Saturday, August 30, 2008

First Hawkeye Game

Zach got to go to his first Hawkeye football game today.  He had so much fun.  We drove to Mike's grandpa's house in North English last night (Pa's house) and stayed there so we could celebrate Pa's 85th birthday.  This morning Grandpa Curt, Grandma Linda, Mike, Zach, Drew, and I went down to the historical center with Pa for coffee.  Zach seemed to enjoy chatting up all the old men there.  

Zach, Mike, and I left from there to head to Kinnick.  Traffic on I-80 wasn't as bad as we expected.  For those of you who are not from Iowa or aren't Hawkeye fans, here's a little info for you- I've heard it said that on Saturdays during football season, "All roads lead to Iowa City."  I'm sure ISU fans say that with Ames in place of Iowa City, but really, I think it's more fitting to use Iowa City because there are so many Hawkeye fans in this state.  It's really fun to drive to a game along I-80 and see all the cars with Hawkeye stickers, license plates, etc., and all the people in their cars with their Hawkeye gear, especially when it's a really old couple in their embroidered sweatshirts and whatnot.  Anyway, thankfully today traffic wasn't bad.

We got inside the stadium around 10:30.  After checking to see if Uncle Will was there at his seat (he wasn't, and we found out later he was not going to the game), we headed over to our seats.  The people around us thought Zach looked pretty cute all decked out in his new Hawkeye shirt (thanks, Grandpa Kevin & Grandma Cynthia!) and hat.  

The teams were out warming up, so already Zach was excited.

Then the band came out, and that made him really excited. 

He was ready to sing the Hawkeye fight song.  He remained very excited throughout the national ansem (that's what he calls it) and the introduction of the teams.  

The whole atmosphere  was great, but nothing topped the sparkle in Zach's eyes at seeing everything, or the joy in Mike's eyes at watching Zach.  Just before kickoff our neighbors got there, so of course that made Zach that much more excited.  The Hawks had a good game, winning 46-3. Zach quickly got the hang of yelling out the O when Iowa scored (more info for you non-Hawkeye fans- whenever Iowa scores a TD the cheerleaders have the big I-O-W-A flags- one letter at each corner of the stadium, and they wave them in order as the crowd in that area yells that letter, thus spelling out Iowa multiple times).

When we were on defense he'd put his hands up by his mouth and yell, "Get 'em!  Get 'em!!!  Get the bad guys!!"  It was all pretty cute.  We left at the beginning of the 4th quarter, because at that point Zach was getting quite tired.  He fell asleep before we ever got to I-80.  Too much excitement for one day!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Boys Will Be Boys

For any of you who don't have boys, or who don't have boys who are yet 3 years-old, here's a preview of what may be in your future:

Story #1-
The other night Zach and Mike had just gotten out of the shower and were drying off before getting dressed.  Zach said to Mike, "Wanna see me make my penis long?  I just do this."  I'm sure you can imagine what was going on.  Mike just said, "Oh, yeah..." and quickly focused on drying his hair.

Story #2-
This morning I was in the kitchen and Zach and Drew were in the living room.  Zach said, "Oh, I tooted.  Can you smell it, Mom?"  I replied by saying, "No.  Does it stink?"  And then Zach came running out into the kitchen saying, "Yeah, smell it," as he turned his butt towards me.  I kept doing whatever I was doing, which involved walking around busily (we were just trying to get out of the house), and Zach followed me around butt-first saying, "Mom!  I really want you to smell it!  Do you smell it?"  Finally I just said, "Yes, I smell it," so he would leave me alone.

Obviously there's a lot to look forward to with raising boys.

On another note, Zach and I did our first science experiment today.  We searched and searched for a bunch of different objects, and then we tested out which ones floated and which ones sank in a bowl of water.  Before testing each item, we both hypothesized what we thought it would do.  Zach did a great job guessing.  I would say he guessed correctly about 90% of the time or better.  A couple of items I thought would trip him up, like the clothespin and the paperclip, but he got them both right.  We sorted the objects as we tested them- one pile for floaters and one for sinkers.  Zach had a blast with his first science experience, as he called it.  He wanted to keep finding more and more objects to test out.  

Here's a picture of Zach doing the experiment.  This paperclip sunk, though I thought it would float.

And here's our fine pile of items that we tested.  Floaters on the left; sinkers on the right.

After our science experiment Drew woke up from his morning nap.  The last 2 days he's taken great morning naps, and I think maybe it has to do with me letting him put himself to sleep instead of me putting him to sleep.  Maybe it's just a coincidence, but I started trying to put him down sleepy but awake instead of asleep, and suddenly he's sleeping longer than 40 minutes in one stretch.  I hope it keeps up!  

Once Drew was up we took care of a few things and headed out the door so the boys could go play with Grandma Linda and I could take Mike's sister Katherine out to lunch.  Katherine leaves for her freshman year of college on Saturday, and I decided we needed some sisterly bonding before she left.  We had a great lunch.  It's hard to believe Katherine is leaving for college.  When I first met her she was in 4th grade.  Time really flies.  Katherine, we'll miss seeing you, but we will come visit!!  Have fun at St. Olaf!  We love you!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Meeting the Preschool Teachers

Today we went to meet Zach's preschool teachers and check out his new classroom.  First Mike and I took Zach out to lunch at Gateway Market, a new organic market and cafe in West Des Moines.  I've been wanting to try the one in Des Moines for a while but haven't gotten down there.  Then we got a coupon for a free kid's meal from when Zach did VBS, so this was the perfect opportunity.  All I can say is YUM!  It was so good.  Mike had a BBQ pork sandwich that he loved, Zach had a delicious, wood-fired cheese pizza, and I had a delectable cranberry-walnut salad, which had Gorgonzola cheese, craisins, salad greens, red onions, grilled chicken (I added this- it can come w/o it), and, the best part of all, candied walnuts.  Then it had a creamy balsamic dressing.  Sandy, I think you would like it a lot.  I told Mike that I knew where I'd be taking you next time you're in Des Moines, whenever that may be.  

Anyway, enough about lunch.  Zach's teachers seemed really nice.  His classroom is cute, and he easily found his name on his cubby, the attendance tree, the floor for circle time, etc.  We met a couple of other kids in his class, too.  Zach was really excited to get his new red schoolbag (they all use the same one that we purchase there), and he carried it around the whole time.  Now he's excited to put his name on it and decorate it however he wants.  Maybe we'll go to the fabric or craft store and look for some iron-on letters for his name and some other fun stuff.  Zach seemed a little nervous or shy being there, but overall he was fine.  He wasn't afraid to tell his teachers that it was nice to meet them and that he's excited to see them on Tuesday.  We were also excited to see that 2 boys in his class live near us- one about a block up on our street, and the other lives 2 blocks over.  That makes me think of my friends that I've been friends with since preschool, especially my friend Ange, who reminded me the other day that I was at her 3rd birthday party over 27 years ago.  It's so weird to think that she and I have been friends since we were Zach's age.  

Zach really needs his hair cut (I think that's happening tomorrow), so today we had a little fun and did a faux hawk in Zach's hair.  Or, as Zach told the Scheel's checkout guy, "Mom put some faux hawk in my hair."  He must think the product we put in his hair is called faux hawk.  We had to go to Scheel's to get new Hawkeye shirts for Zach and me for Zach's first Hawkeye football game this weekend.  Anyway, here's the faux hawk:

Also, here are just a couple of fun pictures of the boys swinging on our swing set the other day.  It was Drew's first time in the swing.  You can sort of see in the picture that he's still a little small for it.  If he keeps his feet up he doesn't fall forward.  We didn't really swing him much, but when we did swing him a little bit, he was all smiles and giggles.  It'll be nice when Drew's a little bigger and can really sit in the swing and actually swing.  

Drew reminds me a little bit of Humpty Dumpty in this picture.  I'm not sure if it's the shape of him in the swing and the way the swing cups him, or his bald head, or what.  I've always liked eggs, though...

I'll write more after the Hawkeye game this weekend.  I'm sure that will be fun.  Zach is so excited, he can hardly wait.  We're sitting with our neighbors BJ and Susan, and Zach loves them, especially Susan, so I'm sure Mike and I will pretty much be ignored during the game so Zach can point out all the cool things to Susan.  Either way, it'll be fun.  Let's just hope for good weather and a good game.  Go Hawks!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

That's How God Made Me

Today I was cutting Zach's fingernails and toenails (always a fun job), and there was some extra skin that was loose right around the nail on his pinky toe.  I was trying to just flake it off gently with my fingernail, and Zach kind of flinched, though I really don't think it hurt.  Here's how our conversation went:

Zach- "Ow.  That hurts."
Me- "Sorry.  I'm not trying to hurt you.  You just have some loose skin here or something."
Zach- "Well, I just have skin."
Me- "Well, it's loose and I'm trying to get it off.  It shouldn't hurt."
Zach- "Well, God made me with skin, so just leave it alone."
Me- "Oh, really?"  Trying not to laugh.
Zach- "Yeah, that's just how God made me, so just leave it alone... Why are you laughing?"

I just thought it was funny that he pulled out this whole that's-how-God-made-me thing.  All of this took place after he told me how Dad hurt him last time he cut Zach's nails.  That happened a long time ago, but I swear, this kid has a memory like a steel trap.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Drew has had a couple of big "firsts" over the past week.  He sat up for the first time a week ago, and he has now eaten not only his first taste of solid foods, but also his first full jar in one sitting!  He is a good eater!  We started with rice cereal about 2 weeks ago (after an unsuccessful first attempt about 6 weeks ago per the doctor's suggestion) and did that for a week.  It went much better this time around than the first time.  Then this past Monday we started vegetables, starting with sweet potatoes.  He liked them.  So far he also likes squash.  Last night he ate a whole jar and a little bit of a second jar.  Little piggy!  Zach likes to help feed Drew, too, but a lot of times he ends up being too entertaining, and he just distracts Drew.  Drew sure loves to watch Zach.

Here's Drew eating some sweet potatoes.  He already likes to help.

Here's a picture of Drew sitting up.  I compared it to one of Zach at about 5 1/2 months old when he started sitting up, too.  I don't think they're looking as much alike as they did as tiny infants at this point.  Drew is bigger, and either his hair is lighter, or he just doesn't have as much of it.  I can't post the picture of Zach because we took it before we got this computer and we don't have it saved on here.

Like Zach at this age, Drew is now getting more and more interested in the dogs, which is pretty fun.  He definitely is a people person, too.  If he's laying on the floor and I get up and leave him, he starts to fuss.  I think that's why putting himself to sleep for naps has not worked out yet.  He flips out if he sees me leave the room.  It's not the same at night- he seems to have that part figured out, but nap times are just difficult still.

Here's Drew checking out Maggie.  Right after I took this picture Maggie gave him a big, slobbery kiss.

Zach hasn't had any new "firsts" lately, though he will be starting preschool here in about a week and a half, so that will be his new thing.  Our neighbor asked Zach if he was excited for preschool, and Zach's verbatim response was, "Yes, I'm looking forward to it."  I was surprised to hear him say that.  On the flip side, when he pottied the other day and sprayed a little on the wall, he did say in a completely nonchalant manner, "I guess I can't go to preschool now.  Oh darn."  He didn't seem too worried about not going.  Hopefully he'll just be excited on the first day.  He also has told me that he's not nervous about preschool because he went to Vacation Bible School.  VBS did happen to be at the same place as his preschool, so every day I'm more and more glad that I had him do that.  I think it will make dropping him off there a lot easier because he's already comfortable with the location.  We have orientation next week, and Mike, Zach, and I are all going after we go out to lunch first.  I think that will get him even more excited, after he meets his teachers and sees what his classroom will look like.  I can't believe my baby is going to start preschool. 

Here are a couple of random pictures of Zach.  The first one is Zach playing pilot (whether it's a helicopter or an airplane he's flying changes from minute to minute).  It was his idea to wear the glasses and the headphones like a pilot does.  The other picture was taken on Thursday, which is trash day.  Zach lives for the trash and recycling trucks.  We're lucky that the trucks come around the same time every week, so we know when to listen for them.  It was raining this past Thursday, so he was excited to put on his raincoat from Aunt Sandy (it matches her pajama pants) and go out and say hi to the trashman.  Thankfully the trashman waves back every time.  Zach would be crushed if he didn't.

I just finished my first 10 weeks of my Farrell's Extreme Body Shaping program, and it was good.  I had my 10 week final testing today, and I met all of my goals, so I'm very happy with that.  I'm very doubtful that I'll win the $1000, but that's ok.  I am considering entering the year-long challenge, which has one $10,000 winner nationally.  I think Farrell's only has locations in Iowa and one in Omaha, though, so nationally isn't that big of a deal.  Again, I'm pretty sure I couldn't win the money, but with the year-long challenge you still have to test every 10 weeks, which would give me more motivation to stick with it all.  We'll see...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Mind of a 3 Year-Old

Just now Zach and Mike were wrestling, and Zach decided to bite Mike on the shoulder.  Mike yelled out, "OWWW!  That's a time-out!"  And Zach started crying and immediately saying, "Sorry, Daddy!  I want to kiss it!"  So when his time-out was over and Mike went to talk to him about what happened, first Zach apologized and pulled up Mike's sleeve and kissed his shoulder.  Then the conversation went a little like this:

Mike-  "Why did you bite me, Zach?"
Zach-  "Not for fun."
Mike-  Silent- not really sure what to say...
Zach-  "I was going down and my mouth was open and it was going to smack! jam! on the floor (as he hits the floor for emphasis) and so I closed it and it was on your shoulder."

Well, after Zach and Mike came back to where I was, I asked Zach why he bit Daddy, and he more or less told me the same story, and I lost it.  I could not stop laughing, even though I tried so hard.  It was just too funny of an explanation.  

And that whole, "Not for fun" thing is Zach's latest excuse anytime he does something I don't like.  At times it's a little funny, but often it's just kind of annoying.  For example, I might say, "Zach, why did you grab Maggie's fur?"  Reply- "Not for fun."  

The "smack! jam!" bit is another of his things.  He uses that to explain anytime something falls or he falls or a dog runs into him ("I was running and Maggie was running and she just hit me and I smack! jam! on the floor like this!") and he always hits the floor or his hand to emphasize the smacking and jamming that goes on.  It almost always makes me laugh, though he's as serious as can be when he's telling it.

Aaah, the mind of a three year-old...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Mighty Mississippi

This past weekend Mike and I dropped the kids of at Grandma Linda and Grandpa Curt's and headed up to northeastern Iowa for a weekend with some college (callege, for some of you) friends.  It was my first overnight away from Drew, and it was fine.  It sounds like he didn't sleep super well at Grandma and Grandpa's, but I don't think he did too badly.

Anyway, of course Drew took a wonderful nap on Friday, so we left later than we wanted.  Why is it that whenever you want a long nap, they take short naps, and when you're ok with a short nap, they sleep forever?  So, we got a little later start than we had planned, but I think that turned out to be an ok thing.  While we were on the road to Guttenberg, our friends Troy & Jenny, Arch & Jenn, and BJ & Carey were already out enjoying the river.  Somehow the jetski got flipped and, from the sounds of it, two couples (who will remain unnamed- you know who you are) nearly went to divorce court over the whole ordeal.  The remaining couple sat nearby slamming beers trying to deal with the stress of the whole situation.  So, thanks, Drew, for taking that long nap, and letting your mom and dad avoid the major stress of the day!

When we did get up to the cabin, we went out in the boat and Mike, Carey, BJ, and I think Troy did some tubing.  Troy had to work pretty hard to get Mike and BJ thrown off the tube (Carey wasn't up for a wild ride), but eventually he succeeded.  After playing around in the boat we all headed into town for dinner and then back to the cabin for a campfire.  Our friend Dave met us at the restaurant, but he had to leave his lovely wife behind because there was nobody to watch their kids.  We missed you, Laura!  And don't worry- Dave wasn't any more obnoxious than normal!

Saturday morning there was a little rain, but once it cleared up, the guys headed out to golf while we girls sat around being lazy.  It wasn't too hot, so I decided to go for a quick run, and I got back just after the guys and just in time for lunch.  We then got our suits on and headed out on the boat again.  We took the boat up by Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin, hit up a couple of sandbars, played a cornhole tournament which the Burggraafs won, although in this case the Burggraafs consisted of Mike and Dave, because I just felt like laying out and getting some sun.  The guys did some more tubing and water-skiing- I guess none of us girls felt like getting in the water.  Even Arch got on the tube, which is big because as he tells us about every 5 minutes, he can't swim.  Mike stood ready with his life jacket on while Arch was tubing just in case Arch freaked out when he got in the water.  We ended Saturday with some Casey's pizza, which still seems weird to me.  For those of you who are like me and aren't from Iowa, Casey's is a gas station chain around here, and Iowans swear by Casey's pizza.  I think it's weird to get pizza from a gas station.  Sorry Jenny O, but I don't think it's the best pizza ever.  The crust was really good, though.  

Sunday we all headed out early to get back to our families.  I think a good time was had by all.  Getting together with those friends always feels like hanging out with family; we know each other so well.  We bitch at each other, we laugh with each other, and everything else in between.  People (mostly Arch and Dave) get inappropriate, and we all just blow it off and we're still friends at the end.  We've known each other so long and done so much together that we're totally comfortable with no make-up and no showering.  It's nice to be so comfortable with friends.  Unfortunately, I had my camera with but didn't take any pictures.  I hate it when that happens.

We got back to the boys Sunday at lunchtime, just in time to see Pa (Mike's grandpa).  He and Zach had just gotten done doing some fishing, but they didn't catch anything.  Zach seemed to have had a lot of fun with Grandma and Grandpa over the weekend.  I'm just glad to be getting back to a regular week and to not be gone this weekend.  We've been out of town the last 3 weekends, and this weekend Mike is golfing in Atlantic, so I guess it'll be some long days for me, but at least I'll get to sleep in my own bed and try to have some semblance of a routine.  Hopefully we'll get to take Zach to the Iowa State Fair, and I'll get to write about that later.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Last Couple of Weeks

Wow- Drew is 5 months old today.  Where does the time go?  It seems like he was just born a few weeks ago, but at the same time, I hardly remember life without him.  Crazy.  

We're in that busy stretch of summer where it seems like there's always something going on.  Last week we went to Chicago (or the suburbs, really) for the wedding of one of my good college friends, Kurt.  I wasn't ready to leave the kids behind, so we took the in-laws with to do childcare while Mike and I went to the wedding and reception.  It was perfect.  Everyone had a great time.  We loved the children's museum we visited in Glenview on Saturday.  They really need a children's museum here.  We ended the weekend with a stop at the Premium Outlets in Aurora- they have some good shops there!

Here's Zach working hard as a check-out guy at the grocery part of the museum:

Mike and I got dressed up for the wedding:

Then this past weekend we were up in Minneapolis for my sister Sandy's baby shower.  It was a lot of fun to see my mom and my other sister Becky from Denver, as well as other family members and friends that I haven't seen in awhile.  My mom, sisters, and I went and visited my 95 year-old grandpa in his new assisted living home where he moved to in June.  He's doing ok, but he's definitely a different man than he used to be.  He seemed so frail and small, and much more mellow than he used to be.  He was really sweet when he found out Sandy's having a baby soon and he said, "You take good care of that baby in your tummy.  Take good care of her."  We don't know that the baby is a girl, but I guess that's Grandpa's prediction.  It's good we went when we did, because Grandpa seems to have taken a bad turn even in the couple of days since we saw him.

While we were up in MN, Zach had a great time meeting his new friend Henry, who, I guess you could say is his counterpart from my brother-in-law's family.  Henry is my brother-in-law Will's nephew and is about 6 months older than Zach.  The two boys had a lot of fun together and really played pretty well with each other.  One of their favorite activities was, of course, putting laundry down the laundry chute at Aunt Sandy and Uncle Will's house.  Why don't they make laundry chutes in houses anymore?  Zach and Drew also had a lot of fun seeing Aunt Becky, Aunt Sandy, Uncle Will, and Grandma Ruth again.  Of course, on the way home we hit up the Medford Outlets- just Nike, though.  

Here we are after the baby shower giving Clocker Baby (the name Zach has given the unborn baby) a little last love before we all meet him/her in person in a few weeks:

This upcoming weekend we're off to the great Mississippi with some college friends.  No kids this time.  This will be my first time away from Drew overnight, and I'm a little nervous about how he and I will do.  I'm sure we'll be fine, but he just still seems so young to leave.  Hopefully we can drive past the Williamsburg Outlets without being tempted to stop.  Three outlet stops in 3 weeks is just ridiculous!

On a totally different note, today we picked up the CD of songs from Vacation Bible School.  If I ever was worried about if Zach liked it or not, I'm not worried now.  The second we put the CD in, Zach started singing along and knew a lot of the words.  I was pretty impressed.  His favorites are the song about Samson & Delilah- "My muscles, my hair, Delilah's over there!  I don't want to cut my hair!" and the one about Joseph and his coat of many colors.  I'm amazed at what a 3 year-old can learn and remember!  From his singing and dancing to the music today, it's pretty apparent he had a blast at VBS.  He even was telling the FedEx guy who delivered a package to us all about it.  I'll give the FedEx guy credit, too- he was a good sport.  Don't you appreciate it when strangers just humor your kid?  I sure do.