Friday, October 31, 2008

A Story Few Will Appreciate

Really only a few of you will appreciate this story.  Like Will, Rob, Mike, and maybe anybody else who is both a Hawkeye and Star Wars fan.

This morning Zach wanted to play with the lightsaber application on my iPhone.  Originally I thought it was dumb of Mike to download this application, as all you do is move your phone around and it sounds like a lightsaber.  However, then I saw how much Zach enjoyed playing with it, and I thought it might come in handy if we're ever somewhere where we have to wait a long time and the usual tricks are not working.  So anyway, I've only used the application about once, so Zach knew more about how to work it than I did, which is kind of funny given that he's 3 years-old.  So he shows me how you can see the lightsaber close up and picks his color/character.  Then he starts using it and says to me, "I think this guy is Moeaki."  I said, "Really?  Moeaki?"  Zach said, "Yeah, his name is Moeaki."  For those of you non-Hawkeye fans, Tony Moeaki is tight-end for the Hawkeyes, and is a good player.  Obviously Zach's heard his name more than once.  Anyway, I figured that Mike would be tickled by his son's combination of Star Wars and Hawkeye football.

Like I said, a story few could appreciate.

Still working on getting some Halloween pictures up.  Hopefully I'll get it done tonight!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More Inappropriate Laughing

It's been a whirlwind few days here.  Mike was out of town from last Thursday through Tuesday, leaving me with the boys for 5 days.  That allowed plenty of time for me to sit back and reflect upon motherhood, that is, at about 9 o'clock each night after the boys had gone to bed and I had finally cleaned up the breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes, the toys that were all over, fed the dogs for the first time all day and took a shower, and just before I fell asleep on the couch exhausted.  Ok, so I exaggerate a little, but seriously, I don't know how single moms do it, especially when there's more than one kid.  Thankfully Mike's parents were able to come over so I could still go work out on Friday and Monday, and Zach went to play with them on Sunday when he decided he was sick of just me.  Seriously, he started asking on Saturday when Dad was coming back, after just a day and a half of Mike being gone.  That's ok.  Really, we got along pretty well and Zach and I never had any major blow-outs, so that was a blessing.  

Anyway, Mike flew in on Tuesday, so Drew and I picked Zach up at preschool and then went straight to the airport to pick up Mike, and then we drove straight up to Minneapolis so we could attend my grandpa's funeral.  We got to Sandy and Will's place and were able to hang out for a little bit before going to dinner.  It was great to see Sandy, Will, Anders, my mom, and my dad again.  It was fun to see how Anders has changed even in the few weeks since I last saw him.  I could tell he is able to see more because he would focus on things and not have that glazed over look in his eyes.  He also did lots of smiling, which was so precious.  I can't wait to see him next!

Wednesday we had Grandpa's funeral, which was very nice.  It was good to see my aunts & uncles and cousins again, as well as all of my cousins' kids.  Our family is growing, that's for sure.  My mom and aunt did a really good job of planning Grandpa's service.  My mom read a letter she wrote to her dad, and my aunt sang a beautiful song while her grandson accompanied her on the guitar.  My cousin, Sandy, and I all read bible verses.  On Tuesday night Sandy and I were looking at a very old bible to see what the verses were that we would be reading.  One was Psalm 23, which was no big deal because we were familiar with it.  The other, however, was Psalm 90, verses 1-6, and Sandy and I were not familiar with that.  Well, the bible we were reading Tuesday night was very old, and the language was very difficult to understand.  It was full of "Thou" and things like "witherith" and other words like that.  In addition, it had random words in italics, so it would say something like, "Thou art the grass which shall grow up in the morning."  That is not a quote, just something I made up.  Anyway, as Sandy and I were reading it Tuesday night, she was being silly and putting emphasis on the italicized words, and we were getting all cracked up.  Sandy mentioned something about how she'd probably be reading it at the funeral and think of the silly way she was reading it that night, and we'd start laughing.  Sandy and I are really bad about getting the giggles in church and feeding off each other.   So, the time comes for us to read during the service, and we go up to the podium.  I read the 23rd Psalm first.  Then I stepped to the side so Sandy could read.  This version of Psalm 90 was in more modern language, so it wasn't so hard to read.  I'll be honest- I was hardly even paying attention to Sandy until she mispronounced the word sons- she said "sahns," I think.  I heard her correct herself and thought to myself, "She said 'sahns' instead of 'sons'- he he!" And that was where it started.  I began to laugh, and then thought of us talking about laughing the night before, and it got worse from there.  Talk about inappropriate laughing.  I was at my grandpa's funeral, in front of the whole church, during a bible reading that was not humorous in any way, and I was laughing.  Then Sandy glanced over at me and almost lost it herself, as I tried to put my head down as far as it would go and will myself to stop laughing.  I figured that the people at the funeral would either think I was starting to cry or they would just wonder what I was laughing at.  How embarrassing.  Kudos to Sandy for not losing it up there, because if she had started laughing while I was reading, I would not have been able to keep it together.  Sorry about that, Sam.  The rest of the funeral went well, and nobody else laughed at the wrong time.  The minister was great, too.

After the service we had lunch at the church and then headed to the cemetery.  The drive to the cemetery was neat because we drove through St. Paul, passing the area where my mom and her siblings grew up, the street that my dad and his brothers grew up on, the area where my great-grandma used to live, and crossing Summit, which is the street where the Twin Cities Marathon ends (my sisters and I have all run that marathon, and Summit is a street with gorgeous, huge houses, but it's a hill and it's tough at the end of a marathon).  It was a beautiful fall day, and I would have enjoyed the drive a little more if I wasn't stressing about my tired baby in the back seat and thinking about how long it would be until we were on the road back to Iowa.  

We finally left the cemetery and got on the road to home.  It was a long drive, but we stopped in Ames to eat at Hickory Park.  Lots of people love Hickory Park, but it's not my favorite.  I like to go there for the sundaes, but I just didn't feel like ice cream last night, which is crazy.  Zach was very sweet, at the restaurant, sitting by me and snuggling.  He ate a good dinner and got to have the scoop of ice cream that comes with a kid's meal.  He decided he was done before he ate all the ice cream, though, and I said to him, "Is your tummy full?"  Zach's response was, "Yeah.  My tummy said it wants to watch a movie in the car."  That made me smile.  We only use the DVD player in the car on long trips, and it's amazing how it keeps Zach happy.  Too bad Drew can't see it and wouldn't be that interested in it, because by that point in the drive he was done with his carseat.  He cried some, but then calmed himself down and we made it home around 7:15, just in time to get Drew ready for bed.  What a trip!

Zach was happy to get back to preschool today, and I was glad he didn't have to miss any days. He insisted on taking 2 apples to school for his teachers.  He saw in a Curious George book that George gave his teacher an apple, so Zach just really wanted to.  We forgot to grab any, but when we dropped Drew off at Grandma Linda's on the way (I had a haircut to get to), thankfully she had 2 she could give to us.  

Zach made me laugh as we drove back to Grandma's later to pick Drew up.  He wanted something to drink, and I told him he could get something at Grandma's house.  He said, "Maybe some ice cubes, too!"  I told him that if that was ok with Grandma, it was fine with me.  Zach said, "Grandma says everything's ok."  I said, "Oh, really?" with a smile.  Zach said, "Yeah, she always says it's ok."  I said, "You have such a nice grandma, don't you?"  And Zach said, "Yeah, and I have nice grandpas, too."  It was funny to me that from Zach's viewpoint, grandmas always say yes.  That's the way it's supposed to be with grandmas and grandpas, right?

Tonight is trick-or-treat night here.  It's weird in Iowa- lots of communities pick a different night other than Halloween to trick-or-treat.  So I'll be sure to post a picture or two in the next couple of days of the boys in their costumes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Some things I've noticed lately and wanted to make note of:
-When I walk behind Zach while he's riding his bike, I can really see how he tries to ride with no hands.  He has mastered riding with just his right hand steering so he can wave to people, cover his mouth while coughing, etc., and now he's getting brave, and he lifts both hands a few inches above the handlebars.  This cracks me up because 1. it's cute to see him getting brave, and 2. my sisters & husband know I'm a bit of a chicken on my bike (due to multiple crashes as a kid, especially when there was gravel present), and so Zach and I are now at the same point as far as being able to ride no-hands; I, too, can only raise my hands a few inches above the handlebars for a few seconds before I chicken out and grab hold again.  Like Zach, I can also successfully ride holding on with just my right hand, and maybe even just my left.  At least I don't have training wheels on my bike...
-The boys' bedtime routine goes like this- read a book or two, say prayers, sing the Amen song 2 times through.  I've really noticed lately how as soon as I start singing the Amen song with Zach, he yawns a big yawn.  This happens at naptime and bedtime at night.  It really makes me think of Pavlov's dog.
-Drew not only thinks it's funny when Zach cries; he thinks it's funny when anybody is crying, or at least any children.  I've noticed at playgroup that anytime a kid is upset about something and crying, Drew smiles big smiles and laughs.  Seems like he's set to inherit my trait of inappropriate laughing- I have a problem with laughing when somebody falls down or something.  It's especially bad when it's Mike falling down- sometimes he gets annoyed because I can't stop laughing and he's hurt (usually it's just his pride that's hurt).  I'm laughing now just thinking about it.
-Drew has tried the little Gerber Puffs (his first table food), and he is crazy about them.  He's only had them a few times, mostly when he's just finished his dinner and I need to keep him happy while Zach and I eat, but he knows the container already and everything.  When he sees me coming over to his highchair with the container, he gets big-eyed and excited.  The poor kid probably only manages to get about 3 out of 5 in his mouth on the first try, but he's working on that pincer grasp, so we're already seeing improvement there.  When he started it was probably 1 out of 5 on the first try.

And a couple other cute things:
-Zach and I were talking about Mike being away at a con-ed class.  Zach asked if it was a work class, and I said yes.  Then Zach said, "I wonder who their bell-ringer is?"  I though it was cute that he was associating his dad's class with his preschool class and the jobs they have there.  
-It was extremely windy here today, like blow-your-chairs-off-your-deck windy, and Zach went outside to attempt to play with the dogs.  He came in and said, "Mom, it's horrible out there!"  I thought it was funny for him to use the word horrible to describe a windy day.
-My mother-in-law and I were discussing Mike possibly changing his plane ticket and how expensive it would be, and Zach, feeling that need to be in the discussion, said, "Well, if it costs too much, Dad will just have to get on the plane and fly to the bank!"  

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Passing of Grandpa Art

My last-living grandparent, Grandpa Art, passed away this morning, so I write this post in honor of him.  Grandpa lived a long, productive life.  He died in his sleep this morning at the ripe old age of 95, having out-lived his wife, my Grandma Lenore, and surely most of his friends.  Grandpa left behind 2 sons, 2 daughters, 12 grandchildren, and I'm not sure how many great-grandchildren.  

I think I have Grandpa to thank for starting the love of Springer Spaniels in our family.  Grandpa had Spike, an English Springer Spaniel, when he was growing up, and since then, my aunt and uncle had 2 while I was a kid, I grew up with one and a half (we were told she was a full-blooded Springer, but she wasn't) Springers, and I now have 2 of my own.  Grandpa always loved to talk about my dog Maggie, and how she would hide under his bed when he was staying at my parents' house when Mike and I got married.  The last few years I always tried to take the dogs with me when I visited Grandpa.  To be honest, I think he enjoyed the dogs being there more than he enjoyed my company, and that was ok with me.

A few other memories I have that involve Grandpa:
-For a while there he called me "Little One."
-Every spring, Grandpa and Grandma would stop in Colorado on their way back from Texas to Minnesota.  They would bring us DeMints, these Mexican mints that I hated at first, but really grew to love.
-Grandpa used to make beer pancakes, and they were really good.  
-My sisters and I used to love putting our stuffed animals down the laundry chute at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Ok, I know this memory isn't really about Grandpa, but it's about his house, which I may never go in again.  
-Grandpa used to drive this big old van down to Texas every year, and he put a special horn in it that played melodies instead of just one note.  I thought that was pretty cool.
-Grandpa loved Jolly Ranchers, and always had some on hand.

I last saw my grandpa back in August, when my sisters, my mom, and I went went to visit him in his nursing home.  I'm glad we were able to go see him, and though he was not the same grandpa I remember from the past 30 years, he was still mostly coherent.  

Below are some pictures I found of Grandpa.

These first 2 show probably my earliest memory of Grandpa.  I think I was 5 years old here, and I remember that Grandpa and I weren't actually asleep.  We were faking it.  We'd been laying on the couch with my puppy Ginger and we heard my mom and aunt coming upstairs, so Grandpa said, "Pretend we're asleep!"  So we did, and somebody took our picture.  

This is Becky and me lying in Grandpa's bed with him.  I'm not sure how old we were.

Here's Sandy, me, and Becky with Grandpa and Grandma at their house.  Again, I'm not sure when this was taken, but I'm guessing we're about 12, 6, and 9, respectively.

This picture is Becky and me with Grandpa and Grandma.  Again, I'd guess I'm around 6 years-old, so this would be about 1983/1984 or so.

This picture was taken at mine and Mike's wedding in 2001.  Grandma was starting to be a little less with it mentally, but she was so fun, and she always talked about how she and Grandpa loved to dance.  We did a special married people dance at our wedding where the couples left the floor based on how long they'd been married.  At that point, Grandpa and Grandma had been married for over 60 years, I think, so they were the last couple on the floor.  

This next picture was taken at Christmastime, 2005.  Zach was 6 and a half months old here.  We accidentally put a picture key-chain of Zach in Grandpa stocking (it was supposed to go into my Dad's stocking), and that was a great mistake to make.  Grandpa loved that keychain.  He would wear it on his shirt and he told me many times how waitresses and total strangers would ask him about the cute baby in the picture.  He sure was proud of that picture.  If you look closely, you can see the keychain around Grandpa's neck in this picture.

This picture was taken the last time I saw Grandpa, back in August.  It was a good visit.

Here's Sandy, Grandpa, my Mom, and my nephew Anders last month.  I love the expression on Grandpa's face.  You can tell that even though he wasn't really with it anymore, he was pretty taken with his newest great-grandson.

It's good to know that Grandpa is at peace now. I believe he's up in Heaven now, laughing and dancing with his crazy wife (Grandma Lenore was a riot of a lady who loved to dance). Rest in Peace, Grandpa.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cute Moments

We've got 2 sick boys here.  Drew has had a terrible cold since Monday, with a very runny nose, sneezes, coughing, the whole nine yards.  When he wakes up in the morning she sounds like he's been smoking 3 packs a day for years.  Poor kid.  Of course he hates having his nose wiped, but he sneezes and has huge globs of snot connecting his nose to his mouth, so sometimes it just has to be done.  He is pretty good about having his nose sucked out with the bulb syringe.  Sometimes he seems to think it's funny and he smiles right afterwards.  And thankfully I have Foudy nearby to take care of any random kleenex I might leave lying around.  Today I set one on the coffee table to use later, and I had my back to it for a few minutes.  Next thing I know, I turn around and there's no sign that there was ever a kleenex there.  That dog- she loves her kleenex and lately her baby socks.  Stinker.  Good thing she's so cute, or I'd probably get mad at her.

Zach hasn't caught Drew's cold yet, but tonight he had a fever.  He woke up from his nap pretty whiney and ate even less than usual at dinner (he literally ate only 5 grapes), and he kept needing Mike to "work" on him.  So Mike was doing some cranial-sacral therapy on Zach and noticed that he felt really warm, so we took his temp and he had a fever a little over 101.  We were supposed to go work out tonight and Grandma Linda was going to come over.  We thought maybe we should stay here and get Zach to bed early, but Zach got really upset at the idea of Grandma not coming over.  When we go work out, Zach and Grandma cuddle and read books most of the time, I think, and Zach just didn't want to miss that.  So we had Grandma come and put Zach to bed early.  I guess that old adage of a kid wanting his parents when he's sick doesn't ring true in our house!  Hopefully both kids are feeling better tomorrow.

Anyway, here are a few cute/funny things Zach has said and done over the past few days:

-Zach was playing with his firetruck & fireman and said to me, "Mom, this guy is Dotcom."  I said, "His name is dot-com?"  Zach said, "Yep, he's Dotcom."  I thought it was funny that my 3 year-old was naming this figurine after a portion of a web address.

-On the way to preschool yesterday Zach was talking about how when he gets bigger he's going to play all sports.  I told him that to get big and strong, he needs to eat his fruits, veggies, meat, and the healthy food that Mom gives him.  Then our conversation went like this:
Zach- "Well, one time at McDonald's with Grandpa Kevin I didn't eat my meat."
Me- "What?"
Zach- "I didn't want the meat, so Grandpa took it off for me."
Me- "What?  Grandpa took it off?"
Zach- "Yeah, Grandpa took it off my pickle sandwich."
Me- "Oh, I see.  So he took the meat off your pickle sandwich."
Zach- "Yeah."
Me- "So you didn't have chicken nuggets?  You ordered a hamburger or cheeseburger instead?"  Whenever we go to McD's he gets nuggets.
Zach- "Yeah, but I didn't want the meat."
Me- "When was this?  Was this after Mom's soccer game when you went to McDonald's with Grandpa Kevin?" I was confused, because I couldn't think of when he'd been to McD's w/Grandpa and w/o me.
Zach- "Yeah."
Anyway, I thought it was pretty funny that Zach conned Grandpa Kevin into taking the burger out and letting him have a "pickle sandwich," which had to have only 1 pickle, knowing McDonald's.  This story definitely made me laugh.  And Kevin, if you're reading this, know that you're not the first (or surely the last) Grandpa to get conned by Zach! :)

-When Grandma Linda put Zach to bed tonight they read a story where a dog eats grass to help himself throw up.  Zach said to Grandma that he hoped he didn't throw up tonight.  She told him that if he was feeling bad, he should just call Mom or Dad.  Zach replied, "But I don't know their number!"  

-When Zach, Drew, and I went out to lunch with our friend Moira on Monday, Zach was so excited.  It had been a long time since we'd seen Moira, and Zach was very happy to be seeing her again.  As we ate lunch, at times Zach was talking, and at times I was talking.  If I was telling Moira a story, Zach would make sure to get involved in the conversation by saying things like, "Well, you know it's pretty hard," even if that didn't really make sense with the conversation.  He does this a lot when he's not part of the conversation.  Or else he'll throw in a random, "Yeah," just to be involved.  So one time he said something like that, and Moira said something like, "Wow, you know about that?"  and Zach's response was, "Yeah, I know all things."  The funny thing is, I'm certain Zach believes that to be true!

-Today the boys and I were playing fetch with Maggie.  I would sit on the edge of the living room/kitchen and throw the toy down the kitchen towards the fridge.  Sometimes Zach would race Maggie to the toy, and sometimes he would throw it for her.  And Drew was just sitting and watching and smiling at all of this.  He likes watching Maggie run after that toy and play with it.  Anyway, I heard the garage door open, so I said, "Dad's home!" at the same time that I threw the toy.  Zach and Maggie took off for the toy, and Foudy took off to run to greet Dad.  Well, you can guess what happened- Foudy and Zach collided and Zach fell down.  He kind of cried/whined and came over to me, and at the same time Foudy ran to me, sat down and was all over Zach, kissing him and loving him up.  It was so sweet.  It was like she was telling him sorry and that it was ok all at the same time.  He loved it, and if that wasn't enough to make him feel better, as he was retelling me the story of what happened (there was some definite smack! jam! in there) with much animation, Maggie dropped the toy right into Zach's arms.  That got him very distracted and happy, at least until Mike came in and Zach had to tell the story again.  I just thought it was sweet how much Foudy loved him up after their collision.  It's little things like that that make me forgive her when she eats one of Drew's socks or something.

I thought there was something else I was going to write about, but I can't remember it now.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hawkeyes and Halloween

This weekend Mike and I got to go to another Hawkeye game, and this time, we got to sit in a box.  That was really cool.  Mike was offered the tickets for free from some very kind patients of his.  I was worried it might be awkward being in the box with a bunch of people we didn't know, but it was fine.  We were at about the 40 yard-line, and the view up from the box was amazing.  Being able to see the whole field was neat because we could really tell who was open, who wasn't, who had the ball, etc.  The box we were in was totally inside, but it had these huge, incredibly streak-free windows that you could open up and hear the crowd, the band, etc.  It was a nice day, but a bit chilly, so it was good to be inside where it was warm.  We had free food and drinks, too, which was nice.  Add all that to the Hawkeyes playing a great game and scoring a win over Wisconsin, and it was the perfect day.  Here are a couple of pictures I took before the game started.

We came home and found Zach and Drew having a fun time with Grandpa Kevin and Grandma Cynthia.  They headed home, and after some playtime downstairs, we decided to have family movie night.  We watched A Muppet Treasure Island and had a very non-traditional dinner of apple slices, carrots with peanut butter, and popcorn.  

Today we did what so many other Americans do on the weekend- we hit up both Costco AND Target in one day.  Unlike so many other Americans, however, we managed to not spend an arm and a leg at those 2 stores.  Not for lack of trying, though.  I felt very proud about our visits to both places- we got only 1 or 2 items that weren't on the list!  

This afternoon Zach and I went to a Halloween party at my friend Kristi's house.  Kristi and I went to college together, and she has a little boy who was born the same day as Zach (in the same hospital, no less), and another little boy who is just about to turn one.  Zach has had his mind set on being a firefighter for months now, so that's what his costume is.  I had picked up a fireman costume at Target about a month ago for less than $15.  We just showed it to Zach last night, and he was so excited.  He tried it on right away and about had a meltdown when he had to take it off for bedtime.  Well, today at Costco, we found a different fireman costume that was way cooler, and it wasn't expensive, either.  So, we got that one.  Kind of silly to have 2 fireman costumes for one kid, I know, but this one today is so much cooler.  If we had seen it first, we never would have gotten the Target one, which is basically a red plastic jacket and helmet that probably won't last terribly long anyway.   The new costume has cloth overalls, a cloth jacket with real hooks, and a black helmet.  Anyway, the party was fun, Zach looked pretty cute in his costume (I thought, anyway), and we had fun.  And kudos (and a big thanks) to my friend Kristi for all the work she put into hosting a party for a bunch of kids 4 and under.  She made lots of yummy food,  carved a pumpkin very intricately, had crafts planned (bag decorating and painting wooden jack-o-lanterns), and had the kids decorate cookies she baked.  Mom of the Year Award for her!

Here are all the kids at the party- you can't miss Zach with all that reflective tape on his costume!

Here's Zach getting started on painting his jack-o-lantern.

Tomorrow Zach, Drew, and I are having lunch with our former music teacher, Moira.  Moira is the most amazing music teacher.   I used to work with her when I taught 5th grade, and the students loved her.  She left the year before I did and started her own business.  Moira then taught a private music class for Zach and some of my friends' kids, and we met pretty much every Friday for over 2 years.  Zach first started right after his first birthday.  Moira took a new teaching job this fall, so she isn't doing the private classes anymore, and we miss her SO MUCH!  Zach absolutely adores Moira, and he really loved his music classes.  I loved watching him in the classes, too, because he had so much fun.  So Zach and I are very excited to see Moira tomorrow for lunch.  It will be great to catch up, though I'm sure I'll hardly get a word in edgewise, with all the talking Zach will be doing!  :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

And Defeats

After blogging about Zach's small victory of getting up in the middle of the night to potty all by himself, we had a small setback last night.  I was awakened at 1:30 when Zach came into our room and said to me, "Mom, my shorts are wet."  So Mike and I both got up and I quickly changed the sheets on Zach's bed while Mike helped Zach go potty and get changed.  Bummer.  To Zach's credit, the spot on his bed was small, and he did have to go more, so he must have been able to stop himself.  Thank goodness we bought a really good mattress cover when we got his big boy bed, because the mattress was not wet at all.  Zach's bed is a total pain to make because it's pushed up in the corner of his room and has a mesh safety railing on one side, so it's tough to get the sheets on without moving the bed.  At 1:30 in the morning I didn't really care how well it was made, so I just basically threw the sheets on and called it good.  I'm going to have to remake it anyway, after I wash the mattress pad today.  

I thought I'd have another defeat to write about when I woke up this morning.  First I heard Drew awake at 5 a.m.  Thankfully, he got himself back to sleep.  Then I woke up a few minutes before my alarm and could hear him talking.  This was at about 6:10.  Very amazingly, he went back to sleep and is still asleep now, and it's 7:22.  At this point, I want him to wake up, and I may go get him up.  I am certain this will happen on Saturday, when Mike and I are set to go to the Iowa game.  I don't want to leave the house until I've fed Drew, and Mike wants to leave by about 7 a.m.  Just wait- Saturday will be the day he sleeps until 7:30.  Actually, it probably won't, because Mike will make sure we wake him up before that, I bet.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Small Victories

Last night/this morning we had a couple of small victories.  First, Zach got up and went potty in the middle of the night without purposely waking Mike or me up.  That's big.  Zach had been wearing a pull-up to bed since he first got potty-trained 10 months ago.  Ever since just before Drew was born 7+ months ago, Zach has been getting up during the night to go potty, and waking up most mornings with a dry diaper.  I can't even remember the last time he woke up with a wet diaper; it's been several months.  However, the last few weeks he was sometimes getting up 2x a night to potty, which seemed a little excessive, especially now that Drew is sleeping all night.  Anyway, we decided last week that we would stop putting a pull-up on Zach at night and instead would let him sleep just in his pajama shorts.  This would make it easier for him to get his pants up and down without trying to get that bulky, awkward pull-up up and down, and thus make it possible for him to get up by himself to potty at night.  I was worried the first couple of nights that he'd start wetting the bed or something.  That didn't happen.  I'd say the first few nights were good- he didn't get up at all and didn't wet the bed.  However, then I started waking up at night to Zach's bawling and screaming bloody murder at night.  I'd go into his room, and he'd be sitting up in bed, just screeching, literally.  Upon entering his room I'd ask what the problem was, and he'd sit there and ignore me and keep screaming.  So then as I went to leave his room, he'd tell me he had to go potty.  I guess I'm not a great mom, because I had no patience for all this carrying on at all hours.  If you're sitting in your room and you need to pee, don't sit there and cry; get up and go to the bathroom!  And that's basically what I would tell him.  So last night we went over with Zach how he should get up and go by himself, but I also told him that if he wanted to come to our bedroom door and tell us he was going potty, that would be fine.  Well, I woke up at 4:25 this morning because I heard his door open.  Waiting for him to say something, I laid there listening as he went in, did his business, and headed back to his bedroom and shut his door.  He never said a word to us and there were no tears.  Yay!  Good boy, Zach!  We talked about it this morning after he got up and I told him how proud I was, and he seemed to feel proud, too.

Drew had his own little victory, too.  While in Minnesota he slept great- from 7 p.m. most nights until after 7 a.m. most days.  This trend continued when we got home, for about a week.  These past few days, however, we've heard Drew awake before 6 a.m.!  Today I first heard him around 5:40.  We tried to be as quiet as possible (our bathroom wall with our sinks and toilet is the wall shared by his crib, of course) getting up and showered.  Amazingly, he got himself back to sleep somewhere around 6:05-6:10 or so, and didn't wake up again until just after 7 a.m.  That's a big step over yesterday, when he never went back to sleep.

I type all this about victories as Drew is upstairs crying after a 30 minute nap and Zach talks and plays in his bed instead of napping.  You can't have your cake and eat it, too, right?

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Few Random Things

Here are some random things that have happened or that Zach has said over the last few days that have made me chuckle:

-Yesterday Zach seemed to dislike the amount of attention Drew was getting.  We were all playing together, but I'd say Drew was getting 65% of the attention, because we were trying to get him to crawl.  So Zach was getting in on the action, too, and Drew, who loves to touch things, especially people's faces, reached up to touch Zach and touched his hair.  Zach flipped out, and started crying, "No, Drew!  Don't mess up my hair!"  When I asked what the big deal was, Zach cried, "I want my hair to look pretty!!"  I about died laughing.  Now, to Zach's credit, Zach's hair had been fixed into a little faux-hawk; it wasn't just his normal short, flat hair.  But it seemed like such a funny thing for him to get upset about.
-Today Zach, Drew, and I had our normal Monday trip to Hy-Vee for the week's groceries.  About halfway through the trip, Zach wanted to write on the grocery list.  That was no big deal to me.  I was looking at some produce, and Zach kind of laughed or something, and I looked at him and he kind of had one of those grins that turned to a bit of an uh-oh, wide-eyed look.  At the same time, Drew was kind of whimpering.  I looked at him and noticed a nice, inch and a half long pen mark right on the soft spot of his head that was also all red.  It looked like it might not have felt that great.  So Zach lost his privilege of writing on the list and I reclaimed the pen, gave Drew a quick spit-bath, and told Zach that he could have poked his brother's eye out or something.  How cliche, right?  At that same time an older lady was walking by and kind of smiled at me and said, "Been there, done that."  I'm sure it was kind of funny for her to see this whole thing take place.
-While we were still at the grocery store, we got very lucky.  Just like us, the local firemen like to do their grocery shopping on Mondays, and today we were all there at the same time.  I saw a couple of them and quietly said to Zach, "Those two guys right there are firemen."  I had to point the guys out again, and by this point, it seemed like they knew I was talking about them.  They then went to check-out, and Zach wanted to talk to them.  So, feeling like the paparazzi, we walked over to one of them, and Zach said, "Excuse me, are you a fireman?"  And thankfully the guy was really nice and talked to Zach, asked him what his name was and his little brother's name was, and some other stuff.  Zach told him he was going to be a fireman for Halloween.  I'm sure this isn't the first time some little boy has been interested in the firemen.  It was all pretty cute.  We then had to go to the front windows at Hy-Vee so we could look out into the parking lot and see the fire engine.  Unfortunately, we learned that the fire department had their open house last Saturday and we missed it.  Darn.  Zach would have loved to have gone.  
-Today Zach said to me, "Mom, I flipped myself off!"  Then later he told Mike, "Dad, I flipped myself off and it made my tummy come big."  He was riding on my back up the stairs and I flipped him upside down when we got to his room, but his version was that he flipped himself off.  It just sounded funny to hear him say that.  I'm not sure what the tummy part was about.
-Today Drew was a pretty happy baby.  At one point I said something that made Zach laugh, and just seeing Zach laugh made Drew get all cracked up.  He's already a copycat- laughing just because his big brother laughs.  Then Zach was playing a version of peek-a-boo with Drew, and again, Drew was just getting so cracked up.  It's the most awesome thing in the world to see the boys interacting and to see Drew loving his brother so much.

And here's a random picture of Zach with a leaf project we did together.  The leaves are so beautiful right now- I find myself picking them off our trees and wanting to keep them just because they're so pretty.  I've created a monster, though, because now when we go on walks and bike rides, Zach wants to pick up almost every leaf we see.  This makes bike rides especially long because it takes him a minute to get off and on his bike.  Oh well.  We've had fun making our projects.  You can't really see Zach's face in this picture, but you can kind of see how the project is like a stained-glass window, if you will.  

And just because they're so pretty, here are some pictures of the trees in our backyard.  They're small, but pretty. 

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Mad Little Zach

Zach and I got into a bit of a tiff today.  He needed to potty, and I'm trying to get him to be more independent about that, getting his own pants down and up.  He could not get the snap on his jeans done, and he really had to go.  I felt like he wasn't trying very hard, and he was telling me he wasn't going to do it.  We both got more and more frustrated with each other.  Finally he got his pants down without unsnapping them, and went into the bathroom crying.  While I stormed off to take some deep breaths.  I came back downstairs and could hear him in the bathroom saying to himself, "I'm not gonna talk to her!  I'm not gonna talk to her!  That made me mad, mad, MAD!  I'm not gonna talk to her!"  I chuckled to myself a little bit, and went into the bathroom.  Then Zach said, "Just leave me alone in here.  I'm not gonna talk to ya."  Of course, as soon as I said I was sorry for getting so mad he lost it and started bawling and saying, "We're just not having a good day!"  That made me feel bad, but it was so cute to hear him being so mad at me.  He sounded so old, and I wonder where he got the idea that he wasn't going to talk to me because he was mad.   Later on he randomly said he was sorry that we fought earlier about going potty.  It's so interesting to see his private thoughts evolving. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Pumpkin Patch

Today Zach and I dropped Drew off at Grandma Linda's and headed out to the pumpkin patch with some of the kids from his preschool class and their parents.  It was a lot of fun.  I enjoyed getting to meet some of the parents and the kids, and it was nice to be able to put some names with faces, especially the kids.  We had beautiful weather, which was great.  

We started out with feeding the goats, which Zach was not afraid to do.

Then we got to ride behind the tractor out to the pumpkin patch.  Zach picked out this wonderful Cinderella pumpkin (that's really what it's called).

After we rode back to the barnyard, we went into the play area, which has lots of fun activities for kids.  

Here's Zach on top of some hay bales.  Or maybe it's straw, but I think it's hay.  I've lived in Iowa for 12 years now, basically, and I still don't know the difference between hay and straw.

Zach and Abby were a perfect match on the teeter-totter.

Zach rode on the little tractors, climbed on a huge fallen tree, went down the big slide, went int he hay bale maze, and played in the corn kernel bin.  Then we stopped by the bunny area.  On weekends there are tons of kids in there holding the bunnies and petting them, but today nobody was in there.  I wasn't sure if we could go in or not, but it wasn't locked, so we went in.  I was a little nervous for Zach because there was a sign by the gate that said, "Little Bunny Foo-Foo might decide to bite you," or something like that.  I know lots of kids go in there, though, so I decided to let Zach do it.  I figured if he got bit, we'd just deal with it.  Great parenting, huh?  Anyway, no biting bunnies this day!  A couple of those bunnies were HUGE!  The biggest one went into its house and didn't really feel like being petted, but here's a picture of Zach petting a different big one.  All the bunnies were really sweet.  In true Zach form, he leaned down to kiss one.  Ugh.  I tried to discourage that from happening again.

Finally we ate lunch and headed out, but not before we found some really awesome leaves and Zach climbed on one of the tractors.  Then it was time to go pick up Drew from Grandma's house and get home for naps.

All in all, it was a really nice day.  It was fun to give Zach some one-on-one time, too, and to not be so constrained by Drew's napping schedule.  We might go back to the pumpkin patch this weekend with Mike and Drew, so it was good to get this visit in beforehand in case there are tons of people and not as much time available on Sunday.  

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Really Long Post with LOTS of Pictures!

We just got back from a fun visit up at my sister and brother-in-law's place up in Minnesota.  We got to meet my new nephew Anders, who is a little cutie, and I don't think I'm biased at all!  I was a little nervous about the 3.5-4 hour drive up there with both Zach and Drew by myself, but thankfully it went quite well.  We arrived on Wednesday evening as Sandy and Anders were picking Becky and Cam up from the airport.  Zach got started in right away with playing with Uncle Will and asking about the fish.  We were all excited to see Aunt Sandy, Aunt Becky, Cam, and especially Anders.  Zach and Cam got to playing and Will started making the noodles for our spaghetti, which turned out delicious.  I think Zach and Cam thought it was pretty cool to see noodles being made, too.  Sandy was also treated to a nice rendition of  "Happy Birthday" by Zach and Cam to celebrate her big day.

Here is Anders asleep on his daddy that first night.

Nobody was around the first time I held my new nephew, so here's a picture I took of myself holding him.  

Then Becky and Sandy were busy, so Zach took this picture of me with my 2 nephews, Cam and Anders.  He actually took a pretty good picture!

Here are Zach and Cam doing some early morning dancing, I think.

Thursday after Drew's morning nap we headed out to the Mall of America.  Sandy had to go to a couple of stores for exchanges/returns.  Then we went down to the amusement park area, and Zach and Cam met SpongeBob SquarePants and his friend, whose name I can never remember.  I took a couple of pictures with my phone, so we'll see if I can figure out how to put those on here.  The boys enjoyed riding a couple of rides, though not many were open.  Drew even got his first ride on the carousel, which he seemed to like well enough.  We then headed upstairs for some lunch, and I found out that Zach likes Arby's roast beef sandwiches, which is great news, because I'm not much of a fast-food eater, but I do love those roast beef sandwiches, and they're actually pretty healthy.  I'm happy to have a place other than McDonald's that I know Zach likes.  Anyway, by this point Drew was getting pretty tired.  We stopped by the Nestle place on our way out of the mall for some delicious cookies and then headed home.  Drew fell asleep in the car, and I think I did very good not being stressed about him falling asleep there instead of in a crib.  He of course woke up shortly after we got home, and that kind of screwed up his naps that afternoon, but whatever.  It wasn't a big deal, and I didn't get stressed about it, which was a nice change from my norm.

I think this is a funny picture, because it looks a little like SpongeBob is chasing Zach, but really, Zach had just given him a high five or something and is just turning away.

After Becky and I got Zach and Cam down for their naps, we took Drew to the grocery store so Sandy and Anders could get a little nap in.  We came home to find Zach and Sandy sitting on the couch with Anders reading books.  It was pretty cute.

Friday Becky and I took Zach and Cam on a run to the park, where the sprinklers were on and spraying on some of the equipment.  However, they turned off after a bit.  It was really fun to see how Zach and Cam play differently at the playground.  Cam went down a very wet slide and didn't care at all that his pants got wet.  Had that been Zach, he would have probably gotten upset about having wet pants.  Then Cam tried out the monkey bars, with his mom's help, and almost took a big spill to the ground, but thankfully Becky was there to catch him.  I held my breath waiting for him to cry because it scared him, but instead, in true Cam-fashion, he laughed and said, "I go again!"  I immediately asked Zach if he wanted to try the monkey bars, and he didn't hesitate when he said, "No thanks!"  The next day at the park he was a little more adventurous and gave the monkey bars a try, with Aunt Becky's help, of course.

Here's Cam loving on "Baby Drew," as he always says.

And here are Zach and Cam holding their new cousin for the first time each.

Friday night we met my dad's brother Bill and his friend Gloria at the Spaghetti Factory for dinner.  It was really great to see them again, and they had a fun time seeing the boys, I think.  Zach said he remembered meeting Uncle Bill for breakfast in July of '07 when he and I stopped in Omaha on our way to Denver.  So, Zach tried lots of times to talk to Uncle Bill about random things, but it was hard to hear in the restaurant.  Uncle Bill and Gloria were really sweet and gave each of the boys a gift before we left, which the boys enjoyed very much.

Saturday started with Zach and Cam being excited to see Mike, who had arrived late Friday night.  Mike and Will were anxious to have a kid-free house during the Hawkeye game, so we moms took the boys up to another park for a picnic and some play time.  We got back just in time to see the bummer ending of a close game.  Once the game was over and the kids were in bed, we got to work getting some stuff done around the house.  After everybody was awake again, we attempted (and I stress that word- attempted) to get a picture of all 4 boys.  Here's a funny one where they're all looking at Mike, who was trying to move Lucy.

That night we had some delicious homemade pizza.  Zach and Cam each got to make their own pizza, which they found to be a lot of fun.  I think the both made smiley faces with black olives.

Here's Mike holding Anders for the first time.

Mom and son were exhausted from the day's activities!

Sadly, Sunday rolled around and we had to head home.  Zach and Cam got to feed the fish again, which Zach said was the best part of the whole weekend.  He really loves feeding those fish.  Zach also really loved playing pinball, and I was quite amazed at the luck he has with that.  He just hits the buttons over and over again and saves the ball surprisingly often.  We tried to take a picture of the sisters and their boys.  It's tough to get 4 boys under 4 and 3 moms over 30 to look at the same camera and smile AND keep all our eyes open, but we gave it our best shot, which, sadly, didn't turn out all that well.

Anyway, we stopped in Northfield on the way home so we could see all the aunts in one weekend- we saw Aunt Katherine at St. Olaf, or, as Zach calls it, "St. Nolaf".  It was neat to see her dorm room, which is small- poor Katherine!  Zach was really happy to see his artwork up on Katherine's dorm room wall.  We also got to see her boyfriend Sam, who was nice enough to work for Katherine so that we could take her out to lunch.  The campus up there is beautiful, especially at this time of year with all the trees changing.  It was a lot of fun to stop and see Katherine and to see her enjoying college so much.

We left Katherine in time for the boys to take their naps in the car.  Drew was struggling to fall asleep, so I leaned back to give him his pacifier and thought that maybe he'd pooped.  Zach had just fallen asleep, and Drew's poops had been pretty solid lately, so we decided that we'd just wait to change Drew for a while.  After getting his pacifier, Drew fell asleep for about an hour and a half, so that was good.  Once Zach woke up, he realized he needed to potty, so we stopped about 45 minutes from home at a McDonald's.  I decided I'd change Drew's diaper, too.  It was then that I realized we'd made the wrong decision earlier about not changing him right away. 
Here's what I found when I took his pants off.  Yuck.  Luckily we had some extra clothes along.

Drew is 7 months old now- crazy!  Here is another picture Zach took to commemorate Drew's 7 month birthday.  I didn't help Zach at all with this- I wasn't even in the room.  He's getting a lot better at this whole picture-taking thing!