Monday, December 22, 2008

Preschool Program

Ok, I said last week that I'd post about Zach's Christmas program at preschool, and I never did.  I've been kind of lazy about it because I didn't really get any good pictures, and I don't think I'll be able to post any video, so it kind of takes the fun out of it.  The program was really cute.  It was 2 or 3 classes of 3 year-olds (I think they were all 3, but now I'm not sure) singing probably 6 songs.  Of course I realized a couple of days ago that I didn't save a program.  What kind of a mother am I?  Oh well.  Zach was right in the front row and did a super job with the hand movements and singing most of the words.  There was one nerve-wracking moment where Zach reached down, pulled out the waistband of his pants, and started to put his hands down his pants.  I thought, "Oh my gosh, he's in the FRONT ROW, and he's going to stuff his hands all the way down his pants!"  Thankfully, he just attempted to tuck his sweater in.  I have no idea why he suddenly thought his sweater needed tucking in, but I didn't care.  I was just thankful he wasn't doing something totally inappropriate and embarrassing.  Mike and I could not stop laughing at that, which wasn't a good thing, since we were both videotaping.  We're not totally obsessed; Mike was taping with his parents' camera, and I was taping with ours.  Unfortunately, I don't think I can download a clip from either of those onto my computer, hence no video clip on here.

Here are a couple of pictures from Zach's program.  He's in the front row, bottom right-hand corner, with the navy and white striped sweater.  This far-away shot was about as close as I could zoom, which further convinced Mike that we need a better camera.  

Here's Zach enjoying a little treat after his program.

And here is Zach making a necklace.  My sisters and I used to make a lot of bead jewelry, so I thought they would be proud that my son is already following in our footsteps.  He was so excited when I realized I had these beads, and he started listing who he was going to make necklaces for.  I told him to take it one necklace at a time, and then I asked whose he was making first.  "Mine, because I love me.  Don't you?" he said.  "Don't I love you?" I said as I laughed.  "Yeah, don't you love me?" he said.  "I sure do, Zach."  It cracked me up.  At least he doesn't have any self-loathing, right?

Other than that, nothing much has gone on here.  We pretty much tried to stay inside this weekend because it has been so very cold here.  Mike and I were supposed to go to my college friend Katrina's wedding on Saturday, but sadly, the weather prevented us from going.  The wedding was a couple of hours away, and there was snow and lots of wind and icy roads.  The DOT website said that conditions were hazardous and that the road could not be distinguished from its surroundings, so no wedding for us.  I was very bummed, as I really wanted to go to celebrate with Katrina and Steve and I wanted to hang out with my college girlfriends and their husbands.  

Now we're busy with trying to get ready for Christmas.  Lots to do, and not lots of time!  I am dreading the plane ride to Colorado because we take off after Drew's bedtime, but whatever.  I'm doing my best to not get super stressed about it.  I'm not doing a very good job, but at least I'm trying, right?  I'm dealing with the stress by eating all the meringues I made this weekend.  I'll take any excuse I can find to eat cookies.  But every time I take a new cookie, I tell myself that meringues are very low in fat, so what's the harm?  And in case you're wondering, I don't count calories.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Borning Cry

A totally random conversation had while eating snack 2 mornings ago:

Zach- "Mom, were you there to hear Drew's borning cry?"
Me- "Yeah, Zach, I was."
Zach- "Was I there to hear Drew's borning cry?"
Me- "Uh, no, you were at the library.  But you came to meet him soon after that."
Zach- "So I was there to hear his borning cry?"
Me- "Sure."

This probably means nothing to you unless you are familiar with the song I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry, a song that always makes my mom cry.  Zach has heard the song a few times, and I used to sing it to him when he was a baby, but I don't know where his question came from on this particular morning.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Is it Christmas Yet?!

Nine days until Christmas, and I keep singing this line from a Blues Traveler song over and over in my head:
There comes a time for Christmas, and I really have to ask
If this is feeling better, how much longer must it last?

It's not that I'm totally not in the holiday spirit, but it just feels like there is so much to do, and I'm staying up late every night trying to get it all done, and I'm just tired.  I finally got all of my shopping done last Thursday, and let me tell you, it's not easy to find stocking stuffers for a 9 month-old.  If Zach weren't around, I probably wouldn't even do a stocking for Drew, but I think Zach would wonder why Santa didn't bring Drew a stocking if I didn't do one.  I ended up getting him clothes and a few books, because those will fill the stocking easily.  Shopping for Zach was hard on an entirely different level- I could think of about a million things he'd love, and I had to really use some restraint to not spend a ton of money on him.  Even still, as I was up late wrapping presents the other night so I could ship them to my parents' house and have them there in time for Christmas, I felt like I kept finding things I had bought weeks or months ago for Zach, and I'd go, "Oh, yeah.  I forgot about this."  Oh well.  Mostly I have a whole bunch of books for him, so I'm not going to feel too guilty about buying him all those.  Books are educational, right?

This past weekend was a busy one!  In addition to finishing my Christmas shopping and wrapping all the presents, I also did a ton of baking and hosted a Tastefully Simple party.  About 7 years or so ago my sisters and I started getting together for a big holiday cookie baking weekend, but the past 2 years it just hasn't worked out for us to get together.  So this year, I told Mike that I wanted Saturday to be my day, and he was in charge of the boys.  I made 2 kinds of bars on Thursday night and a double batch of sugar cookie dough on Friday night.  Saturday after breakfast, I got started on the sugar cookies, rolling, cutting, and baking.  Zach helped some, which was better than I anticipated it being.  We had a few stressful moments in there, and I had to explain to him that Mommy likes her cookies perfect (which probably didn't matter, because I think perfect in my mind and perfect in Zach's mind are 2 completely different things), but overall it was ok.  

Here's my little chef in action.

After the sugar cookies were baked, Mike and the boys left the house for a while and I made a double batch of spritz, but not until I had gone to the store for more flour, because the bag of what I thought was flour in my cabinet was actually sugar.  Ugh.  Here are the spritz.

And here's Zach smelling the spritz while covering his mouth so as not to sneeze of cough on them.  That was his idea, not mine, but I appreciated it!

After the spritz, I made a double batch of pizzelles, and once Zach was up from his nap he was more than happy to help apply the powdered sugar.  

We then had our neighbors over for dinner, and after the boys were in bed I wrangled Mike into helping me make cornflake wreaths and frost sugar cookies.  

And just like that, after 14 hours straight, all the holiday baking was complete.  Whew!  It was a good thing that we got it all done that night, because Sunday morning was busy with getting everything cleaned up and put away so that I could host a Tastefully Simple party that afternoon.  Then Sunday night things still didn't slow down, and I was up until almost midnight doing the presents, as I mentioned earlier.  

I don't know why this feels like the busiest holiday season ever.  Maybe it's the addition of Drew or something.  Yesterday was my birthday, and I was thinking about my own mom and wondering how she felt 31 years ago, when it was just a couple of weeks before Christmas, and she was 40 weeks pregnant with her third child, and trying to get all the Christmas shopping and preparation done for my sisters, who were 6 and 2 and a half at the time.  No offense to my dad or anything, but I'm guessing the majority of the shopping and everything fell on my mom's shoulders, as it seems to with most families.  I thought about the stress I feel right now and then thought it's probably not so bad compared to what she was feeling.  I used to think my birthday was stressful in college because I'd have finals.  Funny how your idea of stress evolves as your life evolves.  

Let's see, I've been thinking about this post for days now, and I had other things I wanted to write, but now I'm struggling to remember them.  I think I remember a couple, so here come some random stories.

Oh!  Big news- Drew is getting his first tooth!  It started poking through on Sunday, and it's just barely poking through.  It's his bottom left tooth.  I can't wait to see it more!  I looked at Zach's calendar and found that he got his first tooth at 9 and 3/4 months, so Drew is only about a week or two ahead of Zach on that.  Also, Drew is playing peek-a-boo now.  He started a couple of days ago.  He does it with his bib while I'm feeding him- he pulls his bib up over his head and then I say, "Where's Drew?" and he just giggles and gets all excited.  After a little wait, he pulls the bib down and I say, "Peek-a-boo!" and he just gets cracked up.  Also, tonight it seemed like he was waving.  I was taking him upstairs for his bath and bed, and Mike said, "Good night, Drew," and Drew started waving his hand up and down.  He did that 3 or 4 times in a row after Mike and Zach said good night or goodbye.  I don't know if it's intentional or a coincidence, but it's cute!

Zach, Drew, the dogs, and I were delivering cookies to some friends yesterday and we were listening to God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, a song which Zach and I love (the Barenaked Ladies w/ Sarah Maclachlan version) and which Zach knows lots of words to.  After the line Born in Bethlehem, the son of God by Name, I heard Zach say to Maggie, "You know who they're talking about, Maggie?  It's Jesus!  Because Christmas is when we celebrate baby Jesus being born!"  It was sweet how excited it was about it.

Sunday night Zach and I were playing Old Maid for the first time.  I had explained to him how you don't want to have the Old Maid in your hand at the end.  So we're playing, and he goes to pick my last card, which is a match for his last card, but he has the Old Maid in his hand.  So before he picks my card, he sets the Old Maid down on the ground.  It didn't take me long to figure out that he put the Old Maid down so that she wouldn't be in his hand at the end.  I got all cracked up that he thought to do that.  Such a simple solution for when you don't want to lose! :-)

Tomorrow is Zach's preschool Christmas program, and I can't wait.  He keeps mentioning little things about the song his class is singing.  So far I've figured out that their song is about baby Jesus, and what to give him as a gift.  Every time I ask Zach what he should give Him, Zach says, "A bottle."  But then he says, "But we don't have much money."  Eventually he tells me that we should give Him our heart.  I'm anxious to see if Zach or any of the kids actually sing at the program.  Should be fun!  I'll be sure to post some pictures and maybe even a video if I can figure out how.  

Last night Zach and Drew were playing together, and it was so cute.  Zach would roll the basketball down the hallway, and they would both crawl after it.  Then Zach would roll it back the other way, and they'd crawl again.  It was cute to see them playing together.

Now I must go to bed, because  the last few late nights have worn me out!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

9 Month Check-Up

Drew had his 9 month well-baby visit today.  Sadly, he's not all that well.  I mean developmentally he's fine, but that poor kid has the worst cold, and his nose is just getting raw from all the kleenex wiping I have to do.  He also has an ear infection, so now he's on the lovely pink Amoxicillan.  Today our pediatrician, Dr. Adam Secory, was a guy Mike and I went to Wartburg with, so that was neat.  Dr. Secory/Adam (normally I don't call the doctor by his/her first name, but since we're friends with Adam, I think it's ok) did a great job with Drew, but Drew didn't do so great with Adam.  He wasn't terrible, but I thought it was pretty clear that Drew wasn't feeling that great and wasn't happy to be there being poked and prodded.  He didn't appreciate Adam looking in his ears at all, which hasn't been an issue in the past.  He also really did not appreciate when the doctor had to do a little extra manipulation, if you will, on Drew's circumcision site.  We've been a little concerned that we might have to have his circumcision redone, but it seems that with a little extra separating of the skin on a daily basis and some Vaseline, we should be able to avoid it.  And all the men reading this just took a collective sigh of relief, after they cringed, right?  Anyway, after Adam did that with Drew, Drew really wasn't happy, and the ear-looking came after that.  Then the poor kid had to get 2 shots, but he handled them well.  Hopefully the Amoxicillan will help his ears and maybe his cold will take a turn for the better soon, too.  

Here are Drew's stats:
-28.5 inches long (56th percentile), which is one half inch longer than Zach was at 9 months.
-20 pounds even (40th percentile), which is 1 lb. 10 oz. heavier than Zach was at 9 months.
-Head circumference is 46.5 cm (80th percentile), which is 1 cm larger than Zach's at 9 months.

So, Drew is still keeping up in being bigger than Zach was.  Before the appointment started they had filling out a  developmental checklist with Drew, where I had to see if he could do certain things.  It was pretty interesting.  For the most part he scored right where he should be.  There were a couple of categories that were on the low side, but it was actually a 10 month checklist (that's just what they have), so since it was his 9 month appointment, Adam said not to be worried.  I also found out that Drew can pretty much eat what we're eating, with a few exceptions (things that are high-allergy foods, like strawberries, egg whites, etc.).  So tonight Drew tried peas and he liked them.  That surprised me because he didn't like pureed peas when we tried them months ago.  I think he just likes being able to feed himself.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Milestones

We have achieved some new milestones here.  First, Drew is now eating some table foods.  Previously I had given him little Gerber Puffs, but I don't really count those as table food because nobody else eats them (unless Zach gets really lucky and I let him have a couple).  As of tonight, Drew has now had Cheerios, pears (the canned kind since they're so soft), mandarin oranges, semi-mashed up black beans, and cottage cheese.  So far he has liked everything he's tried.  The only problem is that some of that stuff is really hard for him to pick up.  I cannot remember what table foods Zach first tried, so I wonder if I'm anywhere close to the same things.  I think it's ok for him to have beans and cottage cheese, but I don't remember.  We go to the doctor tomorrow for his 9 mo. check-up, so I guess I will ask what else we can try.  Poor Drew has such a bad cold- he was sneezing all day today and every time snot would just shoot out of his nose.  His little nose looked pretty red when he went to bed.

The other milestone here is that Zach can now write his whole name.  For a while he was able to write the A and the H, but the Z and the C were a little tricky.  But lately he's been getting closer to getting the Z and C down.  He may not write them exactly correctly (for example, you're supposed to start at the top, and with the C, Zach starts at the bottom and goes up), but that's ok.  That'll come later.  Yesterday Zach made a card for Aunt Katherine and wrote HCA on one side of the paper and a Z on the front, but tonight was the first time I saw him write his name in sequence, 100% by himself.  A year ago at this time he quit wearing diapers and moved to a big boy bed, so I guess December is a milestone kind of month for him.

After Zach got up from his nap today, he said to me, "Mom, did you get to take a nap?"  I told him that I didn't get a chance.  He then said, "Well, if you want to take a little nap right now, you can.  It's ok with me."  I said, "Thanks, honey," and kind of brushed it off, but Zach was persistent.  He said, "Really, Mom.  You can go to sleep if you want to.  It's ok."  I said, "Would you take care of Drew for me?"  And Zach said, "Yeah, I would...sort of."  I said, "Sort of?  What would you NOT do?"  He said, "Change his diaper.  I would not do that."  That kind of made me laugh, because I thought he'd say something that he thought I would expect him to say, like, "I will not push him or hit him," or something like that.  

Finally, here are just a couple of random photos.

This is the finished Christmas tree.  I definitely don't love the shape of it, but Zach is so proud.  He keeps saying, "Isn't the tree I picked out a big hit?  I knew it would be a hit!"  Yesterday Zach and I decorated it, after I finally got the lights on the way I wanted.  Drew is somewhat interested in the tree, but hasn't been too bad about it.

Here's the gingerbread house that Zach and I made.  He also worked on it with Mike and Grandma Cynthia.  These are not great pictures.  The gingerbread house turned out pretty well.  It was a little difficult for me at times to give up control and let Zach make things asymmetrical.  Whenever I am building, I like symmetry.  This house does not have it, for the most part.  And Zach didn't care if his gingerbread people had one red eye and one purple eye, though again, it's not how I would have done it.  I let him do it his way, though, and it looks just great! 

And here Zach and I are using glitter glue on the pine cones that keep falling off our Christmas tree.  They actually look kind of pretty with the glitter on them.  Zach was really excited about decorating them, but then didn't feel like spending a lot of time to put much glitter glue on each little piece.  So his pine cones have two or three drops of glitter glue on them, and that's it.  Oh well.  Again, I am working on just letting him do things his way!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

In Need of an Intervention

Today Mike and Zach decided to go to the tree farm and pick out a Christmas tree, even though it was very cold.  I was on the fence between getting a fake tree and going to Earl May to pick one out.  I love the smell of a real tree, but the pine needles are a pain, and I keep picturing Drew trying to eat them, and now that I'm a little fire-freaked, I'm more worried about the fire hazard a real tree presents.  But, Zach had it in his mind that we would go out and "knife one down," (his words), so we went with it.  Or rather, Mike went with it.  I was more than happy to stay home with Drew while he napped.  So, according to Mike, after being at the tree farm for a little while, Zach said, "Are you having so much fun?"  Mike answered that he was.  About 10 minutes later, Zach said, "Are you still having so much fun?"  Again, Mike answered that he was, and asked Zach if he was still having so much fun.  Zach, a little hesitantly, answered that yes, he was having so much fun.  About 10 more minutes went by, and this time Zach said, "Is it still so much fun for you, Dad?"  Mike said, "Yeah!  Is it for you?"  Zach said, "No, it's not still so much fun."  Then they picked a tree.  A tree that is definitely not a tree I would have picked.  It's not terrible, but it's a little lopsided and much more full than I would have liked.  Oh well.  we've been too busy today to get it decorated, so maybe tomorrow.  Pine cones keep randomly falling off if it, which is interesting.  Never had that happen before.

I think this picture is Zach with our tree.  It could be a random tree they didn't get, but that would be weird.  It looks kind of like our tree, I guess.

Today I did another questionable thing- I went to Costco on a Sunday.  Man, that place is always a zoo on the weekends.  But, for the first time ever, I went in with one thing on my list and bought just that one thing, not for lack of trying, though.  I did look at the toys to see if there was anything good for Drew, but there wasn't.  Then I braved the mall.  I had to park about a mile away, but that was ok.  I was quite proud of myself- I did the Costco stop, the mall, and the grocery store (just for a few items, though) in less than 2 hours from start to finish.  I kept checking my watch as I was leaving the mall because I just couldn't believe it hadn't taken me longer.  Amazing how quickly I can get things done when I'm without a husband and 2 kids!

Just a little bit ago I was sitting down to fold clothes, and Foudy was by me.  Then she left the room, and I figured she was sitting by the front door waiting for Mike to get home from his basketball game.  But then I could hear some weird sounds.  I thought it was Foudy making funny noises, but I wasn't sure.  After hearing some more noises, I decided to check things out.  I walked down the hall to see where Foudy could be, and I found her in the laundry room.  She had somehow gotten the tall laundry basket onto its side and was trying to get out the lone baby sock that was in it.  I don't know how she got it knocked over (it's just mesh), but I know she was trying to get to that sock.  She was a dog in need of a fix, which is why I think we need to stage an intervention.  I should have given her the what-for, just so she would associate getting socks with getting in big trouble, but I didn't even think of it.  I just can't believe she saw that sock in the hamper and was trying to figure out how to get it out.  That little rascal.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Day of Crazy Decisions

Today we did something I hate to do in December- we went to the mall on a Saturday.  Ugh.  It turned out to not be as  terrible as I thought it might be, though.  We decided to make today the day we went to see Santa.  The Santa at the mall we go to is great.  He is 100% real- no fake beard, belly, or anything, and he really takes his time with the kids, which is great when your kid is on his lap, but not so great when you're waiting in line.  Anyway, the boys did fine with waiting, and they did pretty well once they got to the big man himself.  Zach was all set- he knew he was going to tell Santa he wanted a counter/pointer (a plastic stick with a plastic hand on it, used for pointing at or counting things) and a Coast Guard helicopter just like we got for Cam.  (We got Cam's last night, and Zach really badly wanted to take it out of the box and play with it, but I wouldn't let him.  At least now I have another idea for him for Christmas!)  On the way to the mall Zach asked us if Santa has to ride his sleigh to the mall, so he was ready to ask Santa that question, too.  I'm not sure what Santa's answer was; I'll have to ask Zach.  Drew was a little unsure of Santa.  He seemed confused by the fact that one moment he was in Mom's arms, and the next minute he was sitting on some strange guy's lap and he wasn't sure where Mom was.  I was just a few feet away, but he hadn't realized that yet.  Zach came away impressed that Santa knew he was a "he," and I'm not sure why that surprised Zach, but whatever.   

Here it looks like Zach is explaining something to Santa- notice how he's talking with his hands.  I imagine Santa's thinking, "Heh- get a load of this kid.  He sure likes to talk!"

This is where Drew is starting to think, "What am I doing on this guy's lap?  Who is he, anyway?  Mom!!!!  Dad!!!!"

As we waited in line to see Santa, I watched an event that was really sweet.  There was an older couple ahead of us in line a little ways.  They had what I assumed to be their daughter with them- she was grown, but probably had Cerebral Palsy or something.  As they pushed her wheelchair up to Santa, the daughter was SO excited, and it was really sweet.  She was so happy to be seeing Santa, and I thought about how it was sad and also neat that she probably believes he's totally real.  Santa treated her like any kid, and talked to her, hugged her, and gave her a little book when she was done.  It was kind of a touching thing to watch.

After visiting Santa, we made another decision that I thought was crazy- we went to the play area at the mall.  On a Saturday.  In December.  To me that just sounds like a dumb idea, because the play area is always packed on weekends, and you add that to the fact that there's only 19 days until Christmas and the mall is more crazy than ever, and it's just asking for chaos.  Well, amazingly, the play area was not a crazy as I thought it might be.  The boys got to play for a little bit before we headed upstairs to eat.

Enter crazy decision number three- we went to the food court at 12:15.  On a Saturday.  In December.  And that was when I realized why the play area wasn't packed- it was because every single person in the mall was in the food court, trying to find a seat at which to eat his lunch.  Zach and Mike headed to Chick-Fil-A while Drew and I went to Panera.  Drew and I were in line for about 1 minute before I realized he really likes lines about as much as I do, so we left the line to find a place to sit where I could feed him some delicious pureed fruits and veggies.  I weaved the stroller through the food court until I found some people about to leave, and I hovered over them until they cleared their trays.  Thankfully I only had to hover for a few seconds- they were getting up right as I saw them.  So Drew and I sat down and I started feeding him while we waited for Mike and Zach to get their food at Chick-Fil-A.  The next thing I know, Mike and Zach are at our table, and Mike's saying how we have one unhappy kid on our hands.  I couldn't figure out what Zach could be unhappy about- he had gotten exactly what he wanted for lunch (chicken nuggets and fries with a side of ranch- so healthy, I know), so why was he upset?  Mike gestured over to another section of the food court, which was when I realized there was quite a bit of smoke in the air.  Turns out there had been a small fire in the food court a couple minutes before Mike and Zach got to the table, and I had been completely oblivious to the whole thing.  As we ate the firemen came, half the food court was roped off, and the smoke dissipated.  It seems that after our little incident with the kitchen fire yesterday, Zach got a little spooked when he first saw the smoke in the mall, which was apparently very copious.  Then he heard someone say something about there being a fire, and that didn't help his nervousness at all.  We heard later that a floor outlet that caught on fire, I guess.  That doesn't really inspire a lot of confidence as far as being at the mall goes...

Last week when I got out some Christmas decorations, I made the mistake of letting Zach see gingerbread house kit that we have.  It is something I really want to do some day, but I think next year might be a better time for it, when both boys are a little older.  The box has cookie cutters for all the pieces of a gingerbread house, but then I will have to make and bake the gingerbread and icing from scratch, and I have to get all the candy for it.  This all sounded like a bit much right now, but Zach saw it and really wanted to do it, so I said we could over the weekend.  Well, yesterday after the fire, Auntie Carol's (Grandma Cynthia's sister) package came with a different gingerbread house kit with all the candy, icing, and gingerbread pieces included.  Saved by Auntie Carol!!  So today Zach, Mike, and I got to work on our gingerbread house.  Zach wore his special tiger mask (a gift to Zach from Auntie Carol when Drew was born- she gives great, creative gifts).  Zach got to work on it a bit more tonight with Grandma Cynthia, but we need to finish it tomorrow.  

Here we are working on the house:

Tonight we had Mike's work Christmas party at a local restaurant.  It was so good.  We were bummed that a few people, Curt, Laura, and Kevin, couldn't make it.  Curt had his own work party and Kevin and Laura are stationed at the hospital for a while.  Laura is one of Mike's employees, and she is 25 weeks (I think) pregnant and due in mid March, and she is on bedrest until further notice, basically.  Poor girl.  She has to lay in bed with her feet above her head for at least a few more days, I think.  This is Laura and Kevin's first baby, and Laura went to the doctor yesterday and found out that she was already 2 cm dilated.  Mike and I stopped by the hospital to see Laura and Kevin after the party and to deliver some dessert, a new book, and Laura's Christmas present.  She seemed in really good spirits and she looked good.  If you are a prayer, please pray for Kevin and Laura and their baby.  Thanks.  Laura, if you're reading this, hang in there, and call me if I can do anything for you!

The exciting thing that happened today is that our painting got done!  It looks great!  I'm on a quest now for some new wall hangings to compliment the new paint, and once I find what I want and get it all on the walls, I'll post more pictures.  I really love the living room.  It's so fun to have color!

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Little Smoky

Drew is 9 months old today.  This week I decided it was finally time to put some pictures in his first-year frame.  That's the one where you put in a newborn picture and a picture for each month. I had Zach's mostly filled in- everything except the one year picture was in there.  Seeing as how he's 3 and a half now, I thought it was time to finally get that one year picture in there and just be done with it.  Now when I see the frame above his bookcase I don't have to think about how I should get that last picture in.  So I think getting newborn through 9 months in already is pretty good.  It was really amazing to go from zero to 9 months all in one sitting.  It really made me realize how quickly the last 9 months have gone.  It was also fun to compare Zach's first year pictures with Drew's.  As Drew gets older, the two boys are looking more different, though Mike and I can't really put our fingers on what is different.  It seems like Zach's face was chubbier, though that doesn't make much sense since Drew has always (except at birth) been bigger than Zach was.  

I don't have a great comparison to put on here because we got this computer when Zach was older, but here is a picture of Zach a little over 9 months and one of Drew right now:

And here's Drew's standard rocking chair photo:

Today started out a little more "exciting" than I like my days to start.  I had just finished nursing Drew and we were snuggling on the couch (I was snuggling him; he was wiggling around trying to get free) when I realized Foudy was about to throw up.  I got up and set Drew down just in time for her to puke all over the kitchen floor.  At least she got to the hard floor and didn't throw up on the carpet this time.  However, there I found on the floor FOUR baby/kid socks that she had eaten over the last 48 hours, I think.  I caught her Wednesday afternoon at the bottom of the steps with one baby sock on the floor and the the other one nowhere to be found.  I never did find it.  Then last night we folded a ton of laundry, and though I tried to keep the socks on the bottom, at one point I caught her with one in her mouth, so I'm assuming that's where the others that she she vomited came from.  The annoying thing is that because of all the grass and everything else, I can't even tell which socks she has regurgitated, so I don't know which partners to throw away.  Then she threw up again about 15 minutes later.  Ugh.

A few hours later, though, Foudy throwing up seemed like the most boring event of the morning, after I nearly burnt our house down.  I had just put Drew down for his morning nap and decided I wanted some tea, so I came downstairs and put the teapot on the back burner and turned it on.  Then I went into the living room to play a game with Zach while waiting for my water to boil.  All of a sudden the smoke alarm was beeping, and it took me a split second of thinking, "That's weird, is that the fire alarm? Why would that be going off?" before I looked at the stove and noticed the flames.  I yelled to Zach, "Oh my gosh, there's a fire!" as I ran out to the kitchen and grabbed the dishtowel that had caught on fire and threw it to the ground.  I really wasn't sure what to do, so then I grabbed a towel that was by the backdoor (to clean the dogs' feet) and used it to snuff out the rest of the flames.  Poor Zach was in the living room saying, "I don't know what to do!  I don't know what to do!"  Then I grabbed Zach's place mat  to get the smoke detector to go off.  I realized then how smoky the house was, so I sent Zach and the dogs to the basement and I opened all the windows and the backdoor, letting the 18 degree cold air in.  Zach asked me through the basement door if I could please go up and get Puppy (his stuffed dog that he sleeps with) for him, so as I went up, I stopped by Drew's room to give him his pacifier, because with the smoke detector beeping, I'm sure it was hard to sleep.  Then I picked up all the smoldering pieces of dishtowel and put them in the sink to soak with water so I could be sure it was all out.  The house reeked, and so did I.  However, the smell and a few small burn marks are all the damage that was done, thankfully.  I called Mike after that and asked him to pick up a fire extinguisher to keep in the house.  So, here's my PSA- do not leave towels on your stove at any time, and don't even hang them on the stove handle (I actually recently read that in a magazine).  And make sure you have a fire extinguisher in your house and that you know where it is.  Also, if you have a microwave, it's probably best to just use it to heat up water for one cup of tea.  Then you can hopefully avoid a fire.  That also saves energy, according to Mr. Green (of the Sierra Club).  He said that if you're just making one cup of tea, you should heat your water in a microwave rather than any kind of stove (gas or electric).  Now I'm just rambling.  

We're watching The Simpsons Movie right now, and I think I need to pay better attention than I have been.  It seems as if something ominous is about to happen...

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Special Treat

I was feeding Drew dinner tonight and Zach went into the bathroom to potty after much dancing around, so I knew he really had to go.  After he pottied and there were a few minutes of silence, I asked what he was doing.  He told me he was just trying to get his underwear on.  A couple more quiet moments passed.  Then he said, "Mom, can I just leave my underwear off for now?"  Knowing that it was just a couple of hours from bedtime and that we wouldn't be going anywhere, I told him that was fine.  He came to the table shortly thereafter with just his jeans on and informed me, "I'm just keeping my underwear off as a special treat to myself."  Hmmm...I think I'll just leave that one alone.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Holiday Weekend

It has been a fun, relaxing Thanksgiving weekend.  Does it really have to end?  

We started the extended weekend on Thursday, with the traditional Zinn family Thanksgiving breakfast of homemade caramel rolls.  YUM!  I went for a quick run so I wouldn't feel so guilty eating those rolls for breakfast, and it was so worth it!  Then we headed over to Curt & Linda's for Thanksgiving dinner.  Linda doesn't love cooking, and I'm not confident enough to tackle a turkey, so usually we go to the Mariott and eat there, but this year we decided to cater in from HyVee.  It was very good.  I made a pumpkin cheesecake for dessert, and Linda had lots of other goodies to eat as well.  Unfortunately Mike's grandpa, Pa, wasn't feeling well, so he couldn't make it.  We really missed having him there.  The boys had a blast playing and hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa.  

We always take a family picture on Thanksgiving to go on our Christmas card.  Here's one that didn't make the cut.  If you've read many of my previous posts, you'll realize that we have a lot of pictures that were attempts for the Christmas card but that didn't make the cut.  It's tough to get a good picture!

Mike and I left the boys at Curt & Linda's Thanksgiving afternoon and went to a movie.  Then we had a night to ourselves (the boys spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa's) and even slept in on Friday!  After waking briefly at 5:40 sure that I heard Drew talking (funny how the mind is wired for routines like that), I managed to get back to sleep and was flabbergasted when I awoke and it was 8:40!!!  I don't think I've slept past 6:30 in the last 9 months, and not past 7 in the last 3 years!  It was awesome.

Sleeping in like that did not give Mike and me the chance to be first in line at any stores on  Black Friday, but we did join the masses and hit up a few places with some success.  We didn't find a lot in the way of Christmas presents, but I found some great deals at GAP (buy one sweater, get one free- I bought 2 & came home with 4!), and we got some good deals on stuff for our adopt-a-family girl at Kohl's.  Parking was terrible most places we went, but the weather was nice, so we didn't mind walking a bit.  And we didn't end up standing in line too long anywhere, which was nice because that's the part that really drives me nuts.  After picking the boys up at Curt & Linda's we came home and promptly went on a walk/bike ride (Mike & me on foot, Drew in the stroller, and Zach on his bike) up to the movie store.  It was such a gorgeous day out.  We rented Madagascar, but haven't had the chance to watch it yet.  Good thing it's a week-long rental.

Saturday we basically cleaned up the house, which looked like a hurricane had come through.  Mike and Zach ran to the post office mail something that we needed postmarked by Dec. 1.  While they were out, I got a call from someone at Kohl's saying that they had found a rebate form for the new toaster oven we had purchased the day before (we realized once we got home that we hadn't gotten to mail-in rebate form that would make the $100 toaster oven go from $50 to $30).  So I called Mike and since he and Zach were close to Kohl's, they ended up just stopping by to pick up the form.  Here's the funny thing- initially they were just going to go to Dahl's to mail the letter, so we let Zach stay in his pajamas and just have his slippers on, but Mike changed his mind at the last minute and went to the post office instead.  Then they went to Kohl's with Zach in his pajamas, too.  I'm so glad it was Mike with Zach and not me, because I think I'd be too embarrassed to take my kid into a store at 9:30 in the morning in his pajamas and slippers!  Oh well.  I am not sure if they got any funny looks or not.  

Later Saturday we got to go to our friend Cooper's first birthday party, and then Grandpa Kevin, Grandma Cynthia, and Aunt Katherine came over.  It was great to see Katherine, as we haven't seen her since early October since she's away at college now.  We had some homemade pizza and leftover pumpkin cheesecake.  Zach talked Katherine's ear off and got his dad, Grandpa, and Katherine all involved in a rowdy basketball game downstairs.  It was a really fun night.  We can't wait to see Katherine again when she's home for Christmas.

It started snowing lightly yesterday afternoon, and this morning when we woke up we had a couple inches on the ground.  Zach was so excited to get out there and shovel, but we told him he had to wait until after church.  So, after Mike and Zach went out and bought a new shovel (ours had broken), they got to work.  

After getting the driveway and sidewalk shoveled, Mike and Zach started working on a snowman.  Mike is a much better snowman builder than I am, that's for sure.  Our neighbor Zoe came over, and she and Zach had a lot of fun playing together in the snow.  

Here is Drew checking out the action outside:

Once the snowman was built, the kids came in for some hot chocolate and a little warm-up.  

Thankfully Zach's snowpants and boots still fit him well enough to wear today, but we decided he might need new ones.  His boots are a size 6, and the shoes he's wearing these days are size 8, and his snowpants are size 18 months, and Zach is about a week away from being 3 and a half, so yeah, it might be time for some new snow gear.  Seriously, though, the pants are not as small as you might think- they're barely getting snug around the torso and are just the right length.  They must have been made for 18 month-old giants or something.  

The snow is fun and beautiful, but I'm really dreading getting the boys bundled up and in and out of their car seats this winter.  I'm sure winter will pass before I know it, right?  Hey, come on, I'm trying to think positively here!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bears and Bunnies

One night last week we awoke to Zach in our room, a bit spooked by his first real nightmare.  He was asking Mike about bears, and were there any in our house?  We calmed him down and assured him that there were no bears around here, and probably none even in Iowa.  We also assured him that bears could not get into our house anyway, to which he asked his standard question- "Why?" and Mike told him that since they don't have thumbs, they can't open doors.  Ok, so he's randomly said since then, "So, bears can't get into our house because they don't have thumbs to open doors, right?"  I don' t know where he got this fear of bears, but it's there.

So yesterday after preschool, the boys and I were headed home, and Zach and I were talking about holidays.  He asked what a holiday was, so I was giving examples.  After I mentioned Easter and the Easter Bunny, Zach said, "But how does the Easter Bunny get into our house?"  I could see the no-thumb wheels turning in his head.  I just said, "Um, I'm not sure."  Zach said, "Maybe he comes down the chimney."  I said, "Yeah, maybe," hoping to avoid the no-thumb connection, and hoping he didn't put 2 and 2 together and start thinking bears could come down the chimney, too.  Then he said, "Or maybe he comes in the front door...but he doesn't have thumbs, so he couldn't do that, right?"  I started laughing, and somehow got the subject changed.  

I'm watching Little People, Big World, and there was a scene just now with Zach, the little people son, and his twin, who is not little, and actually is quite tall.  I was totally reminded of P.D. Eastman's book Big Dog, Little Dog.  Funny.

It was a pretty nice day here today, so after the boys' naps, we took a walk/bike ride up to the grocery store.  I pushed Drew in the stroller and Zach rode his bike the whole way, even up the big hill by Walgreens.  It's probably about a half-mile each way, so I was very proud of Zach for pedaling the whole way there and back, and not even whining about it.  It was great to get out and get some fresh air and exercise.  Sometimes I get a little obsessive about making sure Zach gets lots of physical activity every day, and going for bike rides/walks with the dogs is a good way to do that.  It gets us out of the house, and helps break up that really tough time of day between the end of the boys' naps and when Mike gets home.

I just finished making a pumpkin cheesecake with a chocolate graham cracker crust for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.  Yum.  I hope it turned out.  It's late, but I have to wait a little longer for it to cool before I can take the sides off the pan and put it in the fridge to chill.  I also prepared caramel rolls, because it's not a Zinn-family Thanksgiving without caramel rolls for breakfast.  It really should be served with souffle, but I don't think Mike, Zach, and I would eat enough of it to warrant all that work, unless I made a quarter recipe or something.  We'll just have scrambled eggs with the rolls, I think.  Can't wait 'til morning!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


We have been busy over the past few days.  First, the new car seats came, and Zach and Drew both enjoyed playing with the big boxes they came in.  Perfect timing, as Zach just wrapped up Boxtown week at preschool.

Here's Zach in his fancy new car seat.  So far it seems pretty nice, but with the cold weather comes heavy coats, and any 5 point harness is a pain with a big heavy coat.  

Last week we finally took the plunge and started repainting the inside of our house.  We've lived in this house since it was built, which was 5 years ago.  We picked the original paint, which was a nice color, but, being builder paint, it was very flat.  Having flat paint with two dogs and eventually two kids is not a good idea.  After 5 years, the hallway was a mess.  It was so marked up, and I just hated it.  Plus, the neutral color is nice, but not real fun, so the last couple of years I've really been itching to get some color in here.  I finally wore Mike down so that he was open to the idea, though still a little hesitant to bite the bullet.  It just took me getting the ball rolling, though, and we're now on our way to a more colorful house.  Painting started on Saturday, and as of right now the kitchen, hallway, and stairs are repainted a similar color of beige, and the laundry room and half-bath are pool blue and sundance yellow.  The living room and dining room will be painted next week.  

Here's our painter hard at work:

Ok, we're not really letting Zach paint everything. Our friend Bryn is doing it for us. I used to teach with Bryn's wife Brea, and until she started back full-time this year, she was in playgroup with us. It's really nice having somebody we know and trust in here doing this. And he's way faster than Mike and I could ever be, which is really nice. Plus, he's nice to Zach, which is a bonus, because Zach likes to talk his ear off, if you can imagine.

Here's Zach doing what he does best- talk.  In this picture he was talking to Bryn while Bryn painted the bathroom:

Now for some before and after photos of the bathroom.

Before- just beige

After- sundance yellow

Now, stay tuned to the blog for a new "after" photo of the bathroom.  You may be thinking the same thing I was the first time I really got a good look at the yellow bathroom, which was, "Holy crap, that is VERY yellow."  Turns out that a little 1 by 2 inch rectangle just doesn't really do the color justice.  On the little paint strip it looks like a nice yellow, but in the little half bath, it's way too bright.  It hurts my eyes.  So, I picked a lighter yellow, called pernod, which is apparently a type of liquor.  It hasn't been repainted yet, so I'll post a new picture when it is.

Now, here's the mud/laundry room.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture before it got painted, but it was the same color as the rest of the house- beige.  It also did not have the cabinets before.  Mike and his dad hung those the evening that the room got painted.  I love the new laundry room.  It's such a fun, bright, cheery color, and the cabinets really pop in there.  Plus, the cabinets surprisingly offer much more storage than the shelves we had before, and it's just nice to have our crap hidden away instead of in plain sight.

We didn't take pictures of the kitchen and hallway, because they're basically the same. I'll post more pictures next week after the living room and dining room get painted, and once the bathroom is repainted, too. It's so great to have a little color in the house!

Saturday night we went to a wine tasting party hosted by our friends Tyra and Curtis. It was a lot of fun to get out of the house without the boys, and for Mike and me to hang out with some friends for a while. Plus, I like wine sometimes, but I don't know enough about it to try something new. I don't want to spend $6 on a glass of wine and then hate it, so I end up ordering something I know I'll like, or just getting water (usually the latter). At this party we got to taste 6 different wines, 3 red and 3 white. They were all written down on a piece of paper with some notes about the wine, which was really helpful. I kept the paper so that I know what to order sometime. I really liked a couple of the whites, which surprised me, because I usually just drink red wine. Mike even tasted most of them, which was surprising because he's not a wine drinker at all. We had fun chatting with our friends, and then came home to watch the Hawkeyes win big in Minnesota.  Thanks for a fun party, Tyra and Curtis!

Here I am with a couple of my good girlfriends, Sara and Tyra:

And here we are with our husbands- Curtis, Mike, and Matt:

Drew is getting so busy. He crawls all over now, so I have to keep a close eye on him at all times. He loves to get up on his knees and kneel, and he sometimes manages to pull himself all the way up to standing. The only problem with that is that he seems to sometimes forget he's a little wobbly still, and he lets go, and then he falls over. He also learned how to splash in the bathtub the other night, and had a blast with that. Here he is crawling around with a screw from Zach's workbench in his mouth. He was just tooling around, doing all sorts of things, and this was like his little pacifier. It was pretty cute. It makes me think of my nephew Cam, because he used to do that sort of thing.

And this is a picture Mike took tonight while I was working out. I thought it was cute, which is why I'm sharing it.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Overheard while I was upstairs getting Drew in bed and Zach was finishing dinner:

Mike- "Zach, what have you been doing?"
Zach- "Nothing.  Just eating..."
Mike- "How did you make such a mess?"
Zach- silent, as far as I could tell
Mike- "Were you just pouring it over the table?"

There was some other talking, I think, and then I heard Zach cry and say, "Will I get to eat anymore?" and then I could tell he was in a time-out.  Then I heard this:

Zach- "Daddy still loves me, and I still love him."

I was upstairs cracking up this whole time, though I'm sure if were involved, I would have been as mad as Mike.  Turns out that while Mike was out of the kitchen for a couple of minutes and I was getting Drew in bed, Zach was making a mess of his blueberry applesauce.  So when Mike went back, there apparently was applesauce all over the table, and Zach was trying to clean it up with his napkin (one of those new, white cloth napkins).  Mike was only gone a couple of minutes, but it was long enough to make a mess, I guess.  As I listened from Drew's room and had no idea what was going on, I had flashbacks this time when I was kid, and I was the last one eating.  My dad was in the living room, and I was supposed to finish my peas, and then I could have a brownie.  So, I finally brought my plate into the living room to show my dad that I had cleaned my plate, and he said I could have a brownie.  I went back and got one, which I enjoyed very much, I'm sure.  As I finished it, my dad came back into the kitchen, only to realize that instead of eating my peas, I had dropped each one on the floor, one at a time.  Needless to say, I got into trouble for that one.  I'm not sure why I thought I could get away with it, though, really, I guess I did.  I mean, I got the brownie, didn't I?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mike

Sometimes I forget what stories I write about on this blog and which ones I just tell to people, so if I ever write about something twice, forgive me.  It's just a bad memory, and I guess I'm too lazy to go back and reread my old posts to find out if I've already blogged about it.  Same goes with pictures.

First, here's one more (failed) attempt at a Christmas card photo with the boys and dogs.  Notice that look on Drew's face.  He has gotten so good at crawling already- he is all over the place, and I'm finding I have to think more about what's out that he could get into.  Zach also seems more easily annoyed by Drew because Drew can get to Zach's stuff by himself now.  Sometimes it's pretty funny to watch.

Thursday I got to go volunteer at Zach's preschool.  It was a blast.  I had to take each child out into the hallway to see if they could put their own coats on and zip them up.  They all did a great job getting them up, but for most of them getting the zipper started was tough.  Then I got to stay and observe/play.  I can see why Zach loves it there- his teachers are awesome.  Here's a picture of Zach that I took right after we got there Thursday morning.  He went straight to the dramatic play area and got dressed up as a fireman.  Notice the boots- he loved those.

After preschool Zach and I went to Jumpin' Jacks, a place with big inflatables to play on.  Zach always wants to go there, but it's not easy to go with Drew.  The room mom for Zach's preschool class had set up a playdate there, so we left Drew with Grandma Linda and went to play.  There were about 4 of Zach's classmates and a few of their siblings there, too, but no other kids.  It was perfect, and really neat to get another chance to meet some of the kids and talk to some of the moms.  Zach had a lot of fun playing with his friends, too.

Friday night we got together with our neighbors and our former neighbors.  It was a lot of fun.  It's been a long time since we've all hung out.  Zach enjoyed having everybody over, and he and Anna, who is about 20 months, loved watching The Wiggles and dancing together.

While everybody was over Maggie just couldn't resist trying to get some attention herself.  Here's how she did it.

Saturday Mike went to his last Hawkeye game of the season, and they won!  It's turned out to be not such a bad season after all.  I went Saturday morning and did testing at the place where I work out.  With the program I follow you do your initial ten weeks with testing at the beginning and end.  Testing consists of a weight check, body-fat check, measurements, sit-n-reach for flexibility, sit-ups and push-ups (how many you can do in one minute), and running the mile.  I did the testing when I started back in June and again at the end of my initial ten weeks in August.  Now it's been about 12 weeks, and I haven't worked out as religiously as I did for those first ten weeks, but I've still gone probably an average of 5 times a week.  I also haven't followed the diet like I did this summer, so I was curious to see where I would be at.  I was very happy to see that everything pretty much stayed the same since August.  I guess I wonder, though, if I had been eating a little better, if I would have improved.  Oh well.  If I didn't go backwards, I'm ok with that.

Yesterday we went out to brunch with Mike's dad and stepmom to celebrate his birthday.  It was delicious, of course.  Before that we took some time to get stuff done around the house.  I've had these little collections of single socks on top of both of the boys' dressers for a couple of weeks now, just waiting for their mates to come through the wash.  Well, yesterday Mike discovered most of those mates- while he was picking up dog poop.  It seems Foudy has developed a real taste for little socks.  Mike said he probably saw 10 socks in the poop.  It's not only gross, but it also worries me because one of these days she'll eat one and it will clog everything up.  She puked one up the other morning at about 4 a.m., and I didn't appreciate that.  It's also maddening, because I have to keep buying new socks for Drew, and sometimes she eats really cute socks.  She prowls around looking for them.  For example, a couple of weeks ago after Drew's nap I had taken his socks off and they were by us on the living room floor.  Pretty soon I realized by the way Foudy was sauntering around me that she had something in her mouth, and sure enough, it was one of the socks.  I took it from her and put it on the coffee table with its mate.  Then I vacuumed the living room.  As I finished up vacuuming, I happened to glance at the coffee table and realize there was only one sock there.  Sure enough, she stole it right out from under me, the little scamp.  We're being very diligent to keep closet doors closed and make sure Zach doesn't leave his socks laying around anywhere, as he likes to take his socks off a lot.  Unfortunately he thinks a good place for his socks is on the kitchen table, so I'm also working on breaking that habit.

Anyway, I walked into Drew's room after his morning nap on Sunday and he was standing up in his crib, leaning on the railing!  I had already told Mike that I wanted to move his mattress down, and that just confirmed that.  So apparently Drew is pulling up now.  I haven't seen him do it on furniture yet, but obviously he can.  Now with his crib mattress down so low I feel like he's sleeping in a cage, but oh well.  It's only been 11 months since Zach was sleeping in the crib like that, but it's funny how I hardly remember it.  

Mike is 32 today, so happy birthday, Mike.  We celebrated tonight by having pumpkin bars after dinner.  Thankfully Zach did a good job eating his dinner and got to have a pumpkin bar, too.