Monday, September 29, 2008


This afternoon Zach and I were washing his hands after he went potty before his nap.  He told me this hilarious story-
"One time, when I was going potty, I slipped and my arms went into the potty.  It was up to my elbows on both sides!"

Mike had just told me this story this morning.  Apparently last night while I was out with some girlfriends, Zach was getting pretty fussy as he was getting ready for bed.  As he getting ready to go potty, his foot slipped or something and one arm landed in the toilet.  Gross.  Zach then flipped out about it, crying that he hurt his hip, though really Mike thought it just scared him.  He also seemed to think it was a little gross.  Thankfully he hadn't gone potty yet. 

Anyway, as Zach told me the story this afternoon, I just could not stop laughing.  Then I thought about it again as we finished reading his pre-nap story and were laying there snuggling, and I could not stop laughing.  Not a good thing when you're trying to get your toddler into sleep-mode.  

So after I got Zach down for his nap I went downstairs to start some cleaning up.  Drew was amazingly still asleep.  I was dusting in the living room and I noticed some marks on the wall in the corner where Zach likes to hide.  Upon closer inspection, I realized they weren't just marks, they were boogers.  YUCK.  I hate boogers.  I was MAD.  I've gotten after him for wiping boogers on the wall in his room and on his pants, carseat, etc.  I know picking noses is something all little kids do, and I don't think Zach does it anymore than any other kid, but still, it's gross.  I suppose I should be happy he's not eating his boogers, but I'm just so grossed out by finding them in random places.  I decided not to clean them off the wall yet because I wanted to talk to Zach about it.

After Zach got up from his nap, I took him over to the corner and pointed at the marks and said, "Zach, what're these?"  Zach very seriously said, "Boogers.  I'm sorry, Mom,"  as he gently put his hand on my elbow.  It was all I could do to not bust up laughing right then and there, but I was determined to continue this conversation in a calm and serious manner.  So instead of laughing, I told him how yucky that was and asked what we do with boogers, to which he replied, "We put them in a kleenex."  I then threatened that if I find boogers on any walls, furniture, etc., again, I will temporarily take away his helicopters.  That was a total spur-of-the-moment consequence that I thought of as I was talking.  He really loves these 2 toy helicopters he has, so I thought that'd be some incentive.  I also made him show Daddy when Mike got home from work.  As soon as Zach told Mike what they were and Mike looked at me with a grin, I busted out laughing and had to cover it up by pretending like I was coughing.  I just can't keep a straight face sometimes.  Of course both this incident and the toilet story came to mind while I was at my kickboxing class tonight and I couldn't stop laughing again.  I think I was the only person in the class with a dumb grin on my face.

It's funny how a 3 year-old can do such gross things, but still bring such a smile to my face at the exact same time...

Friday, September 26, 2008

i Got Suckered

Well, the title says it all- i Got Suckered.  Mike and I got our new iPhones yesterday.  I really was hesitant, but I did it.  Mike wanted his before he goes up to Lansing for a class so he can check his email while out of town, so he wanted to get it soon so he could get it all set up and get familiar with it.  I knew if he got one we'd be changing our service from US Cellular to AT&T, so I knew I'd probably need a new phone, too.  Plus, I'd been really hard on my RAZR- I don't know how many times I'd dropped it.  So, Mike and I headed out yesterday to go to the AT&T store to look at non-iPhones for me.  I started to think that maybe I'd like to have Internet access on my phone, and as we looked at those phones, I wasn't super-impressed.  So we went to the Apple store to check out the iPhones.  I knew this would be my downfall, and it was.  The Apple guy wasn't giving the hard sell or anything, but he told me just enough to get me hooked.  So, after being at the store for way too long, we both came home with our new iPhones last night.  I'm already loving it, of course.  I still feel like I got suckered into it, though.  After all the crap I gave Mike about it, he's loving that I got one, too.  I knew when he started talking about these phones a couple of months ago that it would only be a matter of time before he had one, and that that probably meant eventually I would, too.  Oh well.

We've been enjoying having my parents back here on the tail-end of their trip up to Minneapolis.  Earlier today they went to the Science Center with Zach (which they all really enjoyed), while Drew and I hung out at home.  It was a productive day- I made a chocolate-pumpkin cheesecake (chocolate crust), and  a new shrimp and mac and cheese dinner later that uses fontina and parmesan cheeses, pine nuts, fresh basil.  Yum!  I also vacuumed, took all 3 dogs and Drew for a walk, picked up dog poop, and mowed the lawn.  I didn't do all of that while my parents were away with Zach- some of it I needed Grandma's help in watching Drew, but still, it feels good to get some stuff done and to try some new recipes.  

My parents leave tomorrow. :-(  That's a bummer.  I think they're ready to get home and that Sadie is ready to get home, too.  I also think Maggie and Foudy are ready for Sadie to go.  All 3 dogs have gotten along really well, but I think they're all ready to get back to their normal lives.  I know Zach will be sad that Grandma and Grandpa are leaving.  For the first time ever, he's been choosing to have them put him down for naps and bedtime instead of Mike or me.  Tonight he wanted Grandpa Dick, and lucky Grandpa got to read a book that requires singing again (he had to read/sing this one yesterday at naptime, too).  Seems like Grandma and Grandpa must be doing a good job, though, because Zach keeps asking for them to do nap and bedtime.  

This afternoon Grandma took Zach out to get a new game for taking such good care of Sadie while they were in Minnesota.  Zach didn't clean up Sadie's pee either time she peed on our carpet or her puke the 2 times she threw up (once was tonight- it was one of Zach's socks); I cleaned all that up, so I'm wondering when Mom's taking me shopping for a special treat.  Just kidding, Mom!  They came home from Target with Hungry Hungry Hippos, and I gotta say, the game is just as fun now as it was when I was 5.  Mike, Zach, and I played it a bunch while dinner was in the oven, and Zach won almost every time.  I was surprised by his quickness.  And to all of our college friends who know how competitive Mike and I are when it comes to playing games, you'll be happy to know that we only argued a little bit while playing, and that most of the time Mike lost (he usually only got 3 marbles out of 20 or so).

We're watching the debate right now while my mom falls asleep on the couch.  I don't feel like McCain or Obama are saying anything new or opinion-changing, but I'm only half-listening, anyway.  Maybe the next debate will be more interesting to me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One Cute Booty

This weekend I felt like I got some time off, which was nice.  First, I had a soccer game Saturday morning, which is always fun because it means time in the car listening to whatever I want to listen to, time at my game playing a sport I love, and time to myself without toddlers or babies needing my attention.  We won our game, like 9-1 or something, which was good, too.  We have these Eastern European guys (I think they're from Serbia or Croatia, but I'm suddenly not sure) that are faster than lightning and have amazing ball-handling skills, so they score a ton of goals.  We also have this new guy on our team that is Hispanic, and rumor has it that he  plays/played for the Des Moines Menace, the semi-pro team here in Des Moines.  So put all these guys together, and we're quite the team.  I wish I could say I added a lot to the team, but I'm pretty much just one of the 3 token girls that are required to be on the field at all times.  Oh well.  I got a little frustrated Saturday when we were up by so many goals the foreign guys kept shooting instead of passing the ball to those of us who had not yet scored.  Oh well.  Maybe next game...right!

After my game I came home to find Mike watching the Hawkeye game and taping the Ryder Cup, which was no surprise.  I was happy to find out that he didn't just convince Zach how fun it would be to watch football and golf all day and that they did do a lot of playing, too.  That was a relief.  After Zach's nap we dropped the boys off at Grandpa Curt and Grandma Linda's house and Mike and I enjoyed a dinner out at Cheesecake Factory- YUM!  I had the delicious shrimp and bacon club and a slice of cheesecake that I have never had before- Brownie Sundae.  I cannot believe I've never tried that kind before, because it is right up my alley.  There's not really a crust- the bottom part is a brownie with walnuts, and then it has a layer of cheesecake on top.  That's topped with slivered almonds, hot fudge, and a cherry.  Wow.  It was so good.  I asked the waitress if it was new but she said it wasn't.  I was really shocked that I'd never ordered it before.  

So Zach spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa's so that they could take him up to Boone the next day to see Thomas the Tank Engine.  It sounds like they had a great time.  Zach enjoyed riding on Thomas and watching some sort of show.  He came home exhausted- fell asleep in the car, even.  We put him down early for his nap at 1:30 or so, and we woke him up at 5:00.  Tired boy!

While Zach was gone Mike and I pulled out the bricks around the trees in our backyard.  We planted those trees 3 years ago in honor of Zach's baptism and put these bricks around them thinking it would look nice.  Then we planted some irises around them, too.  Well, only about half the irises ever grew, and we have never really loved the look of the bricks.  They were a pain to mow around, too.  So, we dug up the irises and moved them next to the house, and put dirt and grass seed in around the trees so that new grass can grow.  Hopefully this will look better and be less of a pain to mow around.

Here's Mike working hard.

Here are the irises we replanted.  They're not much to look at now.  They took quite a beating this summer when we had all the rain and flooding, so I hope they grow next spring/summer.

Here are a couple of pictures of Drew doing what he loves to do whenever we try to change his diaper- roll over! It sure does make it hard to change him.  I just couldn't resist the pictures of that cute little butt.  

Yesterday I had to set Drew down while I quick did something, so I handed him a couple of toys.  The next thing I knew, I looked up and Maggie had his little bird toy in her mouth, just barely dangling.  So I made her drop it, and then I got a couple of pictures of what happened next.  

Notice in this first picture they're both going for the bird.  

In this picture, you can see who won.

This morning as Zach and I were eating breakfast I looked outside and this is what I saw.  It was pretty weird that there was a rainbow, considering it hadn't rained at all.  Zach immediately wanted to listen to Rainbow Connection by Kermit, so we did.  We enjoyed singing, and Zach played his cardboard banjo.

Today Mike had been home from work for a few minutes and was talking with Zach and said, "Wait a minute- I didn't get a hug and kiss from you!"  Zach's reply was classic, "Hug yourself, Dad.  And give yourself a kiss."  That cracked me up.  Zach wasn't mad or anything.  I guess he just didn't feel like getting up from his spot on the floor to give Dad a hug and kiss.

My former boss's husband was just diagnosed with cancer of the liver, pancreas, and lungs.  Ugh.  The doctors initially told him he has 2 months to 1 year to live, but they are referring him up to Mayo for a second opinion.  This tragic news really makes me think about how precious life is.  I can't even imagine the emotions and thoughts I'd be having if I thought I had a year or less to live.  So this is my depressing reminder to everyone to live each day to the fullest.  

Thursday, September 18, 2008

That Figures

Today Drew was up at 6 a.m. again.  It really is a pain when he's up that early.  Maybe I said this before, but I keep setting my alarm earlier and earlier so I can get up and shower before he's up, and in turn he keeps getting up earlier and earlier so I can't get all ready before he wakes up.  Anyway, I managed to keep him awake until after we dropped Zach off at preschool and tried to think positive thoughts about his morning nap.  No luck.  He slept for 30 minutes and then was awake.  I decided that I needed to let him try to go back to sleep on his own like he does at night, so I didn't go into his room.  After 30 minutes of crying, I decided that was enough and I got him up.  

So, the afternoon comes, and it's time for the second nap.  Again, I tried to think positive thoughts.  Well, this time he slept for about 50 minutes, which might sound great to some of you, but according to the experts, 6 month-old babies are "supposed to" take 2 hour and half to two hour naps each day, so 30 minutes and then 50 minutes just doesn't cut it.  This time, I took the opposite approach, and I hurried to his room as soon as I heard him make a noise and tried to calm him back to sleep without picking him up.  Well, whenever I do that, he just lays there and kicks his legs and moves his arms.  I can pin down an arm or two, but it's really hard to get both arms and legs, especially when you're trying to hide your face from him like I was, all the while thinking how ridiculous this was, and how I'd do about anything to get him to take a decent nap.  So then I left him in his room, and of course, he started bawling.  I knew he was tired so I let him cry for probably about 20-30 minutes to see if he'd go back to sleep, and of course he did not.  So I got him.  I'm probably just teaching him that if he cries for 30 minutes I'll come get him, but I don't feel right letting him cry much longer than that.  Even that long is hard in many ways.  First of all, I feel bad that he's sad, and second of all, I feel totally pissed that he's not sleeping when he's tired.  I have my own little tantrum downstairs and the dogs (mostly Maggie) go and hide, and then I go get Drew and he smiles at me and I'm over it.  Then the little angel just sits and plays and is happy.  

So of course Drew was tired a couple of hours later.  I put him down awake but sleepy at 4:55 and got ready to go work out.  I left at 5:15, and he was still sleeping soundly.  I got home at 6:35, and, go figure, he's STILL ASLEEP.  That little stinker took his longest nap of the day at 5 o'clock at night, when I was not even home- just Mike was.  Of course he takes a great nap for Dad.  Maybe he knew I was going to work out and that Mike just wouldn't be as interesting as me.  Just kidding.  Anyway, as Mike finished eating around 6:40, he went upstairs and woke Drew up.  So that was at least an hour and 40 minute nap.  Why can't he do that earlier in the day?!  It's so frustrating!

Speaking of frustration, Mike is feeling very frustrated right now and throwing his own little tantrums.  Mike really, really wants an iPhone.  The problem is that our current contract is not up until April, and Mike wants that iPhone yesterday.  So he's trying to get out of our contract on the basis that when US Cellular changed the text messaging rates on Sept. 1, that made our contract null and void.  They're not giving one inch on this, and it's really pissing Mike off.  It's a little funny to see all the trouble he's going to just to get rid of a perfectly fine phone and contract for a fancier phone and more expensive contract.  I mean, how are we even surviving without GPS, iTunes access, and Internet access right on our cell phones?  I'm not sure we can hang on until April!  At this point Mike has figured out that if we terminate our contract now, we'll have to pay a $90 penalty, and I think he's contemplating it.  I don't think he'll do it, but the thought has crossed his mind.  Never fear, though- I'll do my best to keep that $90 in our pockets.  It's unfortunate that I didn't get a picture of Mike on the phone arguing with the US Cellular guy.  That would have been kind of funny to post here. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Today started out a little bit frustrating.  First, Drew was awake at about 6 a.m., which I knew would mean it would be a struggle to get him to stay awake until after we dropped Zach off at preschool at 9.  I finally got him up and fed him and hoped he'd fall asleep eating.  He seemed to be doing just that until my parents' dog barked her loud, drawn-out bark at some imaginary thing outside.  That woke Drew right up again, and Zach, too, who started yelling at Sadie (the dog).  He did ok staying awake until we were almost home from preschool.  Then he took a very short nap, maybe 30 minutes or so.  That drives me nuts- when I know he's tired but he just won't sleep.  Oh well.  He's been sleeping now for an hour and 20 minutes, so I guess I can't complain.  Yesterday he was a terrible napper, so this is already a step up from that. 

I was on the ball and ready to leave early to pick Zach up for preschool when I realized that Drew had a couple of splinters in his hand, so I ran and got my tweezers to try to get them out.  While trying to remove the splinters (unsuccessfully), I thought Drew smelled a little poopy.  So I picked him up and brought him into the living room for a quick diaper change that turned out to be a big ordeal.  I pulled off his pants and realized that in doing so, we had gotten poop all down his leg and covering his sock.  It was also all over his onesie and the inside of his jeans.  Ugh.  At this point it was on the carpet as well.  Great.  So I picked him up carefully so that I didn't get poop all over myself, and I carried him upstairs.  Then I wandered around frantically trying to figure out how to get his clothes off without getting poop all over everything.  I started a bath and grabbed an old towel and laid him down on that to get his poopy clothes off.  I had to rinse all of the clothes in the toilet and use a bunch of baby wipes before putting Drew into the bathtub.  That always feels like a catch-22- he definitely needs a bath because he's had poop all over him, but I really don't want to get poop in the bathtub.  Anyway, I did an extremely quick bath and got him dressed in random clothes because at this point we were about late for preschool pick-up.  We were the second to last car there, but the teachers were great about it all.  Zach was totally oblivious and just excited to tell me that they learned the song about apples and bananas where you replace the vowels with other vowels.  So you  say upples and bununus (long U sound) instead of apples and bananas.  That cracked me up because I remember learning that song in preschool, too.  Some things never change, I guess.  

We had to run to the jewelers to pick up my ring, and while we were there, Zach chatted up the computer guy that was working on the store's website or something.  He was not shy at all, and thankfully the guy was nice to him.  Then we ran to Hy-Vee to pick up a couple of things, and Zach had a hard time listening and following directions.  So on the way out he told me he wanted to hear the Superman song (the theme from Superman), and I told him that he didn't get to choose the music because he had such a hard time following directions.  So he started in on his big, fake cry.  Here's the part that always makes me laugh- Drew must be onto Zach, because anytime Zach fake-cries like that, Drew gets all cracked up and laughs at Zach.  So either Drew is a really good brother and he's trying to cheer Zach up, or he's a typical brother and he's laughing at his big brother's misfortune.  Either way, I think it's funny.  

After lunch I got Drew down for his nap (which he just woke up from as I write this) and Zach and I headed outside to play.  Well, my parents' dog just didn't know what to think of Zach and me being up on the swingset and thought she just had to join us.  Zach thought we should just "ganore" (ignore) her, but Sadie tried to climb the rockwall anyway.  However, paws just don't work as well as hands on that, so she came around to the ladder and after a few tries, successfully climbed up into the clubhouse part.  Once up there, though, she didn't know what to do.  I tried to show her how to go down the slide, but instead she opted to jump down the rockwall side, which really worried me.  I could just see her break her leg or something and need surgery.  I wouldn't want to have to call my parents to tell them about that.  She climbed up a few times, even though I tried to get her to stay down.  Then she tried to play with Maggie and Foudy.  Foudy wasn't interested because there was grass to be eaten, but Maggie played a little.  Zach tried to play, too, but I discouraged that simply because with Maggie and Sadie running around, Zach was likely to get plowed over, and those two each have about 30-40 pounds on him.  Instead we enjoyed watching them in the beautiful weather.  

Here's Sadie coming up the ladder.

And here's Zach playing with Sadie and Maggie.

And here are Zach & Sadie just loving on each other.

Tonight we had one of those tough love parenting moments.  Zach wasn't all that into dinner tonight, but he knew if he finished his salad and pork chop that he would be allowed to have one of the cookies I was making.  He was taking forever to eat, as usual, and he starting saying, "If I don't want a cookie, that's ok," which we agreed with.  Well, finally he got down from the table and said he was done eating.  This was after sitting there for about 25 minutes and eating only a few bites.  We said ok and he started playing.  After about 5-10 minutes, he suddenly got back up to the table and decided he wanted to eat more.  I think he could smell those fresh cookies that were in the oven.  We've said before that once you leave the table and say you're done, you're done, so we had to stick with that rule.  Zach started crying and saying, "I'm still hungry!  I'm so hungry, though!"  When your kid is crying and saying he's hungry, it's really hard to deny him food, but we were sure it was just a ploy to get cookies.  While he was crying, though, Drew was laughing at him, which, I hate to admit, made me smile.  I think our consistency in the past with this rule paid off, though, because he gave up his fight pretty quickly and asked to go downstairs to play.  It's one of those moments where you know it'd be easier in the moment to give in, but better in the long run to stick to your guns.  I feel like I've just written an episode of Full House or something, where Uncle Jesse teaches Stephanie a lesson and in the end she tells him how much she learned and gives him a big hug.  

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Weekend Happenings

This weekend started out with some excitement on Friday, as we were awaiting the arrival of Grandma Ruth, Grandpa Dick, and their dog Sadie.  Zach had been waiting excitedly for a couple of days for their arrival.  They got here around 1 on Friday, just in time for lunch and for me to realize that my freezer was not working.  A bit of panic ensued (on my part), as I realized that the freezer had not been working for some time, and all the frozen stuff was starting to thaw.  Popsicles, ice cream, and even frozen pizza were not really of concern.  I was more worried about the meat in there and especially the major supply of breastmilk that was frozen and starting to thaw.  That stuff is like liquid gold, and I worked hard to get it all stored up.  I did not want it all going to waste!  So I quickly started calling random appliance repair places and asking 2 important questions- do you repair Maytag refrigerators, and can you come fix it today?  Thankfully I found one place that could come that day.  It took awhile, though, so my parents had to go out and get some ice so we could fill up some coolers with ice and the important items from the freezer.  The repair guy finally got there and determined it was some start-up device.  He gave my dad a bit of a hard time when my dad asked some questions about how he knew that that was the problem (he didn't seem to do any tests or anything, but his answer was, "I've been doing this for 30 years!" so my dad let it go at that), but he got it fixed, so that was ok with me.  

Saturday morning my parents left to head to Minneapolis to see my sister, brother-in-law, and new nephew, and Mike and I went to our second Hawkeye game of the season.  The forecast called for rain, lots and lots of rain, so I was a little less than thrilled to be going to the game.  However, it was Iowa vs. Iowa State, which is always a good game, and a fun atmosphere to be in, especially when it's at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.  Well, we left later than we planned (imagine that) and got to Iowa City to find craziness all over- the rain was not deterring any fans, Hawkeye or Cyclone, from going to the big game.  After paying $15 to park in somebody's driveway a mile or so from the stadium, we were finally settled.  Thankfully, that walk was probably when it was raining the hardest.  After that it rained intermittently throughout, but not too hard or too much.  It was weird, though, because at times it was almost stifling hot (especially in my $10 plastic rain suit I got at Target), but then at times there would be this awesome breeze.  Anyway, I ended up being really glad we went.  It was a good game that the Hawks won 17-5, thanks to a great 4th quarter.  We had awesome seats, thanks to my brother-in-law's family- the 40 yard-line, 8 rows up, right behind the Hawkeye bench.  Pretty cool.  And it's always fun to go to a game with my brother-in-law Will and his younger brother Rob.  Whenever I'm around them I wonder if that's what Zach and Drew will be like in 37 years or so.  Rob seems to get pretty excited about the game.  He gets worked up about good and bad plays, good and bad calls by the refs, and obnoxious fans around him (like the Cyclone fan behind him).  Will, on the other hand, remains pretty mellow throughout the game, never getting too worked up about anything.  It's not that Will doesn't care; he's just less obvious about it, I guess.  I will say this, though- Will has the loudest clap I've ever heard, I think.  When the fans are trying to make a lot of noise and Will whistles and claps, I always think that my eardrums are bursting.  Ok, that may be an exaggeration, but seriously, Will must have some special way of cupping his hands or something, because his claps are really loud.

I didn't take my camera to the game this time because of the rain, so here's a picture from last time that I just think is kinda cool.

After the game we got out of there really quickly and avoided the major traffic, which was really nice. I hate waiting in traffic. Once we got home, we went down to our neighbors' house to hang out. Zach had a blast playing football with the other kids, and Mike and I had fun socializing and meeting our neighbors' friends. We ended the evening sitting around the firepit, and we were happy to discover that our baby monitor works 2 houses down! Yippee! That means that we can put the boys to bed and still hang out past 8 o'clock. That was a great revelation!

On Sunday Zach and I went to a birthday party for a friend of his who turned 4.  There were a few other kids there, but Zach was the youngest, other than the little brother of the birthday boy.  I was the only mom there because the other kids were all neighbors.  I made a mental note to really hammer home the issue of manners with Zach and Drew, because a few of the kids at the party had no manners.  When I was a teacher I totally stressed manners with my students because it's a total pet peeve of mine when people are rude.  I realize the kids yesterday were only 5 and 6 years-old and their parents weren't around, but seriously, if Zach ever acts the way a couple of those boys did (one boy in particular) and I find out, I will be so upset.  One boy was making all kinds of demands, he said he didn't like anything that the hostess served for lunch, never said please or thank you, and when we had cake and ice cream, he only wanted ice cream and kept saying, "Cake stinks!"  while the other kids were eating theirs.  It took all I had to not say something to him about how rude he was being.  If my kids are ever at your house and are being rude like that, please call them on it!  Ok, I'm done with my rant.

I'm always amazed at how long of a post I can write when I think I have nothing to say. 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What would we do without dogs?

Every day when the boys wake up from their naps, the dogs get really excited.  In fact, when Foudy realizes that one of the boys is awake and that I'm going up to his room, she runs upstairs and waits outside that boy's door.  When Zach wakes up and just comes downstairs, Foudy grabs the nearest toy and barks excitedly, wagging her tail and trying to see him.  So despite the fact that Zach definitely annoys her sometimes, she loves him.

Today after Drew woke up from his nap, I had him sitting in his crib while I put some clothes away in his room.  Foudy heard me talking to him, so she came wandering into the room.  She didn't come in right away because I had been trying to get him back to sleep, but that obviously didn't work.  Anyway, when she came in, I put the crib railing down and told Foudy to come over so she could see Drew.  We used to do this when it was Zach's crib, and the dogs would stand on their hind legs and put their front paws up on the railing.  Zach loved it.  So, I called Foudy over to do that, expecting to get a smile out of Drew, as he is starting to love the dogs as much as Zach always has.  Well, instead of jumping up, Foudy jumped in.  She thought she'd just join Drew in the crib and cozy up.  It was so cute, I had to get a picture.  Then she laid down and snuggled him, so I had to get another picture.  

If you're not a dog-lover, I'm sure you're freaking out right now that the dog was in my baby's crib.  First, let me say that the dogs are not allowed in the kids' rooms  when they're sleeping, although I frequently have to kick Maggie out from under Drew's crib when I'm trying to put him down for naps.  Second, I was about to take the sheet off to wash it, and I did just that about a minute after I took these pictures.  So Drew is sleeping peacefully right now on a clean, dog hair-free sheet.

I'm just so glad that we have dogs.  I think it's really important for kids to grow up with pets because it teaches them so much about love, compassion, and responsibility.  I can't count the number of times that Zach has played with Maggie or Foudy outside while I'm making dinner or something, and the laughs that come from him are these wonderful belly-laughs.  I look outside to see the dogs having fun, too.  As a kid I was really, really into my dogs, and already I see that in Zach.  I just can't imagine our lives without those dogs.

On a totally different note, Zach is really enjoying preschool.  Today we got to take snacks.  We decided on dried blueberries, string cheese, and some V8 Fusion Mango-Peach juice.  Zach thought it was all very good, and the teachers were happy, too.  When I picked Zach up the teacher said something about what a happy boy he is, so that was good to hear.  That was probably her nice way of saying that he talks nonstop, but that's ok.  I'd rather have him happy and talking than sad/mad and quiet.  

After picking Zach up we stopped at the jewelers to pick up my wedding ring.  For the past few weeks I've been trading off wearing my engagement and wedding rings because I've had them both resized.  For a long time they've been too big and can just fall right off my finger, so I decided I needed to get them resized.  I did the engagement ring first, and then when it was done I did the wedding ring.  Well, then I realized that by resizing the engagement ring, the engraving inside was gone, so today when I picked up the newly sized wedding ring I dropped off the engagement ring again to be re-engraved.  Charles, the manager or owner, tried to talk me into getting Mike a new watch for Christmas.  I'm sure their watches are way out of my price range.  I didn't have the guts to tell him that Mike just bought a nice, new watch on Ebay, either.  I used having the boys with me as an excuse as to why I couldn't stay and look, so I made a mental note to have the boys with me next week when I pick up my engagement ring again so I can't get suckered into looking at watches then, either.

When we got home from the jewelry store, we could hear the construction vehicles on the road a block over.  Zach got on his bike and we put Drew in the stroller and headed over to check out the action.  I'm glad we did.  We got to see a bulldozer moving a bunch of dirt around, a mini-excavator moving a huge spool of cable, a compactor flattening out dirt, and a bunch of tipper trucks that would come in with huge loads of dirt and dump them over sideways.  It was something I never would have stopped to watch a few years ago, but now that I'm a mom to little boys, I know this is just one of many times I'll stop at a construction site to watch the machines.  On the way back to our house Zach was having trouble getting up someone's driveway to get onto the sidewalk.  Sometimes his training wheels are too low so the back wheel of his bike just spins.  Anyway, I gave him a little push and told him to pedal, but it wasn't enough to really get him going, so I encouraged him on saying, "Come on, Zach!  Let's go!"  And Zach's response as he tried to pedal was, "Work with me, Mom!  Work with me!"  That cracked me up.

We are excitedly awaiting the arrival of Grandma Ruth, Grandpa Dick, and Sadie, their dog.  Right now they're in the middle of Nebraska (poor things), and they'll be here some time tomorrow.  They'll stay overnight and then head up to meet their latest grandson, my nephew Anders.  Sadie will be staying with us.  Zach is excited to see Grandma and Grandpa, and excited to have Sadie stay for a little while.  He already has plans on what he'll play with her and how he'll brush her.  Like I said before, I love having dogs.  I'm so glad that Zach is a dog lover already.  

One last note- tonight we ran out to the mall to see if we could find rain gear for the big football game this weekend, as rain is in the forecast.  We also brought some clothes we wanted to get rid of because Younkers is having their Goodwill sale, where you get a 20% off coupon for each item of clothing you bring in to donate to Goodwill.  Well, we didn't find any rain gear, but I found some other great deals.  I got a pair of Calvin Klein jeans and a Calvin Klein knit shirt, each normally $47.99, for $9.60 apiece.  I couldn't use my 20% off coupons on those because they were on clearance, but I didn't know that when I got to the register.  I was sort of expecting to get 20% off the $47.99 prices, so I was already thinking about if I would return these items before ever taking the tags off (a problem my sisters and I have a lot).  You can imagine my surprise when the saleslady said that without using the coupon each item was just $9.60.  Woohoo!  There's nothing I love more than a good deal!  

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Anybody Up for a Challenge?

I think this may be a random, rambling blog of my thoughts.  First, Drew had his 6 month check-up today.  It went fine.  At 17 lbs. 10 oz. he is in the 50th percentile for weight, 49th percentile for height at 26.5 inches, and 68th percentile for head circumference.  He's gone down a bit in weight as far as his percentile goes, but he's still two lbs. more than Zach was at 6 months, so I'm not worried.  He's also one inch taller than Zach was.  The doctor was very happy with his social skills and his ability to sit up and stuff.  

Later today Zach, Drew, and I went on 2 walks.  The first one was after we picked Zach up from Grandma Linda & Grandpa Curt's, where he was while Drew and I went to the doctor and ran errands.  Zach has been kinda weird about riding his bike lately, like he's kinda chicken about it.  But today it was his idea, so I hopped on that right away.  It was almost time for Drew to eat, so we quickly got inside, got Drew out of the carseat, and off we went.  The second nap was after the boys' naps, and this time we took the dogs with us.  Zach decided he would be the leader, and that I should follow him.  So, when we turned on the street we often turn on, Zach started in with the fire hydrants.  He loves fire hydrants.  On this particular stretch of the walk, there are about 7 fire hydrants, and we have to stop, Zach gets off his bike, and then we both basically pet the fire hydrant.  Other things we did on the walk included sitting on big rocks in somebody's front yard and sitting in someone's grass.  Zach really wanted to stay at the rocks for awhile, and I sat for a few seconds to be a good sport, but then I told Zach we should move on because the homeowners might think it's weird that we're sitting on their rocks.  Zach was funny when he wanted to sit in somebody else's grass.  Our lawn guy came today, so we had a sign warning to stay off the grass.  So when we get to these other people's grass, Zach hovers above it and asks me if he can sit on it.  I told him yes, and he said, "Well, I wasn't sure, because they put all that seasoning on it."  I guess he thought that since our lawn got treated, they all did.  I thought it was funny that he called it seasoning.

So I have an idea that may be a long shot.  I read about this local running group that is participating in a challenge of running 20 races in 2008.  I think that's a cool challenge.  They started early in the year, though, and since there are only 3.5 months left in 2008, I don't think I can do that.  But here's what I'm thinking.  Maybe I can do one race a month for the rest of 2008.  That's only 4 races, but since I'm not doing a ton of running because I'm doing kickboxing and resistance bands, it still seems like a challenge.  Then another thought I have is that maybe in 2009 I'll set a goal of doing a series of races, like one or two each of a 5k, 8k, 10k, maybe a 10 miler, and a half-marathon.  I don't think I'll really want to do a whole marathon, but maybe that will change.  Obviously I need to do some more thinking on this, but if I'm not starting until 2009, I've got some time to figure it out.  Anybody want to join me in this challenge?  Sisters, are you in?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Picture Overload

I haven't blogged in a few days because not much has been going on, yet somehow I'm exhausted from feeling busy with plain-old everyday life stuff.  Well, that and the fact that Mike golfed all day Saturday and half the day Sunday, so I didn't get much of a chance to recharge my batteries before going into the long weekdays.  

The big news around here is that my new nephew finally has a name.  Sandy and Will are unique in that they don't like to do anything too quickly- eat dinner (Will is probably about as slow of an eater as Zach is, and that is SLOW), get married (they were together 7 years before they finally decided to get married), have kids (married 6 years before this little guy was born), etc.  So it really shouldn't be a surprise that naming their son took some time.  I like that they don't hurry through life- we should all learn a lesson from them about slowing down.  However, I was starting to get impatient, wondering what the heck (a phrase that Zach picked up from Uncle Will and is saying quite a lot- thanks, Will) to call this little guy.  Anyway, all that time proved to be useful in that they picked a great name.  Anders Wilson D. (I'm not putting that in for privacy purposes).  They wanted a family name, and so Anders comes from my grandma's maiden name, which was Anderson.  Wilson comes from Will's side of the family.  You can read a more detailed explanation and see many adorable pictures of my little blonde nephew if you click on Sandy & Will's link on the side of my blog.  He is so cute!  

Here are some random pictures.  Let's see, first there's Zach doing a crayon/rock activity.  You heat up the rocks in the oven and melt the crayons on it.  The rocks end up looking pretty cool. However, on this particular occasion, Zach was really into the brown crayon, so lots of the rocks ended up looking like big chocolate chunks.

Here's Drew posing in the rocking chair for his 6 month pictures.  I'm not sure, but I think maybe he's sticking his tongue out a little.  

Here is Drew taking his own picture.  

Ok, not really, but it looks like one of those pictures you take of yourself.

And here is where the onslaught of pictures starts.  Yesterday we had Drew's 6 month studio session.  Warning- LOTS of photos below.  I just couldn't narrow it down.

This is Drew when we told him that Aunt Sandy and Uncle Will still hadn't decided on a name for his new cousin, even though they'd been home from the hospital for a couple of days already.

But then we told him that we were sure Aunt Sandy and Uncle Will would come up with something great, and Drew felt better.

Now here's a bunch that just show what a happy baby Drew is.  I originally had his pictures scheduled for a time when Zach would be at preschool, but since I've figured out that's generally Drew's naptime, I had to reschedule.  I'm so glad I did.  The thing that got these great smiles from Drew was Mike tickling Zach.  Drew thinks Zach laughing is the greatest thing ever, so he smiled really big every time Zach got all cracked up.  So, Zach was very helpful at this picture appointment.

Finally, here's a little progression of Drew in a chair.  These were the last photos we took of him, and Mike and I think they really show his personality, which is coming out more and more- very curious, silly, and happy.

I'll try to not get quite so picture-crazy next time.  Judging by the number of pictures on this blog entry, I'm sure you can imagine what it was like in the studio trying to narrow down our choices so we didn't spend a fortune on Drew's pictures.  We actually got it down to 3 poses in about 15 minutes.  Mike had a tee-time that was coming up rather quickly, so we were under the gun.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'm an Aunt Again!!

Early this morning, after a long, drawn-out labor and delivery, my sister Sandy gave birth to a beautiful baby boy!!!  He weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces and is 20 inches long.  He was born at 1:40 a.m.  You can see pictures by going to my sister's blog- just click on Sandy and Will over on the side where I have other blogs listed.  He is beautiful!!  This little baby boy is unnamed as of now.  I just talked to Sandy and she sounds good, but very tired.  Hopefully today she and Will will come up with a name.  Zach thought if they weren't going to stick with Clocker Baby that they could use Wookie/Woogie (I'm not sure if he says it with a K or a G sound), and call him Wook, which sort of sounded like Luke.  So that was my suggestion to Zach, that they could use Luke, but he seemed to think Wook was better.  I ended up telling him that we'd just let his parents name him.  Anyway, congratulations to Sandy and Will.  I know they'll be awesome parents and have so much fun with this little guy.  I'm excited that Drew now has a boy cousin just 6 months younger than he is.  What fun they will have growing up together!!  I am so excited to meet this little guy- I can hardly wait to get up to Minneapolis!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Random Stuff

First, I'm so excited to say that anytime now I will be an aunt again.  My sister Sandy in Minneapolis is in labor.  It's been a long day for her, so hopefully that little girl or boy will come soon!  I cannot wait to find out if I have another nephew or my first niece, and what his/her name is.  Keep it going, Sam- I know you're doing great!

While Zach and I were getting ready for his nap today and praying for Clocker Baby (that is what Zach named his new cousin a long time ago- it will be hard to call him/her something else), Zach randomly asked me, "Will I die sometime?"  I have no idea where that question came from, because we don't really talk about death very often.  I told him that he would, but probably not until he is very old.  He said, "I don't want to die, though."  I tried to assure him that dying isn't a bad thing.  Then he started telling me that after you die you come back and have more and more birthdays.  It was all a very interesting conversation to have.  I kind of tried to change the subject because I wasn't sure I was handling it right.  Oh well.

Zach said he's excited for preschool tomorrow.  Tomorrow is the first day that I am not supposed to go in- I'm just supposed to drop him off in the drop-off line and his teachers will meet him at the car.  I hope that goes well.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Zach had his first day of preschool today.  This morning he seemed a little unsure.  When I told him that he got to go to preschool today, his response was, "I don' t want to go."  I told him he'd get to do lots of fun playing there, and he said, "But I just want to play here."  I was feeling a little uneasy about how it would all go.  But then I reminded him that they'd also have snack, which is something that is generally enticing to him.  He was a little more interested.  Anyway, as the morning went on, he didn't argue at all with me when I said it was time to get dressed for preschool, or later when I said we needed to get his shoes on and go.  So that helped me feel more at ease.  He asked as we pulled into the church parking lot, "Are some kids scared?"  I told him yes, and of course, he asked why (as he often says, why is his best question).  After I explained why they might be scared I asked if he was, and he said no.  

The preschool director was outside greeting kids and asked Zach right away what he did on Saturday.  He gave her a blank look, as I thought hard to myself, "What DID we do Saturday?"  Then she said, "Were you in Iowa City?"  Turns out she was at the Hawkeye game, too, and saw us there.  She has a great memory to know Zach after just meeting him a few times.  That mention of the Hawkeye game got things off to a great start.  We then walked into his classroom and one of his teachers, Mrs. Gray, greeted him right away.  We got the papers out of his bag and he went to put the bag in his cubby, and the other teacher, Mrs. Johnson, met him there to say hello.  He immediately started telling her about all of the things we had ironed onto his schoolbag, the different sports balls and the skulls and crossbones.  He was obviously excited to tell her about those things, so that was good.  I interrupted him to say goodbye, and he gave me a hug and Drew and I were off.  Zach never looked back.  Phew.  I felt good about how things were going.

When we picked Zach up a couple of hours later, Mrs. Johnson said things went really well.  The first thing Zach said when he got in the car was, "So I had fun today!  I made a new friend- a boy."  That was good.  He didn't know the boy's name, though.  Getting details from Zach can be difficult, unless you quit asking questions.  Then details randomly come out.  He did tell me that they had pretzels, cheese, and juice for a snack, and that he looked at a fire engine book.  Later he told Mike that he painted and that his picture had to dry.  He said he painted with another boy.  I asked him if he and the boy talked while they painted and after he said no and I asked why, he said, "We didn't have anything to talk about," in the most casual, kind of "Duh, Mom," kind of way.  He was happy that he knew his teachers' names, and he told us that one was wearing white and one was wearing blue.  He also said later that there are 4 boys in his class.  I'm not sure how many boys there are, but I'm pretty sure it's more than 4.  One other thing he said was that he wants to go to preschool all the time.  So, I'd say that overall it was a great first day of preschool.

I definitely enjoyed the time Zach was at preschool.  Drew slept for about an hour of that time, so I got the kitchen cleaned up, some laundry done, checked my email, and vacuumed upstairs.  I could get used to this!

Oh, here's the standard first day of school picture of Zach.  

Monday, September 1, 2008

A 3 Year-Old's Best Weekend Ever

I think this weekend has to be at the top of Zach's list for best weekends ever. First, he got to go to Pa's house and go to the Hawkeye game. Then, on Sunday after church and naps, we headed out to our neighbor Molly's parents' house.  Molly, Brad, and their son Cooper, who is 9 months old, were staying up there over the weekend taking care of all of the animals. Zach got to ride one of the horses with Molly and by himself. He wasn't nervous or scared at all- Molly said right after he got on he asked to go fast. After riding the horse, Zach got to help drive the MULE- which is a kind of truck, not an animal. He loved doing that, too.  Then he got to brush one of the horses and feed some of them.  He thought it was pretty cool.

Here are Zach and Molly riding on P.J.

Zach liked brushing P.J., too.

Zach thought it was fun to feed the mule and the horse.

After enjoying his time at the farm, we dropped Zach off at Grandma Cynthia and Grandpa Kevin's house for a sleepover. This was not just any sleepover, though. Zach and Grandpa camped out in the tent in the backyard. Zach got to help set the tent up and everything. It sounds like he had a difficult time settling down at bedtime because he was so excited to be camping out, and he was up around 6-6:30, I think, so needless to say, by lunchtime Zach was pretty tired. Thankfully he took a LONG nap today and went to bed earlier than usual. He spent the morning "playing all kinds of stuff" (his words) with Grandma Cynthia while Mike and Kevin did some painting. 

While Zach was at Grandma & Grandpa's last night Drew, Mike, and I headed back up to Molly's parents' place to grill some burgers and just hang out with Brad, Molly, and Cooper. Zach absolutely loves our neighbors- all of them- Chuck & Joyce, BJ & Susan, and Brad & Molly- so when we're with them, he talks nonstop and wants a lot of attention. I'm so happy he loves our neighbors, and it's great that they all love him back. That being said, it was nice to hang out with our friends without Zach there, because we could actually have a nice conversation with Brad and Molly without being constantly interrupted by Zach. Drew and Cooper aren't really into interrupting yet, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

We ended the weekend with the boys' first bath together. In this picture I think Drew looks a little like the old man they use for those bitter beef face commercials.

Tomorrow is Zach's first day of preschool. I got his name ironed onto his bag today, along with some other little patches he picked out at Michael's yesterday of footballs, basketballs, soccer balls, baseballs, and a couple of skull & crossbones, since he's into pirates. His bag looks good, and he likes it. I think he's pretty excited about preschool tomorrow. Hopefully it will all go well! I'm sure I'll have more to write about tomorrow.