Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Silly Boys (Updated Slightly)

I've been thinking a lot lately about things Drew does that make me smile and that I want to remember, and every time I think about these things, I think to myself, "I've got to write that down!" So here they are. These are the sort of things that are probably only endearing to a kid's parents and grandparents, so if you're not one of those people, sorry! And I'm sure now that I'm taking the time to write them down, I probably won't remember everything.

-Drew is a kid with so much personality. He has a very stubborn side to him (he always has), and it comes out quite often. With Zach I've pretty much always been able to get him to do what I want without too much fuss, but with Drew, I've learned to let more go. For example, yesterday Drew and I went to the grocery store for our regular Monday morning shopping trip, and then we went to Mommy and Me Music at our church. The whole time, Drew wore his big brimmed summer hat, and while we were at music class, he also kept his sunglasses on the entire time. Today he also wore his hat the whole time we were at the library. The kid really likes hats. Here are two cute pictures of him wearing Zach's Hawkeye stocking cap.

-Drew loves the Hawkeyes, and so every time we go into Scheel's or HyVee, or anywhere that has a Hawkeye display of any sort, he shouts, "I-ah!" I think he's saying "Hawkeye," but it really sounds like "Iowa," so usually I say, "Yes! Iowa Hawkeyes!" I love the smiles we get from people and the fact that my son recognizes that the tiger hawk means Hawkeyes.

-I don't know how or why Drew ever started this, but for some reason, many nights when we say, "It's time to go get ready for bed!" or "It's time to go take a bath!" Drew stops what he's doing, drops to his knees, and crawls to the stairs. Once on the stairs, he climbs up one stair at a time, stopping every stair or two to pretend to be asleep. It's some silly game he loves to play, but he made it up on his own. Now, of course, Zach does it with him, but originally it was just Drew.

-Drew loves to pretend he sees elephants in books, and lately this elephant thing is creeping into other areas, like when we're driving. He doesn't say elephant usually, but he makes his elephant sound and raises his arm like a trunk. He first started doing this on the plane to Denver back in October, when we were reading a book about farm animals. He does the elephant sound/sign, and I say, "You see an elephant?!" He says, "Yeah," and then I say, "There's no elephant!" and tickle him. He loves this game, and again, it's something he started on his own.

-Drew uses the word "shoot" in the right context. I heard him say it the other day, but wasn't sure I heard him correctly, but then a little later he dropped something and clearly said, "Shoot." It really cracks me up to hear it coming from his little 20 month-old mouth. He also says "shit," but only when he means it as "sit." I learned my lesson when Zach was about Drew's age and haven't cussed since.

-A couple of weeks ago we moved Drew from his high chair to a booster seat at the table. When Drew saw it on a chair he knew it was for him, and right away he wanted to sit in it. He was so proud. I hadn't even said the words "booster seat," but he kept pointing to it saying, "Boo-boo!" Here he is sitting in it for the first time.

-On Sunday night we were at a friend's house, and Mike and Zach left early to go to Mike's basketball game. When it was time for Drew and me to leave, we went out and got into the car, and Drew suddenly started frantically saying, "Dada! Dada! Dada!" and pointing to the front seat. I explained that Daddy and Zach were at Dad's basketball game. We went home, and as I pulled into the garage, Drew was jabbering, saying something to me that I couldn't understand, but I could tell he wasn't happy. I got out of the car and walked around to get Drew out, and he was definitely upset. I said to him, "Drew, I don't know what you want. What is it?" He said, "Hoop!" which I knew meant basketball. I asked, "You want to go to Dad's basketball game?" Drew answered with "Yeah," which is what he says instead of yes. So we went to Mike's game, and Drew was happy as could be. He's talking so much, but still a lot of it is incomprehensible to me, even though he knows just what he's saying. So it's really great when we have a moment like that where he conveys a message to me that I actually get.

-Drew loves to count buses on the way to Zach's preschool every morning. As soon as we are about out of our neighborhood, he shouts, "Usss!" Some days we see 10-15 buses, and other days, when we're running a little behind, we see only 3 or 4. When we see two or more buses together, Drew always says, "Two!" He also shouts this anytime he notices two of anything. I wonder how long it will be until he can count to three...

-Zach loves to "scare" us by shouting "Boo!" at us all the time. Of course, like the book The First Rule of Little Brothers says, "The first rule of little brothers is always do what your big brother does!" So, Drew likes to count and say, "Boo!" just like Zach. It's really cute to see/hear him count. Basically he goes like this, "Deh, deh... boo!" And when he "counts," he moves his hand up and down as somebody would when they are counting on their fingers. He gets a big kick out of all of this.

-Drew still uses sounds to identify a lot of different things. He's been doing this for a long time, like saying "moo" when he sees a cow, or "woof" for a dog. A couple of my recent favorites are the ways he identifies a few Sesame Street characters. He's seen parts of Sesame Street a few times, but rarely has he seen a whole episode. I feel like the Muppets that used to be on Sesame Street aren't on as much anymore, so the sounds he uses to identify them are more from hearing me attach those sounds with them. For example, when he wants to hold his stuffed Cookie Monster, he makes a sort of "arghrarghargh" sound. When he sees Ernie, he copies Ernie's laugh and goes, "Heheheh." And for the Count, he goes, "Two! Ah ah ah." I have to admit, I might be a little sad when he starts calling them all by name!

-Here's Drew enjoying his new Elmo slippers. Originally he loved them and wanted to wear them everywhere, but lately he doesn't want them on. I'm not sure if they make his feet really hot or if they're tough to walk in since they're so heavy where Elmo's head is, but for some reason he isn't as into them lately. I still think they look cute, though!

Three funny things Zach has said in the past few days:

1. "You have a lot of lines on your forehead." Said to Mike tonight while we were getting Zach in bed. I guess we're getting old and wrinkled (or at least Mike is).

2. "I'm flickin' cold!" Said after his shower the other night. At first I tried to ignore it, and he pointed out to me what he said, so I asked him where he heard that. Mike and I don't say "flickin'" ever, but we might be guilty of saying "flippin'" or "frickin'" at times. Zach said he made it up on his own. So then Mike said he probably shouldn't say that and I suggested the alternative of "really cold" and made a mental note to myself to use "really" in place of the alternatives.

3. "Wow! There's a lot of black people!" spoken not so quietly at Cheesecake Factory the other day. We were sitting enjoying a family lunch, and three African-Americans walked by, and Zach noticed. It was shocking to us because neither Mike nor I have ever called attention to anybody's skin color. Granted, we live in a very predominantly Caucasian area, so it is not all that common for us to see African-Americans, but it's not like this was the first time for Zach. Anyway, Mike quickly started a conversation with Zach while I hid my face and tried to compose myself (you know how I have problems with laughing when I shouldn't), and then we both tried to talk to Zach about it. The thing was, Zach didn't say anything inappropriate, and how do you explain to a 4 year-old (so he understands) why he shouldn't say what he said? Basically we told him that we don't call attention to people's differences and that some people could have been upset by what he said. I knew a moment like this, where Zach commented on someone of a different race, or someone who has a disability, etc., would happen some day (and I'm sure it will happen again), but it still caught me off-guard!

On a totally different note, Zach read his first book a couple of weeks ago. We've been working on sounding out words and putting letter sounds together to make words, and we got some B.O.B. Books. They're easy books with just a few words per page. I will admit, his comprehension on that first book was not great, but he was working too hard sounding the words out to really focus on what was going on. Since then he's read a couple of others to me, and already his comprehension is improving. We need to work on sight word recognition, and I have been searching all over for these Sight Word Post-It Notes that were recommended to me, but I cannot find them anywhere! I can order them online, but then I have to pay a bunch for shipping (more for shipping than for the actual notes), so I think I should just make my own. Anyway, it's a small step, but I'm still proud of Zach. I might have a video of him reading that first time, but it's getting late, so I don't think I'll mess with posting it right now.

This evening while I was making dinner, the boys were playing in the basement, and it was so great to just listen to them having so much fun together. I could hear Zach telling Drew what to do (in a nice way), and it seemed like they were racing. Then I'd hear Drew laugh, and then Zach would say, "Ok, wanna do it again, Drew?" Later I found out Zach would say, "Ready, set, go!" and they would take off running, and then Zach would wrap a blanket around Drew and tackle him, but "not real hard," as Zach told me. They played on their own for a good 20 minutes. This is becoming more and more common, and I love it. I recently got them these little light up snowman ornaments, and they love to shut themselves in the bathroom and watch their snowmen change colors in the dark. It's just such a great feeling for a mom to hear her two kids having fun together. If only they could always be happy with each other!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

20 Minutes Ago

It's about 9:00 p.m. right now, and just about 20 minutes ago Mike and I were sitting on the love seat folding clothes and watching Modern Family when we noticed Zach standing behind us in the kitchen. We had tucked him into bed at about 8:15, so we expected him to be asleep or nearly asleep. Mike said, "Zach, what do you need, Bud?" Zach replied with, "Uh, Mom, I have something you have to get a picture of!"

Here's how he looked when he said it:

Obviously he was tickled with himself. I couldn't resist getting a quick picture of him pulling his shorts up like that. This will be a great picture to show his girlfriend one day!

So we went upstairs, and he got his stuffed animals all situated in his bed and got himself tucked in with them, and then he said he was ready for me to take a picture.

After I took this picture and showed it to Zach, he said, "Oohhh, that's cute. But I'm squinting." I told him that was ok and that it was time for him to go to sleep. He said as I was walking out the door, "I liked watching your show! It was pretty good!" We have no idea how long he was standing there, but it seems to have been a while. This isn't the first time he's snuck up on us like that, so Mike asked me when I came back downstairs what we should do to put an end to it. "Well, probably the first step is to not indulge it by taking pictures..." Sometimes I just can't resist that kid, though.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mike's Birthday and Zach's Preschool Open House

Today Mike turned 33. To celebrate his birthday, I got up early and made him a German chocolate cake from scratch, frosting and all. Actually, when my alarm went off a little early this morning to mix up the cake batter and get it in the oven, I wondered why I thought making the whole thing from scratch was a better idea than just buying a box of cake mix and a jar of frosting at the store. But, it wasn't as difficult as I expected it to be.

The boys decided after lunch today that they wanted to paint some nice pictures for Dad for his birthday. Usually I strap Drew into his seat and give him finger paints, but today he really wanted a brush. I knew it was risky to give this kid a brush and paint and not have him strapped to a chair, but I did it, and it went very well. He got a little paint on me, but nothing major. It was nice to have a two-sided easel so both boys could paint at the same time.

Drew really loved painting like a big boy, and I think his first try at it yielded a lovely piece of art.

Zach decided he wanted to paint a rainbow, so that is what you see here, kind of on the side of the paper nearest to him. After this painting he painted 2 more, but both of those had snowmen shooting fire from their mouths, and I didn't get a picture of them.

Once Mike got home we gave him his birthday present, which is a framed print from the start of a Hawkeye game, where the male cheerleaders run out on the field with the I-O-W-A flags. It's a really neat print, but I considered getting him a different one, one of Kinnick Stadium early this season at the Michigan/Iowa game, which Mike was at. He liked the idea of having a print from a game he was at. It's for his office, so I don't care which one he gets.

Shortly before Mike got home I realized we didn't have any rice to go with our teriyaki pork tenderloin that was planned for dinner, and I just didn't want to have the meal without the rice. So, we had to quickly form a back-up plan, which was a little tricky considering it was 5:15 and Zach's preschool open house started at 6:30. We ended up going to Champs for a quick dinner (Drew's dinner was very quick, seeing as how he ate his mandarin oranges, about 2 bites of corn dog, and 2 bites of roast beef from my French Dip) before heading to the open house, and we got there around 6:50, so we did ok.

It was fun to see Zach's preschool classroom and for him to get a chance to show us around. His teachers are so wonderful, and he just loves preschool so much. Drew enjoyed checking out Zach's classroom, too, so everyone had a good time.

Here is Zach (in the middle) with his friends Caleb and Ben. These three seem to be pretty good buddies.

We got home from the open house in time to enjoy a little birthday cake before baths. Drew enjoyed the singing and candles, but didn't even want one taste of cake. Apparently his lack of appetite from dinner carried over to dessert. Could he really be my kid? Passing up chocolate cake? The rest of us enjoyed it a lot, though!

Happy birthday, Mike! I hope the celebration, though minimal, was enough for you! Love you!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Throw-Down At Panchero's

Today we had an appointment to see our family picture proofs, and afterward we stopped at Panchero's for lunch. We'd never been there as a family; only Mike had eaten there before. So as we stood in line looking at the menu, Zach asked if he could go save us a table. It was a small place, so I told him that'd be fine. So Mike, Drew, and I got the food ordered and were waiting up at the counter while our food was made. After a few minutes I looked out to check on Zach. It took me a few (slightly nervous) seconds of scanning the room to find him, and when I did I was definitely surprised at what I saw. There was 4 year-old Zach, playing tug-of-war over a chair with another kid, probably 4 or 5 years-old. I could tell Zach was fighting hard to keep hold of that chair, but it seemed like the other kid was, too. From what I could see, Zach had on his best mean face. My eyes grew wide and I quickly told Mike he needed to go figure out what was going on. A few seconds later I heard Zach start crying, and he and Mike came back up to the counter. According to Zach, he went and picked this table for us to sit at. Then he tried to get a highchair for Drew (totally of his own accord, which I thought was nice), and a lady at another table helped him with that. He was standing next to the table when this little boy came up and told Zach his family was sitting there, and then the boy tried to pull the chair away from Zach. I know that family wasn't sitting there, because they were in line behind us. Zach started crying when Mike went and got him because it meant he had to give up the table he was fighting so hard for. Zach later said, "I was so busy fighting that I forgot to block that guy." It probably was good he didn't try to block him, because then we might have really had a brawl. As we got our food we noticed there was nobody at that same table, so we sat there. Mike was getting drinks when that same little boy came up to the boys and me at the table and said, "We're sitting at this table." I said back, "Actually, we're sitting here, Bud." He didn't argue with me, just said, "Ok," and then left the restaurant with his family. Funny kid- it seems like he was just trying to start trouble, because his family didn't even stay to eat! Looking over and seeing Zach and this kid fighting over the table was so hilarious, like something out of a sitcom. I could see this sort of thing on Seinfeld or something. Anyway, every time I replay it in my mind I start cracking up. Zach, my little table warrior. I love that kid.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Clips and Quotes

-"I'm speaking metaphorically, Dad." This was during a game of Sorry, after Zach told Mike he wanted to knock him off.

-Zach kept asking me to play Sorry one night, and I kept telling him, "I can't, Zach, I need to get dinner going." After the third exchange between us of saying the same thing, Zach finally said, "Why do you keep saying the same thing to me?" I said, "Well, it doesn't seem like you're understanding what I'm telling you." Zach said, "Well, just telling me the same thing over and over again isn't going to help me understand." I didn't really have anything to say to that one!

-"Mom, this makes me feel uncomfortable!" This has been said twice recently; once when we were driving to preschool and Zach thought it was taking too long, and another time when he got in trouble by Mike for being rude to Drew.

-Drew was trying to reach something that was just out of his reach. Zach was telling him to try to stick out one finger to move it closer to him. Finally I reached the ball and moved it closer to Drew, and Zach said, "Mom, you have to let him learn on his own." Parenting advice from my 4 year-old!

-A couple of years ago for Christmas I got my sisters and me matching bracelets. They are hammered sterling silver, and I had them custom made. On the outside they say "sisters" and on the inside they say "friends SRS" with a heart. SRS represents the first letter of each of our names. We all 3 wear these bracelets every day, and rarely take them off. Well, a month or two ago, I lost my bracelet. I went to my soccer game with it on, and came home and realized it wasn't on my wrist anymore. It's a daily reminder of my sisters, so I was/am very sad that I lost it. Zach was asking me about it the other day. He asked if I was going to get a new one, and I told him that I didn't know because they're kind of expensive. He said right away, "You can use some of my money, Mom." What a sweetheart! Apparently today he said to Mike, "Dad, when it's time for Mom's birthday, we should get her a new bracelet!"

I'm sure there is at least one more quote I wanted to remember, but I didn't write it down right away, and now it's gone! I feel like it was a funny one, too.

Now for a few video clips. I just uploaded all these from my camera, so they're not all new. The first two are mostly of Drew, and probably won't seem funny to most people outside of the family.

This first clip is the most recent. The first part is Drew doing his little counting to 3 and saying boo trick, and then his trick that involves hitting himself in the head. This trick always reminds me a little of Bart Simpson hitting his head against a wall repeatedly. Then it shows Zach doing a somersault and Drew doing his version of a somersault as well. Drew saw Zach doing somersaults the other day and decided to try one himself, and this is what he came up with.

Although this shows water right now, once you click on it you'll see it's actually a clip of Drew watching the beginning of Dancing With the Stars one night. Drew and Zach love to see the dancing, and Drew enjoys dancing along with the people on the show.

This one really is of some of the dolphins we saw in Key West a couple of months ago.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Trip to Colorado

Between Mike and Zach being sick, the weather being crappy on the weekends, and lots of activities on the weekends, we just did not get a chance to get to a pumpkin patch this year. I feel really bummed about that because I know Zach wanted to go, and I think Drew would have really enjoyed it this year. Maybe next year, I guess. Instead, the boys and I bought pumpkins at Hy-Vee last week. Zach wanted to make his scary, so he told me how to draw it, and we carved it together.

Like last year, I decided to carve Drew's into a tiger hawk in support of the Hawkeyes. It's not great, but it turned out ok.

We got these pumpkins carved on Tuesday, just in time for us to enjoy them for a day before the boys and I left for Colorado. For a little while, we weren't sure we were going to make it to Colorado, due to the weather. Amazingly, however, our plane left Thursday morning only about 45 minutes later than it was scheduled, and the flight went ok. Drew had some upset moments, but the flight was not even close to full and we made it through, and I don't think I got any gray hairs or anything. We heard that United canceled 200 flights into Denver on Thursday, yet somehow, my half-full plane from Des Moines wasn't one of them. I'm not sure how that happened, but I'm thankful!

Something I wasn't thankful for was my own forgetfulness. I realized after I grabbed my huge suitcase off the luggage carousel that I had left my jacket on the airplane. I think I must have left it in the overhead compartment, unless I had it and dropped it but didn't realize it, which seems unlikely to me. I had an airport employee call the plane, but the people said they didn't see my jacket, which seems so weird. It's a bummer, too, because it was my good running jacket for cold winter runs, but also just a cute, casual jacket to wear when it's chilly, but not cold enough for a really warm coat.

This was the view from my parents' kitchen window when we finally got to their house, which isn't good if you haven't got a coat to keep you warm. The roads home from the airport were not very good, but my dad did a great job and got us home safely. I think my parents said they got a total of about 25 inches of snow. Wow.

Not long after we arrived at my parents' house, my sister arrived with my nephews Cam and Myles. Here was my first glimpse of Myles, who just turned 5 weeks old. What a doll!!! Obviously he was as excited to meet me as I was to meet him.

Drew showed Aunt Becky his silly side during lunch, demonstrating his new trick of hitting himself in the head for a laugh.

Once Myles woke up, I got to hold him for the first time. Drew was mildly disturbed by it, but he got over it pretty quickly.

Zach and Cam were so excited to see each other, like always. It's so great to watch these two little boys play. Being the youngest cousin on both sides of my family, I never had any cousins I was really close to. My sister Becky was the next youngest cousin, so we usually were stuck with each other at extended family get-togethers. So it's just really neat to see Cam and Zach developing such a close friendship. Shortly after Cam, Becky, and Myles got to my parents' house, Zach asked my dad to play some music on his antique phonograph. The boys decided it was a good time for dancing. Don't you love the carefree spirit of 3 and 4 year-olds?

Zach and Drew shared a room while we were at my parents' house, and it went much better than I expected. The first night it seems like there were some shenanigans- Zach said they played peek-a-boo in the middle of the night, with Drew standing up in his pack-n-play and everything, but I never heard that. I told Zach not to do that again, and each night after that they did really well. I couldn't believe it went so well.

On Friday we pretty much just played around at Becky's house. We left Grandma Ruth in charge of the three older boys, and Becky, Myles, and I went out to lunch and went to Costco. Becky and Myles were Costco virgins, and it was obvious when we walked in and Becky's eyes were like saucers. Her eyes grew to about salad plates when she heard her total- clearly she's not wise to how quickly money is spent at Costco! She got some great stuff, though, and, just like Zach, she really enjoyed the "tastings" that were offered. We both did, really. There were brownies, and Chai, and lots of yummies.

Zach got his first chance to hold his newest cousin. He loved it. He wanted to hold Myles a lot.

Cam didn't want to miss out on the cousin love (notice Drew obviously did not care that he was missing out), so he climbed up to cuddle his cousin and baby brother.

But later Drew realized he did want in on some cousin love, so he gave Myles, who he calls "bah-bah" (I think it's his way of saying baby), a sweet little kiss. I'm sure it didn't take Drew long to realize that Myles is his favorite small family member (as compared to Zach and his cousins Cam and Anders) because he doesn't ever try to touch Drew's toys.

We decided that Zach and Cam were old enough to try a sleepover, so we gave it a shot on Friday night. We considered doing it at Becky and Tom's house, but decided that with a 5 week old baby, they already have their hands full. Plus, we thought that since Cameron has slept at Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Dick's plenty of times, he might be more comfortable there than Zach would be at Becky and Tom's. So Grandma read the boys some stories and got them settled into the twin beds that are in my old bedroom.

The sleepover went ok. It took Cam a while to settle in. This was his first time sleeping in the basement at Grandma and Grandpa's house, so that was a little strange to him. He did get up a couple of times in the night and went all the way upstairs to get Grandma- I guess he didn't realize I was sleeping in the room next door. I heard Zach crying at one point, so I got up, and I could hear Cam whisper, "I'll be right here, Zach..." It was very sweet sounding. It turned out that Zach had gotten up to potty and had leaned on the shower and the shower door closed on his finger and pinched it.

Saturday morning we got everybody ready and went to the Denver Zoo for Boo at the Zoo. The kids wore their costumes and it was a gorgeous day. You would never have known that just a couple of days before there was over 2 feet of snow there!

Here are Zach and Drew modeling their pirate costumes that Grandma Ruth made. She did a great job, and they love their costumes.

The zoo was packed, but we still got to see quite a few animals and the kids got lots of good treats. Here the boys are checking out the orangutans. Both the orangutans and gorillas had some bed sheets in their enclosures with which they were playing. It was cute to see them put the sheets on their heads.

At lunch time we sat on some benches and had a brave peacock join us (see it to the right of Zach in the pic below). I didn't appreciate his company so much, as I get a little jumpy around unpredictable animals. At one point I thought Drew was going to try to pet this big bird and get his fingers taken off. Then he'd be a real pirate, right?

After lunch we went for a ride on the carousel. Zach really wanted the giraffe, but realized after the ride started that the giraffe didn't move up and down. Grandma did a great job of diverting his attention and making him laugh and enjoy the ride.

That evening Grandpa Dick showed Zach how railroad locks work. Zach loved getting a chance to work them. He was very proud that he could do it by himself.

Saturday night Becky, Tom, Cam, and Myles came back to my parents' house so we could take the boys trick-or-treating. It wasn't too cold, so I just put sweatshirts on the boys. I was glad we didn't have to squeeze heavy winter coats under those vests.

My parents had a big hand in the boys costumes. As I said before, my mom made Zach and Drew's pirate costumes, and my dad made Cam's engine. The costumes all looked great, and the kids felt so special in them.

This is just before we left to trick-or-treat. I usually am behind the lens, but I decided I needed photographic proof that I exist and interact with my children.

Trick-or-treating was a blast. Tom and I started out with the boys since Becky was feeding Myles, but Becky caught up to us just a few houses later. Cam's engine only allowed him to take very small steps, so we weren't very fast trick-or-treaters. Drew got the hang of things pretty quickly, and about a third of the way through, he decided he wanted to walk more and be carried less, which was great news to me! I would carry him up and down the steps to each family's house, and then he'd be off. Zach was very eager to get to each house and had a hard time waiting for Cam, so usually Zach would speedwalk ahead while Drew yelled, "Daaaak! Daaak!" and I yelled, "Zach! Wait for Cam!" Drew is so weird about the things that bother him, so I didn't know if he would love or hate trick-or treating. I was happy that he loved it. It made the night a lot more fun. Becky and I agreed that it was kind of a trip to go trick-or-treating on the street we grew up trick-or-treating on. We decided that just doing my parents' street was enough and the boys didn't argue. They were eager to get home and taste some of their loot. This picture might have been taken right when I told Zach and Drew that they could each have a second piece of candy.

Again, Myles was unimpressed and slept through the whole thing. He didn't know what he was missing! There was some good candy in those treat bags!

Drew really liked the "buh-buh" (pumpkin) on Myles' tush.

Zach and Cam enjoyed handing out candy about as much as they liked getting it. Here they are waiting for more trick-or-treaters to come by.

Sunday we were up and at Becky and Tom's church early for Myles' baptism. I was glad I was able to be in town for this special day. I was worried about how the service would go because Drew pretty much cried the whole way to the church, and that isn't a short drive from my parents' house. I was definitely frazzled when we got there, but once Drew had some snacks, he settled down. Then once the service started and I picked him up, he let out this little happy scream- he had noticed Aunt Becky about 2 rows behind us. That was cute. It was All Saints Day, and the pastor was reading names of congregants who had died in the last year. After about 4 or 5 names, somebody would ring a huge handbell, and then Drew would almost always say, "Choo-choo!" in his little high-pitched train voice. It was a little embarrassing, but also precious.

Here is Myles getting baptized by Pastor Julie.

This next picture shows Myles with his parents and Godparents, Josh and Caitlin. Becky and I went to college with Josh and Caitlin, and they are very close friends of Becky and Tom's. Becky is the Godmother to Josh and Caitlin's daughter Greta.

The new family of four- Becky, Tom, Cam, and Myles.

Finally Myles decided to wake up, so I got a picture of him with his eyes open.

Zach wanted to hold Myles again, and this time Drew wanted to get close, too, which really surprised me. Since Drew was willing to sit still (which doesn't happen very often), I knew I had to seize the opportunity to take a picture, so I quickly got Cam in on it, too. Now, if only Anders were there, we could have had all 5 cousins together.

Sunday afternoon I got together with some of my high school girlfriends. We met at my friend Chris' house and those of us with kids had them along. My closest friend Ange, with whom I've known since I was 3 years-old, brought her cute 15 month-old son Ben. Ben and Drew were looking out the window together and it looked so cute, but by the time I got the camera ready, they had turned around. As soon as Drew saw me ready to shoot, he gave me this lovely grin.

Zach was super shy at first; he would not leave my side. But finally Chris and I talked him into going downstairs with her 5 year-old daughter Payton, and from then on, I hardly saw Zach. He and Payton have played together before, so they just need a little bit of time to get reacquainted. It didn't take them long to get comfortable with each other, as you can see.

I'm still not sure how we managed to do it, but here are the kids all together on the couch. My boys on the left, then Ange's son Ben, and then Chris' kids Payton and Nick, who is 2. I think it helped that somebody was singing the National Anthem at the baseball game on the T.V.

Monday Becky and I took the boys to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Zach was pretty excited to see all the dinosaur skeletons there. I hadn't been there since about 4th grade, so it was fun for me, too.

The stegosaurus skeleton in the middle of this picture was found fully intact in Canon City, which is a town down by Colorado Springs.

The museum also has a bunch of wildlife dioramas, which basically hold dead animals stuffed and posed to look like they would in their natural habitat. They really are neat. Here the boys are checking out the walruses.

The museum has a great view of the Denver skyline and the mountains. This picture didn't turn out quite right for you to see the mountains, but you can still see the skyline in the background.

We spent some time in the Discovery Zone at the museum, where the boys got to see how they'd look as coneheads.

They also got to dig for dinosaur bones.

After lunch in the T-Rex cafe, we stopped back by the T-Rex skeleton so we could get a picture of the boys with it. It's amazing how huge dinosaurs were!

My friend Chris, whom I mentioned earlier, is married to a firefighter. Scott, Chris' husband, went to school with Becky from elementary school on through high school, and they graduated in the same class. He told me when we were at his house Sunday night that he'd be working on Monday and we could bring the boys by to see the station. So, after lunch at the museum and meeting up with my mom so she could take Drew home for a nap, Becky, Cam, Myles, Zach, and I headed to Station #14, the oldest station in Denver. It was built in 1937 and used to have horse-drawn fire engines. Zach and Cam were definitely excited to be going to a real fire station.

Scott showed the boys the inside of the engine and let them sit in all the seats. Here Scott is telling Zach how to turn on the lights on the fire engine.

Then Scott put all his gear on to show us what that's like. He said when it's all said and done, the firefighters have an extra 100 pounds worth of stuff on them. That would be tough work!

After touring the whole house and seeing Scott go down the pole, the boys got their own Denver Fire Department hats and got back up in the truck one last time. They were in heaven.

We went back to Becky's house for more playing and then met my parents and Drew at the Spaghetti Factory for dinner. After dinner we had to say good-bye to Becky, Tom, Cam, and Myles, and it wasn't easy for Zach or me. Zach was nearly in tears in the car when he said, "It's almost too hard to even think about saying good-bye!"

The boys and I made it safely home this afternoon, and I didn't even leave anything on the plane this time! Now it's back to the daily grind. Our trip to Colorado was awesome, as always, and it went too quickly, as always. But I think everybody is ready to get back to our routines. Speaking of routines, it is way past my bedtime, so I better hit the hay. I probably won't even proofread this, so if you find mistakes, just ignore them. Thanks!