Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

We had a nice, relaxing Memorial Day weekend.  We threw around the idea of going to Omaha to the fabulous Henry Doorly Zoo, but we decided it would be too difficult with the time we had and the boys' napping and everything.  Instead we went to our own zoo, which is small, but just right for little kids.  It was Drew's first trip to a zoo since he was a little infant, and he really enjoyed it.  He loves animals, so we knew he would enjoy seeing everything at the zoo.

Here's one of the lionesses.  It was nice she was at least awake; so often they're just totally asleep during the day.

Drew and I liked the big cats a lot- the lions and tigers (and bears, oh my!) are my favorite.

Zach really wanted to see the sea lions.  We got to look down on them from a little balcony up above.

While we were watching the sea lions we could hear the gibbons doing their call, which is really funny.  Unfortunately, they quit before we got over there, so we went to see the tiger instead.

Next we headed to the African Boardwalk to check out the giraffes, who were right up by the boardwalk.

Then we continued around to see the zebras.

We then went by the flamingos, where Zach told me for about the 10th time in a week that flamingos are pink because the fish they eat are pink.  We tried to get a good picture of the boys, but it's tough to get Zach to just smile normally.

Then we went into the area where you can feed llamas and goats, and Zach tried his hand at milking a fake cow.  He looks like a natural, I think.

Here's Zach feeding a llama or an alpaca- I don't know which it is.  I don't know if there was a sign, either.  It kinda creeps me out to feed the animals, but Zach likes it, so I let him do it, even though I can't stop thinking about their gross tongues and germs on his hands.

Even Drew got in on the action, though this brought even more germy ideas to my mind, since he still occasionally puts his hands in his mouth.  Then I figured, we're at the zoo, and he's probably touched all kinds of germy stuff.  I just feel like I remember my parents warning me about not touching stuff at the zoo because of all the germs, so anytime I'm at a zoo, I can't get germs out of my mind.  Thanks, Mom and Dad.

After feeding the animals Zach wanted to play on the big playground that's in that part of the zoo, so we did that for a bit.

At this point we'd been at the zoo for about an hour and a half or so, and Drew was starting to get sick of it.  I don't know if he was tired or hot or what, but he was starting to get really crabby.  So we went to get in line for the train, which Zach of course had been asking to do since we got there.  Well, Drew must be my child, because he seemed to hate standing in line.  He started to throw such a fit, and I could see all these people (two different ladies, really) looking at me while I tried to deal with this incredibly crabby baby.  If I held him, he was mad and would arch his back.  If I put him on the ground, he'd cry harder and just get more mad.  So I just endured it, thinking about how we had already paid for the train tickets and how much Zach would be upset if we didn't ride the train.  I was hopeful that getting on the train might change Drew's mood, and thankfully, once the conductor was finally back from his lunch break and we got going, it did.  But we knew then that we had to skip the fish and stuff inside and just get home.  Good thing we didn't drive all the way to Omaha just to spend 2 hours at the zoo.  That would have sucked.  

We got home and got the boys ready for their naps, and Drew didn't even want me to sing like he usually does.  I started singing and he started fussing and flailing about, so I just told him good night and put him in his crib, and he quit fussing and went right to sleep.  

The rest of the weekend was very low-key.  We got together with some friends on Sunday night, I made my practice cake for Zach's birthday, and Monday we just sort of hung out.  It was very nice.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cake Baking

Zach really wants a cake shaped like a fire engine for his fourth birthday in a few weeks.  I'm not quite sure how to make it, but tonight I decided to make a practice cake, hoping that I will be able to work out the kinks and the details before his actual birthday on June 8th.  So I asked Zach if he wanted to help me mix it up while Mike got Drew down to bed.  We mixed it up and then we were each licking a beater (I know, that's not good for us, but I wanted one, and couldn't really justify not giving Zach one, and besides, that's half the fun of baking!), and this conversation ensued:

Zach- "This is so good, I could just eat the whole cake!" 
Me- "I know, I could, too."  
Zach- "Just me, you, Dad, and Drew!"
Me- "That'd be a lot of cake for just the 4 of us!"
Zach- "Yeah.  We would have to have will power."
Me- "How do you know what will power is?!"
Zach- "Well, it's when you have to not do something you really want to do."

I stood there for a few seconds, dumbfounded that my almost 4 year-old could explain will-power to me, but then I vaguely remembered something about will power in a Frog and Toad story.  I said, "Is that in one of the Frog and Toad stories?"  and Zach confirmed that it is.  Then he explained to Mike how Frog and Toad are eating all the cookies Toad made and they need to have will power.  Then right before bed we read that exact story, and sure enough, the way Zach described will power is exactly the way Frog describes it to Toad.  It's good to know he pays attention when we read!  I've had a sneaking suspicion that maybe the word "depressed" is in one of the Frog and Toad stories (see previous post), but I skimmed through it tonight and couldn't find it, and I asked Zach if it's in there, and he said that it's not, so I'm still not sure where he's heard that word.

Anyway, after he finished licking his beater, we went into the bathroom to get cleaned up.  He looked in the mirror and saw his face and said, "I look so yummy, I could eat myself!"

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Today's Quote

At the dinner table:

Zach- "Dad, why'd you make that face?  Are you oppressed?"

Mike was giving Drew some sort of look after he had spit out his milk, and I think Zach may have meant "depressed," but I don't know why he would know that word, either.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Bunch of Pictures

No real rhyme or reason to this post- just a bunch of pictures that we've taken lately with captions.

I walked into Zach's room the other night after getting Drew in bed, and this is what I saw.  Zach is really snuggly when reading books before naps and bedtime.  I think it's one of Mike's and my favorite times.

Now that it's finally warm out, we're really enjoying popsicles.  Usually Drew and I share one because I don't think he (or I, for that matter) needs a whole one.  Lately he prefers for me to cut it into little discs for him.  Sometimes just Zach has a popsicle, and he is always so happy to share it with Drew, which is really sweet.  Drew just hangs out by Zach's chair opening his mouth like a little bird.  Right before I took this picture, I heard Zach say, "Say please first, Drew," and Drew did the sign for please, which is rubbing his chest.  It's so sweet to see them share.

On this day Zach wanted to push Drew around in the laundry basket.  I ended up having to help some, mostly because I didn't want Zach to accidentally tip the basket and have Drew crash on the ground.  Drew thought it was pretty fun to get a ride.

Last week Zach and I went on a field trip with his preschool to the Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge.  The kids had a great time and got to see lots of little creatures and pet them, too.  Here's Becky, the box-turtle, looking for a mealworm to eat.

This is Zach about to touch a salamander of some sort.  I can't remember what it's real name is.

Despite the fact that he's pulling back, Zach really did want to touch this snake.  I think in this picture he was going to listen to the snake "whisper" in his ear.

This is the whole class at the end of the field trip.  What a great class of kids!  I was able to go volunteer at his preschool a few times this year, and I was always so impressed with the kids and the teachers.  Zach is in the sunglasses in the front, and yes, he is one of the smallest (and youngest), which only fuels our ongoing debate about whether or not to send him to preschool in a little over a year.  Good thing we've got a little while to think about it and see where he's at.

Here's Zach at his preschool picnic on Tuesday with his teachers, Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Gray.  All I can say is what amazing teachers.  They are so kind, caring, warm, and loving.  They were always happy, and Zach really loved preschool this year.  I am so glad we were able to get him in.  We will miss preschool this summer!

Here are my two little superheroes.  Zach loves Superman, though all he knows about him is that he uses a different name most of the time so people don't know who he is, he's very strong, he has a cape, and he can fly and save airplanes.  He loves to watch a clip on YouTube from Superman Returns where Superman saves an airplane from crashing.  Since he loves Superman so much, Grandma Linda and Grandpa Curt got him some Superman PJs, and they decided Drew should have some, too.  It's funny, it wasn't until I uploaded this picture to my computer that I realized Drew's jammies had abs on them.  Drew thought it was fun standing and posing for this picture.

Here's Drew, or Superbaby, as Zach calls him.  It must be the angle of the camera, but I don't think he looks so little in this picture.  And I think he really looks like Mike and Mike's dad, Grandpa Kevin.

Here's Zach pretending to fly like Superman.  After the pictures Zach and I ran around the house for a few laps, pretending to fly to save that airplane.  Drew tried to get in on it, but he only got one lap in, I think.  Walking's going well, but he's not quite running yet.

And I had to get a cape shot.  The boys were playing the piano, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

And, because no blog-post is complete without a story about something Zach said, here's today's funny quote:

"Mom, it's a good thing we didn't eat outside, because we'd be freakin' cold!"
"Why is it good we didn't eat outside?" I asked.
"Because we would be freakin' cold!" 

First of all, it was like 80 degrees here, but with 20-30 mph winds.  But it was the use of the word "freakin'" that caught my attention.  Mike says I say that word a lot, but I don't think I do.  If I did before, I'm going to try not to so much now!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Good Deeds

This weekend I went to a former student's graduation party, and in talking to the mother of one former male student, I really got to thinking about Zach (and Drew, but mostly Zach) growing up. There are things about Zach that I can't wait to change as he gets older. For example, his occasional need for me to help him wipe after he poops, needing me to tie his shoes, whining when it's time to stop playing to wash hands and eat dinner, etc. However, there are so many things about him that I wish would never, ever change, like his sunny disposition. We get so many comments on how Zach seems like such a happy kid, and he is. I love how outgoing he is, too. I am much more outgoing now than I was for the first 25 years of my life, so I hope Zach stays as outgoing as he is now.

Zach is often thoughtful and helpful. Today Drew didn't take a morning nap, so when we got back from our weekly Monday grocery store trip, I quickly put the cold items away and took Drew upstairs a little earlier than normal for his afternoon nap. I told Zach he still had some play time and that I'd be back downstairs in a little bit. While Drew and I were reading books and getting ready for his nap, I could hear Zach down in the living room playing his drum and then doing some other sort of banging around. I got Drew down and came downstairs, and Zach was in the kitchen with the pantry wide open and the grocery bags on the floor. He said, "Mom, I thought I would help by putting the rest of the groceries away so you wouldn't have to do it!" My heart just melted. How sweet is that? It was truly one of those moments where somebody does a small thing that means a lot. He had emptied a couple of bags and left out a few things which he didn't know where to put. I had a brief "uh-oh" moment when I realized he had discovered the M&Ms I snuck into the cart, but he never mentioned them to me, so I think I still got away with it. I just thought it was really sweet. Later tonight, while we were out on a walk, Zach realized that two of our neighbor's potted plants had blown over in the wind, so he got off his bike and went up on their porch to set them upright. He also picked up some trash he saw in another neighbor's yard. I don't think him doing these things is really all that unusual for a little kid, because most little kids like to help out. It just makes me wonder at what point do most people stop wanting to help so much, and why? And for parents more experienced than myself, is there a way I can keep Zach this way?

Just about 30 minutes ago, after Zach had been in bed for an hour, we heard him come down the stairs and into the living room. He was very calm and just walked up behind me and said, "Mom?" I said, "Yes, Zach?" He said, "Could you please have a banana and peanut butter ready for me in the morning?" I told him I'd try to. "Ok, thanks," he said, and he waved and smiled and walked back up to bed. It was kind of a funny exchange.

Drew seems to be struggling a little bit with sleeping the last few days. He's been waking up earlier and earlier. It used to be about 6:45/7:00 was his normal wake-up time, but on Saturday he was up at 6:15, Sunday it was 6:00, and today it was 5:20. Today for sure he got himself back to sleep after a little bit of fussing- not really crying, just sort of talking and whining a bit. Then I had to wake him up at 7:20 so we could get Maggie to the vet. Then, as I mentioned, he didn't sleep for his morning nap, and he took a short afternoon nap. Now he was just fussing a little bit just now, but seems to be back asleep again. I'm not sure what's going on. I'm worried that the sunlight in the morning is waking him up. His room faces east, but I just got new black-out shades in his room and Zach's, so I don't think that is the problem.

Tomorrow is Zach's last day of preschool. Really, it's just a picnic, so technically his last day already happened. Last week I went on a field trip with his class. Hopefully I'll post about that later this week. It's hard to believe his first whole year of preschool is done- it feels like we just started it!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes

-The other day Drew was being very needy, and I was tapped out from the constant whining and clinging.  I had said at one point in an exasperated manner, "Ok, Drew, just chill out."  Then about a minute later, while he was still whining and trying to get into my lap or something, Zach said, "Come on, Drew... You're a jerk."  It was said in a very calm, sort of matter-of-fact way.  I don't even know where Zach heard the word jerk used that way.  As I tried to hold back my laughter, I told Zach that he really shouldn't call someone a jerk, and then I quickly moved on so I wouldn't laugh and ruin the moment.

-A favorite verb of Zach's lately is plunged.  Here's a common way he uses it- "I just plunged down under the covers!"  I have no idea where he got that.

-This morning Zach said to me, "Mom, my throat hurts.  I haven't been smoking."  And again, it was very matter-of-fact, but like he couldn't figure out why his throat would hurt if he hadn't been smoking.  I know we've talked about how bad smoking is for a person's body, and why he should never do it, but I don't remember specifically saying it would make his throat hurt.  I guess I probably did say it, though.  It was just so cute the way he said it.  He was confused as to why I was laughing about his throat hurting, though.

On another note, I got a new little video camera for Mother's Day so that I can post video clips on here.  However, I'm having a little trouble.  I have a post all ready to go, except that the video clip is too big.  Originally it was 2:52, and I cut it down to 2:14, but it's still 145.5 MB, and apparently it can't be bigger than 100 MB.  I guess I can only get about a minute and a half on here.  Hopefully I'll get it all figured out soon!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Mother's Day Gift

For Mother's Day I got a new little video camera. We have a camcorder that we've had since before we got married, so it's 9 or so years old and I don't think there's a way to get those videos on our computer. I have tried to take short videos with our older digital camera and upload them to Blogger, but it never works, so I am so happy to have this new little thing. So be prepared to see lots of pointless videos accompanying all the pictures I put on here.  Although, so far, it doesn't seem like my kids want to do much  that warrants video-taping, but I did get this little clip of Drew last night.  Zach and Mike were at a birthday party, so Drew and I were just having some dinner together, and he was being a little silly.  He obviously knows now what his "silly face" is, as you will see from this clip.  It's a couple of minutes long and not all that interesting, but it's my first video, so I feel like I need to post it just for the sake of being able to do so.  

In addition to this camera, I got a lot of nice cards, including one Zach made for me while he was with Grandma Linda on Saturday that says, "Dear Mommy, You are so thankful.  Love, Zach."  Then it has some nice stickers on it that Grandma must have had leftover from a wedding scrapbook she did that say "Love Always" and "Together Forever"- a very lovely card.

Many thanks go out to my friend Laura tonight. Laura, thanks for filling me in on the One True Media site. That was easy, and now I can post videos without all the hassle! Thank you so much!

Oops- just saw the published post. I guess I need to figure out how to make the video window smaller so the whole thing is visible. I'll tackle that the next time, though.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ready for Hogwarts

Watch out, Daniel Radcliffe!  I think you've got some competition for the next Harry Potter movie!

And if Drew isn't quite able to get the script down, here's an older picture of Zach (making lefse with Aunt Sandy back in October of 2007) doing his best impersonation of Harry Potter.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This and That

It's been quite some time since I last posted anything, but I don't feel like anything too interesting has been happening lately.  After Mike got back from his Ozark's golf trip, a bunch of our college friends came to visit.  These are the same friends we went to Mexico with a couple of years ago (minus Dave and Laura, who sadly could not make it), and all of the guys and myself graduated from Wartburg, but not the other wives in the group.  Arch and Jenn came up Friday night and met Mike at Prairie Meadows, the horse track, where apparently Arch won big.  Saturday morning I did my best to get Arch out of bed at a decent hour by making the smoke detector go off about 10 times (which kind of freaked Zach out, as he's a little nervous ever since our small fire this past winter), but Arch, being Arch, was unperturbed by the continual beeping of the alarm and managed to stay calm in bed.  Jenn and I went and got some much needed massages that morning and returned home to find Arch still in bed.  Mike had taken the boys to Grandma Linda and Grandpa Curt's house already, so it felt like the weekend could really begin.  Not too long after Arch finally got moving did Troy and Jenny arrive from Dubuque.  Then Arch, Jen O., Troy, and Mike headed out to the golf course, even though it was raining.  Jenn A. and I headed out to the mall for some lunch and shopping.  The foursome only got about 3 holes in before they called it quits due to the cold and the rain.  So the guys played some Cornhole and I headed out to my soccer game, which also got called early due to the rain and lightning.  

Here are Arch and Troy playing Cornhole.  Notice Arch's nice throwing form.

This is obviously a different round of Cornhole, but I thought it was kind of a cool picture with the beanbag right in the foreground of the picture.

After I got back from my soccer game, we all got ready and anxiously awaited BJ and Carey's arrival.  They were late in getting there because BJ works for the KC Chiefs and had to work the draft that day.  Once they were there, we headed out to dinner and then to Blue Moon piano bar, which was awesome.  It was so fun.  It was great to see our friends again and to just hang out.  We all went to bed way too late, but I thought it was worth it.  And, Dave and Laura, in case you're wondering, there was quite a lack of bickering this time, which is a little surprising.

Since our friends were here, really nothing too exciting has gone on.  I  finally had a soccer game in nice weather at a time that was good for the boys, so they got to come watch me play.  It was nice to have some support there, though Zach told me his favorite part about the game was Melody, a friend on my team who also happens to coach his little Grasskickers thing on Friday nights.  I looked over in the fourth quarter to the sideline to see Zach happily sitting on Mel's lap, undoubtedly chatting her up about who knows what.

Since we had a whole weekend of nice weather, we did quite a bit of playing outside.

Here's Drew looking cute in a w-sit, which he is not supposed to do.

Foudy decided the nice weather was too much for her, so she decided to head under the deck.  Perhaps that's where she got the possible parasite or fungus that had her chin infected.  Actually, I think she got it from a bunny hole she was sniffing around in, but that's another story.

Zach and I got some more soccer in, too.

We've had some more good weather this week, so the boys and I have been to  a couple of different parks.  Today I was going to go work out at 5:15 a.m. (something new I'm trying, but the 4:55 a.m. alarm isn't working so well- I have a tendency to turn it off in my sleep), but I woke up at 5:12 (the class starts at 5:15), so instead this afternoon I took the boys and the dogs for a run.  It's been awhile since I've run with both boys in the double-jogger, and Drew probably weighs a fair amount more than he did in October, but it went better than I expected.  The uphills into the wind pushing 70 pounds were a little rough, but we made it through ok.  And the dogs were better on the run than I expected, too, so that helped.

In other news, Drew is 14 months old today, and he finally has 2 more teeth coming in.  One of his top front teeth broke the surface yesterday, and the other one looks like it's about to any minute.  I'm kind of sad to see these teeth come in because there's just something so cute about a kid with just his 2 bottom teeth, but at the same time, I'm looking forward to seeing him with 4 teeth as well.  Drew is walking lots now, but not more than he crawls.  He also has started nodding his head, so if I ask him a question like, "Do you want the ball?" and he does, he'll nod his head, but really it's like he's nodding his whole upper body.  It's really cute.  He also has figured out the garage door, and likes to push the button to open it.  He loves to say "bye" and wave to people, though he's sometimes a little late and does it once we are already gone.  He also might be saying "Mama" at times, but it's kind of hard to tell.  His latest favorite books are Snuggle Puppy and Can I Have a Hug.  He still won't drink whole milk.  Drew also does a little thing with his hands when he wants something, where he opens and shuts them a lot.  It's his own little sign for wanting something.  He loves trucks and airplanes.  Every time we see a truck, he shrieks and holds his hand out towards the truck.  He also is giving kisses now in addition to blowing kisses.  Tonight as he was about to go to bed, and Drew totally leaned down to give Zach a little snuggle.  It was sweet.  I think that all pretty much sums up his new tricks.

One last thing- happy birthday, Dad!  I hope you had a great day and that you get a good meal at La Loma tomorrow night!