Saturday, May 29, 2010

Another Ever So Exciting Weekly Recap

Well, it looks like I've officially abandoned the blog over this past week (again). It's just too hard to motivate myself to write when we are having so much fun doing other things.
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In addition to enjoying the glorious summer weather, we've loved having Ben home most of the week before he began his new job on Friday. We debated whether to plan a last minute trip out of town with his surprise time off, but decided instead to stick close to home (which was definitely the best choice and required a lot less preparation and a lot more sleeping in...well, at least until the kids woke us up at approximately 6:22 a.m. every morning despite our advisement that they should try and see how much fun sleeping in really is).
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Monday we spent the majority of our day shopping for a new work wardrobe for Ben. Thankfully, we did not have to take the kids along (although Allie thoroughly enjoys shopping of all kinds, Zach is a little less enthusiastic about any store and especially those stores that contain adult clothing). My mom kept the kids for the day and did an awesome job tiring them out completely by taking them swimming at their neighborhood pool in the 90-degree weather for over 4 hours. So, although we had to deal with a little crabby-ness upon our return, they did sleep the whole way home from my parents' house and went to bed early with no complaints! Plus, we were able to score some pretty good deals for Ben and he is now completely set in the business-casual summer work wardrobe department.
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Tuesday, while Allie was at preschool and Ben was attending a business lunch for his new employer, Zach and I stayed home and tackled the mound of laundry that was beginning to overtake our basement laundry area. After a much needed nap time in the early afternoon and upon Ben's return home, the kids had their first ever experience with the backyard slip 'n slide. Thankfully, they had a very enthusiastic teacher who was more than willing to model correct sliding technique (and, no, that teacher would not be the 18 week preggo).
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Wednesday we spent the majority of the day at the beach. Since it was going to be another 80 degree day and most of the outdoor pools were not yet open, I was thankful to recall going to a a small lake with my mom and the kids last summer that had a great, clean swimming beach complete with sand and shade umbrellas. We packed a picnic lunch and enjoyed the quiet (not many people were there at all) beach before heading over to visit my parents (and, well, sort of crashing there for dinner as well). Since we arrived a bit early for dinner, my mom and I took the opportunity to go and get ourselves pedicures. We took Allie along for her first ever spa experience and she loved it! Although she talked non-stop the entire time we were there, she was perfectly still for her nail and toe nail painting and left with purple sparkly hands and feet complete with hand painted flowers on her big toes.
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Let's see (I know I'm thrilling you to no end with my day-by-day recap of our ever-so-exciting week), Thursday was spent celebrating Allie's last day of preschool. And, since we actually took pictures at her little ceremony, I think I'll save that recap for another post.
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Friday marked the end of our little mini-vacation as Ben headed back to work. It was kind of odd to experience a Friday that felt like a Monday, but the kids and I managed to get a lot accomplished in the way of restocking the fridge and cupboards at the grocery store. I was even able to clean the majority of the house while the kids took an over-two-hour nap in the afternoon (obviously, Ben and I weren't the only ones tired out by the week's events) and still had time left over to watch the last half of the Dr. Oz show where I learned that popping a black head close to your nasal region can result in imminent death if some of the bacteria from said black head enters into your blood stream and travels straight to your brain. I guess I'll think twice the next time I spot one of those annoying buggers on my face....
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Anyway, it is now Saturday and after debating whether or not we should think of somewhere exciting to go with something cool to do (again, it is going to be hovering around the upper 80's today....which is pretty steamy for us Minnesotans...especially in May), we decided upon a day at home in the backyard. And, since I actually have taken pictures today of the kids, I'll save that exciting recap for another post as well.
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Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday's Thoughts

What a gorgeous week we are having! The kids and I have spent the majority of our free time hanging out in the backyard despite the horrendous headache that plagued me for 3 days straight. Thankfully, I woke up this morning to find that it had miraculously (and finally) disappeared. I'm not one to usually complain about the typical headache (because I used to get migraines a lot as a teenager...so I definitely know what a terrible headache is), but this one was pretty brutal.
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Unfortunately, all I could really take to help remedy the throbbing pain in my skull was Tylenol (which pretty much did absolutely nothing for me) so I was ultra thankful for the nice weather and ability to be outside so that the kids voices that seem to echo unbearably loudly between my ears while confined in our home were able to carry outside where the screaming, screeching, yelling, and hollering doesn't seem to grate on my nerves nearly as much. Plus, I was able to get a start on a mighty fine tan, if I do say so myself.
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Another great benefit of great weather: the grill. And, since I wasn't in that much of a mood to cook dinner this week at all (the whole throbbing headache did nothing for my motivation to carry out my normal daily duties), we grilled out every night this week. And, by we, I mean that Ben manned the grill and meat while I managed to concoct quick and easy side dishes with minimal to no effort.
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I've also been on plant watering duty this week as we managed to replace all (ok, so it was actually only 3) of the perennials that somehow did not manage to survive the Minnesota winter this year and our potted annuals that we planted last Saturday. Every year I always get myself all psyched up to pick out the flowers and put them in the ground. With each new spring I'm convinced that I will fall in love with gardening.
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But, then, after planting a mere 2 plants, I come to realize that no matter how much I want to love gardening, it is just not bound to happen for me...at least not just yet. Somewhere in between breaking up the rock hard dirt, mixing in fertilizer, informing the kids that they absolutely cannot eat the dirt, taking the plant out of its plastic container, breaking up the roots, reminding the kids that they really shouldn't be pushing each other down on the ground or hitting one another with sand toys, securing the plant in the soil, covering it with dirt, rescuing my 2 year old who can't seem to remember that the last time he hung from the monkey bar rings on the swing set by himself that he actually fell flat on his face where he split his lip open and was covered in blood, and watering the newly planted flower, I just sort of lose all enthusiasm for the task and just wish someone else would do it for me. That's usually when Ben swoops in and finishes the job and I vow that I will never EVER become a gardener...at least until the next Spring rolls around and I just know it will be the year I will fall in love with gardening at last.
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Anyway, speaking of Ben, we're awfully proud of him around here lately as he will be starting a new job! He is finishing up at his current place of employment tomorrow and plans to take most of next week off before beginning his new job on Friday. Although it has been a little sad for him to say goodbye to the coworkers he's gotten to know fairly well over the past 5 years, he is definitely excited for the fresh and new opportunity that is in front of him. I'm not sure the kids quite understand what is all going on with Daddy's work, but they definitely do understand that we will be having a long "weekend" next week and they are very excited about the prospect of lots of fun family time....and a day spent with Grandma so that Mommy and Daddy can get some much needed errands run without the kids in tow.
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I believe that covers all the random thoughts I'm having at the moment. Plus, it appears Zach is once again attempting to scale the monkey bar rings...I'm pretty sure he'll never learn....I better rescue him before more blood is spilt.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

May Fest

A little over a week ago, Allie had her end of the year celebration/party/fundraiser for her preschool (yes, I am indeed late at documenting this event as well). In addition to her class singing several songs for the parents, there was also a book fair, pizza party, bake sale, silent auction, blow-up jumping castles for the kids, and carnival games.
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Both kids had a blast with the food and games and Allie had her opportunity to shine in the spotlight while singing the songs she's been practicing since Christmas (How do I know it has been that long? Because I had every single song memorized due to the fact that I have heard them being sung daily for at least the past 5 months).

And, you know how when you go to those cute kids' musical programs and you can always pick out the kid with the loudest voice, providing you a good laugh because they are also the ones with the most grandiose hand movements who never fail to wave to their parents between every single song? I can now say that I am officially the proud mother of one of those children whose voice can be heard above all others.

See, don't we look ecstatic? (And, just in case you were wondering, Zach has a lady bug painted on his face. Nevermind that the face painting lady also offered to paint him a race car or a boat...you know, perhaps something a little more masculine. Nope, he emphatically insisted upon a lady bug).

At the end of the program, all the kids were presented with their end of the year gift: a plate that they had made a few weeks before. Allie was so proud of her personally designed plate.
In fact, I was also quite impressed by the detail of the picture she created...especially when I counted the people and realized she had included 5 in her depiction. Of course, I assumed the 5th member of the group was our new baby. Afterall, there was a picture of Daddy with one eyebrow (done on purpose because he is apparently making a certain weird winking/scowling type of face), a picture of Zach with no arms, a picture of Mommy complete with eyelashes, a picture of Allie standing right next to Mommy, and a cute little picture of our baby complete with a hat. I'm still uncertain as to why the boys were the only people to warrant hair growth on their heads, or why there are two sheep, a leaf, a tree, some birds, and two suns in our family portrait, but I was officially touched that she remembered to include our baby.
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So, imagine my surprise when I inquired about the baby and discoverd that it wasn't our baby at all. Nope. It is a baker. With a baker's hat. Because Mayfest has a bake sale and there had to be a baker present in our picture.
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Mother's Day

Do not be confused by the title of this post...you have not miraculously traveled back in time one week nor have you forgotten to check my blog for an entire week *gasp*.
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Yes, I am indeed a week late in posting about our Mother's Day festivities and am probably the only blogger left out there who refuses to just let the holiday recap slide this year for fear that in five years when I want to look back and see what we did to celebrate Mother's Day 2010 I absolutely do not want to see that it went uncelebrated...because, seriously, when have I ever let any holiday go uncelebrated?!
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I basically have no other excuse for my tardiness other than the weather. The crazy weather, you see, that decided to remain in the 40's whilst pouring down rain for the majority of the week (resulting in two very stir crazy kids and one extremely stir crazy mama who had little to no motivation to do anything other than wallow in the realization that March had made it's reappearance in mid May) and then decided to turn completely sunny and in the mid-upper 70's by Friday (resulting in our impromptu family trip to Como Zoo on Friday where the kids rode the choo-choo train no less than 5 times and where I got to witness an 80-year old woman back her car right into Ben's truck without her ever even realizing she had hit anything--don't worry, no damage was done). Anyway, obviously the gloomy weather does not supply me with any motivation or inspiration to record the events of our life and when the weather does get nice outside, I am definitely not in the mood to stay inside and blog about it (except for days like today when I finally realize that I better post about Mother's Day ASAP before Father's Day comes around...so I take my laptop outside with me while the kids run around the yard like hooligans to get the task done).
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Now, on to the topic at hand...Mother's Day was fantastic. While I indulged in a spa pedicure on Saturday, the kids and Ben picked out some candles and these beautiful flowers for me (that are still alive one week later):

I am pretty sure one of my favorite things about Mother's Day has become the cute little things the kids make for me. This year at preschool Allie made me a card (with a picture of her and me inside) and this flower pot, complete with a mum that she planted (unfortunately, the mum died 2 days later before it could be transplanted outside in our garden):

This year at ECFE, Zach immortalized his little hand prints in orange ink for me to treasure always:


We had a pretty low-key day on Mother's Day. We went out to breakfast at IHOP before church as a special treat and then after church we enjoyed the beautiful weather hanging out in the backyard before my parents came over for a grilled steak dinner. I loved being able to spend time with my family and also have the excuse to not do dishes or laundry for the day! In fact, I'm already trying to figure out how I can make the whole no dishes/no laundry thing a weekly affair. And if that doesn't work, I'll just begin my countdown to Mother's Day 2011 a little early.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Daddy's New Hat

When your dad is a civil engineer, he may have a boss that will order and give out new and potentially useless equipment....like for instance...

a neon-green baseball cap with built in lights.

And, since your civil engineer dad has no idea what to do with such a contraption, you will inherit a new toy that will bring hours of fun and entertainment absolutely free of charge.




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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

While Allie's Away...

When you are used to everyday life with two kids, all of a sudden life with one kid seems very different...much quieter, a little easier, and I'd even venture to say a bit more boring.
I'm wondering if I'll feel similar next year at this time when I'm hopefully into the groove of things with three kids. I think so or at least I anticipate so. But, I guess only time will truly tell.
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Anyway, Allie spent last night at Grandma's while my dad was away on a business trip, so it was just Zach and I holding down the fort. Ben had a late night at work, so for the majority of the afternoon and evening I was accompanied solely by my lone 2 year old. Which, honestly, was quite a lot of fun. Although Zach never seems too jealous of the attention an older sibling undoubtedly requires, I do think he relishes the times that he has the chance to become the center of the universe. He never quite demands it, but seriously, who doesn't like an opportunity every once and a while to be the center of attention?
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We definitely had a fun time together at the grocery store, him eating free chocolate cupcakes from the bakery and I directing his help toward loading the cart full of our weekly necessities. He was happy as a clam to hold the door open for me upon our arrival home when I was unloading all the grocery bags from the van into the kitchen. We also went out for dinner together and I enjoyed the time together with just my boy (who relished plenty of hugs and kisses on me in between bites of mac and cheese). We've gotten to read plenty of books together, play choo-choos and Cars, and have lots of our own uninterrupted conversations.
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But, amidst all our fun, there is still that nagging feeling of missing something. While Zach is definitely lamenting the temporary loss of his built in best friend and playmate (he even displayed quite the frowny face at breakfast this morning upon realizing that Allie was still gone), I am missing all the drama and fun that makes up our Allie. For instance: there just isn't as much laughter in the house when she isn't here, I don't have nearly as many questions to answer, we don't seem to sing as much, there isn't as much dancing, I have no one else's hair to fix, and there's only half as many hugs and kisses. Sure, I haven't had to play referee over the past 24 hours and there has only been half as many time outs, and although I've definitely enjoyed the temporary break from that part of motherhood, I'm still excited to have Allie back home.
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As much as I enjoy having our whole family all together, I really have fun spending one on one time with each of my kids and am realizing I need to make an effort to do so more often (and, date nights with just Ben aren't too shabby either!). So, although I am sure we will miss Zach just as much next week when it is his turn to spend the night at Grandma and Grandpa's, I'm already excited for some fun girl time with just Allie.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pretty, Pretty Princess

A rousing family game night of Pretty, Pretty Princess is always fun.

Getting the crown, though, is always the most exciting part.

And, yes, it always seems that Allie wins.



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Monday, May 3, 2010

Vehicle Day

This past weekend we participated in our second "Vehicle Day" sponsored by
Zach's ECFE program. We got there early (which was a very good thing because it became quickly crowded!) so we were able to see and sit in most of the vehicles before the lines got too long. It was a very windy day, but the kids managed to have a good time despite being almost blown away on a few occasions.
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Some of the biggest hits were the motorcycle and the race car:




Another favorite of Zach's was the garbage truck. One of his favorite books right now is "I STINK!" which is about a garbage truck. He was thrilled to be able to sit in the truck and be able to see how the compacter works.

The police car and city bus were also big hits with both kids as were the "Chip Mack" (otherwise known as the Frito-Lay transport truck affectionately named "Chip Mack" for it's likeness to Mack from Cars and the fact that there were pictures of chips on the trailer) that handed out free Cheetos and the Scholastic truck that handed out a whole bag of free loot.

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After our fun morning perusing all the vehicles, we headed to Home Depot to pick up softener salt and were pleasantly surprised that the kid workshop was still taking place. We thought for sure we'd be there too late, so both kids were elated to learn that they would still be able to make a project. Although this week's project was a planter in the shape of a wooden chair, Zach continues to insist that he made a "potty" because the pot of the planter is located beneath the
sea at of the chair. And, honestly, it does look more like a doll-sized potty than a planter.

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So, that pretty much wraps up the excitement of our weekend. Unless you count the fact that we grilled steaks on Saturday night for dinner, but the propane to the gas grill ran out so Ben actually cooked the remainder of the steaks on the stove...without my help...and we were all actually able to eat the final product. Or, the fact that we stayed up late (and by late, I mean past 10:15 p.m.) on Saturday night to watch "Sherlock Holmes," but I still can't tell you for the life of me what the movie was about or if it was even good because I fell asleep approximately an hour into it (and, yes, that would put my bed time at approximately 9:00 p.m.). See...definite excitement here...aren't you jealous?

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tea Party

One of Allie's favorite book series is the Fancy Nancy collection. She has always been enamored by Nancy's uncanny ability to accessorize even the most mundane of daily activities. For the past week Allie has been begging to throw a tea party "Fancy Nancy" style. In fact, Allie is even the proud owner of one particular Fancy Nancy book that outlines specific instructions for throwing a proper tea party.
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So, last Tuesday after dinner Allie and I sat down and made a list of all the things we would need to throw the tea party. We headed to Michael's to pick up the necessary supplies and spent over 3 hours on Wednesday morning creating the place mats, flatware, cups, plates (complete with doilies!), and centerpiece needed for an authentic Fancy Nancy tea party. Zach even got in on some of the action...that is, until he lost interest and went to play with his Thomas train set instead.

After lots of hot glue, craft glue, decorative paper, and literally hundreds of shiny gems in the shape of everything from dolphins to hearts, we completed the place settings for our party. That evening, after dinner, Allie helped me put together our appetizers: string cheese bites, personal gorp cups, grapes, donut bites, and vanilla wafers topped with cool whip and strawberries. And, since EVERYTHING tastes better when pierced with a frilly toothpick, we made sure that most of the food items were toothpick piercable. Because tea is not one of Allie's favorites, we opted for raspberry lemonade as our choice beverage (plus, raspberry lemonade is pink...which is really all that Allie was concerned about).

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Allie loved playing hostess at the party and even made sure to serve each one of her guests before herself.

She also followed Fancy Nancy's advice regarding appropriate etiquette when necessary and managed to finish the entire party with not one morsel of food on her face.

The same could not be said for all of the guests in attendance.


It was a fun evening and Allie is already in the planning stages of our next family tea party. (Thankfully, all gem-encrusted items were saved to ensure a shorter preparation the next time around.)


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