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.
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!