

I'm starting to become convinced that God gave kids the ability to express their own thoughts and observations about the world so that when life gets hectic, stressful, mundane, or downright disgusting (yes...I did indeed clean up more poopy underwear today), their parents have something to laugh about. I can think of quite a few times when the only thing that got me through the day without a full mental breakdown was a funny comment or strange question posed by one of my kids. I also cannot tell you how many nights Ben and I have spent laying in bed before falling asleep, recalling all the hilarious conversations we had with the kids throughout the day, and subsequently laughing until our bellies ache and we are doubled over in tears.
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So, on days that I'm utterly exhausted and am convinced that cleaning up one more poopy pair of underwear will land me in the insane asylum, I'm thankful for all the little things the kids say that make me chuckle.
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Such as...
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Allie pondering the intricate details of life by inquiring whether or not Zach had toys to play with when he was a baby inside my belly. I'm glad that she doesn't just take my simple "no" for an answer and proceeds to express concern over the fact that if all he did was lay around in there, he probably got really bored and definitely could have hurt his head...especially if he was upside down all the time.
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Zach screaming "A-WEE! GET OUTTA MY WOOM!" because I think it is hilarious that he still can't enunciate an "L" and so substitutes all "L's" with the letter "W" instead.
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Basically, all of Zach's little word slip ups: babana for banana, camanope for cantaloupe, compooder for computer, Poke Office for Post Office.
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Zach calling me "MOMMY GRACE" when he wants me to listen to him NOW. Apparently, he is convinced that everyone's middle name is Grace (and not just Allie's).
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When expressing how tired I am, Allie responding, "Well, Mom, why didn't you take a nap? You wouldn't be tired if you had taken a nap."
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After asking Zach if he had any potty accidents, his response: "Yes, I had an accident on the potty."
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I'm sure there are more, but those are the moments keeping me going (and laughing) today. Anyone else with funny kid comments that help to keep their sanity?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Basically, a Little Bit of Everything...from Thomas to My New Gigantic Purse

As the kids and I are sitting here watching a Thomas the Tank Engine movie (after a very full and busy Sunday, leaving mom completely exhausted with absolutely no energy to negotiate whose turn it is to play with the rocket ship ride on car) while Ben is out in the garage cutting some wood trim for the basement bedroom that he began putting the finishing touches on this weekend, I figured it was about time I updated the ole' blog.

The truth is, my life seems a bit uninspiring lately, leaving me little in the way of blogging material. Although I know you all love to hear about all the ins and outs of Zach's waste expulsion in intricate detail, I am simply tired of thinking about it. But, just to keep you all in the loop, I can provide a brief update.

Basically, Zach has excellent control of his urine (in fact, he has woken up two mornings in a row completely dry and proceeded to use the potty right away!), but seems to have little to no control over when Number Two shows up. Suffice it to say, it always seems to come at the most inopportune moments (ie-during his Sunday School class this morning) and I feel like I have cleaned up more poop in the past two weeks than I have in my entire life as a mom (granted, it has only been 4.5 years, but trust me, it has been a lot of poop).

Because of this new little problem, it has become necessary for me to carry around the diaper bag everywhere we go (complete with tons of wipes, plastic bags, a few changes of clothes, and of course the jelly beans). However, due to the recent loss of my mind exemplified by my uncanny ability to forget the diaper bag every time I leave the house (or if I do indeed remember to grab it, I almost always leave it in the van when we arrive at our destination), I decided the best solution for me would be a bigger purse....that way, I could stuff everything I needed into one bag instead of two.

Fortunately, I found the perfect solution at Kohl's on clearance for $11! Score! I can honestly say it is the largest purse I have ever owned. Actually, I'm not even sure you could call it a purse. It definitely fits more in the category of large bag. In fact, sometimes when I'm carrying it over my right shoulder, I definitely feel the joint getting a little sore and then I start to feel a bit self conscious when I realize that I officially own a bag that is large enough to tote around a small to mid size dog.

And, the purse purchase was literally the most exciting thing to happen this week. Unless you count the fact that Zach voluntarily used the toilet twice at the indoor playground we visited Friday. But, I would definitely not mention that because I'm trying to focus on events not containing bodily fluids.

So....I think the warmer weather has definitely given me a case of spring fever. However, this year the seasonal disease has manifested itself in my insatiable urge to clean up and organize the house. In fact, the trash can is literally overflowing due to our home office purge. In addition to throwing out tons of unnecessary papers, unfinished craft projects, floppy disks, and outdated CDs, we also went through a bazillion books and took a huge box to Half Price Books (where we scored a whoppin' 12 bucks!). I also had this weird compulsion to clean all the woodwork in our kitchen, but am still annoyed because I can't quite get it as clean as I think it should be (yet, for some reason it didn't even occur to me that it was in need of cleaning a mere two months ago). Lastly, I felt that a massive reorganization of the storage area in our basement was absolutely necessary and proceeded to do so on Saturday afternoon.

Next up on the list: clean all the blinds, sort through the kids' closets and toys, reorganize the kitchen cupboards. I'm actually fairly certain none of this will get done this week. My motivation sort of comes in spurts and if I feel anything like I do tonight (ummm...completely exhausted) for the remainder of this week, I can guarantee not much organization will get done. Oh well.

Well, I think I have definitely bored you all long enough. Plus, I have a little boy calling "PEE" and I'm thinking I should follow him into the bathroom to make sure it gets in the right place.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Yay for March!

It's March already! How is that possible?! I am fully aware of the fact that January drug on and on forever, but it hardly seems possible that February flew by in the blink of an eye. I read a Facebook status this week that said something to the effect that we are blessed to live in Minnesota because we can truly appreciate March. I couldn't agree more--after a seemingly endless winter, the sun shining, the snow finally melting, and 40 degrees making its first appearance in months, it finally feels as if there is a light at the end of the wintry tunnel.
I know we aren't officially in the clear yet, and it is entirely possible that I will be blogging about a 10-inch snowfall next week at this very same moment, but for now I prefer to bask in the sunlight streaming in through our windows (that I have suddenly noticed need a major spring cleaning) and realization that the official first day of Spring is a mere 18 days away.

In other news, things are going swimmingly on the potty training front. Zach is still having the occasional accident here and there, but I think it would be safe to say that he is officially potty trained (despite the fact that it still takes him over 45 minutes to produce Number 2 on the toilet...he is doing it on the toilet, as opposed to in his pants). He also made it through his first morning at Sunday School in underwear and the teacher reported to me that he actually went on the potty as well! He has been awarded all of his prizes by filling up his entire Potty Chart with stickers and although he is a little disappointed by the fact that there are not any more prizes or stickers to be had, he is still willing to partake in the whole toilet experience for a jelly bean. So, it appears we will be handing out jelly beans for quite some time.

I feel like it has been a while since I've reported anything about Allie. But, things with her have been pretty uneventful. She's had a sudden interest in learning her ABC's again, so we've been reading lots of letter books and answering lots of questions about letters and sounds. She's also been adament about practicing her lower case e's so that she can write her name as well as the teacher does at school. It is not uncommon for me to come across a piece of paper she is coloring on that literally has hundreds of e's written all over it.
And, in typical Allie fashion, she never misses an opportunity to convince us of her true princess identity.

It goes without saying that when you have an imaginative older sister who loves all things pink (especially things you can wear), it is only a matter of time before you succumb to her desperate pleas to dress you up as well. And, since you are a pretty easy going guy, completely secure in your masculinity, it doesn't even phase you in the least to be sportin' a pink floral robe with Lightning McQueen whitie tighties while jumping on Allie's bed even after your mom has told you literally a thousand and one times that we do not jump on beds.(shameful disclaimer...to say that I am excited to one day reveal these photos to Zach's future wife would be a HUGE understatement!)