Saturday, February 27, 2010

Zach and Drew's Playlist

Zach and Drew have some favorite songs which I recently made into a playlist and downloaded (or did I upload it? What's the difference?) to my iPod. On the one hand, it was a good idea, because the boys enjoy listening to the songs in the car. On the other hand, I'm definitely getting sick of the songs. It's a somewhat random playlist:

-Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts
-Bob the Builder Theme Song
-Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under by Shania Twain
-Scooby-Doo Theme Song
-Push It by Salt-N-Pepa
-Rags by Sharon, Lois, and Bram
-Any Man of Mine by Shania Twain
-'C' is for Cookie by Cookie Monster
-Rock with You by Michael Jackson
-Elmo's Song by Elmo
-Say Hey (I Love You) by Michael Franti & Spearhead
-Rubber Duckie by Ernie
-Hey Ya! by Outkast

Definitely the boys' favorites are Life is Highway (because it's from the Cars movie) and the 2 theme songs. I think we listen to Life is a Highway at least 10 times a day.

Drew has been singing since before he could talk, which really was more like humming at that point, I guess. He loves to sing and really sings a lot. The other morning he grabbed our little microphone and I grabbed the camera and asked him to sing for me. The other part of the video is from when Mike was out of town a week ago and the boys and I needed some entertainment, so they sang together for me. It's not their best performance, but it's pretty cute. Oh, and just to be clear, they don't know these theme songs from watching these shows all the time (though I'll admit they've watched some of this stuff), but rather just from hearing the songs over and over again from our iTunes library and my iPod.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present Zach and Drew:

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Simple Things, Part 2

Sometimes, something as simple as helping your child with his spoon elicits a reaction you didn't expect...
I hope you didn't watch that whole video. If you did watch it waiting for something great to happen, I apologize. Lucky for you, though, the video was a very brief portion of the tantrum that occurred last Friday while Mike was enjoying day 4 of the sun in San Diego. Allow me to set the scene for you- it was about 7:45 in the morning, and Drew had been up for 30 minutes or so, and was already dressed in his "Caution: Dragon on the loose!" shirt, which would make for perfect foreshadowing if this were a book or movie. The boys were happily eating breakfast when Drew asked for some help with his spoon and his Wheaties. Apparently I helped him in a very wrong way, infuriating him and causing him to fling his spoon and soggy Wheaties down, thus landing him in time-out. That time-out turned into seven or eight (I lost track) consecutive time-outs (each one minute and 45 seconds long), because that stubborn kid would NOT apologize, and the rule here is you can't get out of time-out until you apologize and give a hug. So, every minute and 45 seconds, I'd go to the steps and say, "Drew, you got a time-out because you threw your spoon and cereal, and you screamed at Mommy. You need to say sorry." And every time Drew would either say, "NO!" or he would scream in my face. Staying calm and being persistent paid off, though, and finally he apologized and gave me a hug. Then as we walked to the kitchen and Drew saw his soggy cereal on the table, he picked up his spoon and said, "Throw!" and motioned like he was going to throw the spoon again. I said, "No, Drew. Do not throw that spoon!" He said, "Throw! Throw!" I said, "Drew, if you throw that spoon again, you're going to go back to time-out." "Peeeeeeeeezz!" Drew begged (which cracked me up- he uses his manners to beg me to do something naughty- he's done this before when he wants to throw something when he's kind of mad). I told him again that he'd go to time-out, and he decided it wasn't worth it, so he set the spoon on the table. I considered that a small victory.

The funny thing is that later that day I was looking back over Drew's calendar from his first year to find some information for my sister Becky, and when Drew was about 6 1/2 months old, I'd written, "You are so stubborn!" I had no idea what I was in for- and I probably still don't!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Simple Things

Sometimes, even something as simple as throwing socks at your brother or getting snow thrown at you can bring big laughs to a child...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Drew's Obsession

I've had some things I've been thinking about posting but didn't get around to it, so here are a couple of random things, mostly about Drew. I think I've mentioned before that Drew is really into the Disney/Pixar movie Cars, and lately it seems like it's turned into a full-blown obsession. We don't go anywhere without his 2 Lightning McQueen cars, and he and Zach recently received some of the other cars as a gift, so the two boys spend a lot of time playing with their cars. Drew could walk around the coffee table, driving his cars on the track, as he calls it, all day long, and that's not really an exaggeration. Drew has seen Cars twice- once on the way to Colorado at Christmas, and the second time a few weeks ago when we had a family movie night. The other day he asked me for the "Ke-Keen song," which means the Lightning McQueen song. Then he said, "all nigh yong," which was his way of saying he wanted the song that says "all night long" in it. So, we downloaded Life is a Highway by Rascal Flats, which is the version that is in the movie. Drew asks to hear it all the time, or he asks for me to sing it. The hilarious thing is that he tries to sing it, too, and it's obvious that to Drew, the song is Life is a Hallway, not highway. The last few mornings before preschool the boys ask me to play the song, so we listen to it multiple times in a row, and the boys dance and race their cars and laugh. It's great to witness.

One of the many things that Lightning McQueen gets to do with us is read books before nap/bedtime. We read our stories, and then before we rock and sing, Drew goes and parks his cars by his nightlight. This was all his idea the first time. I always say, "Ok, go put McQueen in a safe place," and it never fails that Drew puts McQueen and whatever other vehicle he's holding right by his nightlight, where he lines them up very carefully. You can see in this picture how he did this with McQueen and Thomas one day. One time he talked me into letting him sing the Amen song to his 2 McQueens before his nap. It was very sweet.

While Drew's favorite car is definitely Lightning McQueen, he also loves the other cars from the movie, particularly Mack and Mater (he can't resist a hook). Once we checked out Mater Saves Christmas from the library, and I thought it might be too long for him, but he sat and listened to the whole book. We returned it the next week, and now Drew asks for it about every day. He will randomly say to me, "Mater. Ho ho. Have it!" which translates to, "Mater Saves Christmas. The library doesn't have it," because our normal library has not had it in since we returned it, and we even went to another library, and they didn't have it! I saw that it is due in a couple of days, so hopefully nobody else wants it as badly as we do.

Another thing I think is particularly cute is how Drew wants his own soccer gear. Last week I was getting my shin guards on before an indoor soccer game, so Zach ran and got his shin guards, too. Drew immediately started saying he wanted shin guards, so Mike made these beauties for him. (Yes, he is in his pajama pants. He wanted to wear them for his nap that day and did not want to take them off, and I didn't feel like battling it when I knew we weren't going anywhere.)

So while I was away at my soccer game, the boys posed for pictures and then played some soccer in the basement.

A few days later we got some video of Drew playing soccer. We're wondering if he will be a lefty. He seems to use his left hand for eating (which I do, too, even though I am right-handed otherwise), and you'll see in this video that he uses his left foot for kicking the soccer ball. Mike has some lefties in his family, so it wouldn't be totally surprising, but I still find it interesting.

Finally, another picture of the boys that I just love. They fight, and Drew gets mad at Zach sometimes, but really I think they get along very nicely most of the time. Today we were at a play date for Zach's preschool class at a place called Outdoor Adventures, which is actually the indoor showroom for backyard playsets like we have in our backyard. Drew was trying to go down a slide and a boy from Zach's class was trying to cut in front of him and then was sort of pushing Drew, and boy, did Zach not appreciate that! He was very protective of his little brother, and it was sweet to see. The boys really love to wrestle with each other, which I really think is such a boy thing. I don't remember ever wrestling with my sisters, but Mom and Dad, if you read this and disagree, let me know. I just feel like that's not something sisters are as likely to do with each other. These two will wrestle or just lay on each other just about anywhere we let them. I wonder when they'll grow out of this...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Meet Our New Baby, Non-Secular

About month ago, Mike and I finalized the details with an artist to do a painting for us. The artist happens to be a good friend of mine from college, Casey Kasparek. Casey does a lot of awesome work (check out his website here), and has some of his work on display in a studio in the Netherlands that also shows some of Andy Warhol's work. Casey has won awards for his work, including Best of Show at Chalk the Walk in Mount Vernon, Iowa, on two separate occasions . Some of my favorites are the pieces he does on newsprint, because they are so unique and interesting.

Anyway, I could talk up Casey all day long, but that's not the point here. Friday afternoon Mike and I headed out for St. Louis, where Casey and his girlfriend Jen live. The weather was not great, but thankfully the roads weren't too treacherous. We finally arrived at our hotel around 9:30 or 10:00 that night, and we were lucky enough to get a free upgrade on our room. Originally they had put us in a room right next to the elevator (ugh), but with our upgrade, this was the view that we were lucky enough to have.

We hooked up with Casey and Jen and met them at their apartment for some drinks and good conversation. Probably the thing that makes Mike the most uncomfortable is opening gifts in front of people, so he was nervous to see the painting for the first time and to feel like he was on the spot. We were both excited and a little nervous, wondering what would happen if we didn't like the painting. So after a few glasses of wine (for me, anyway), Casey showed us to his studio and opened the door, allowing us to see our painting for the first time without any extra eyes on us. We were not disappointed at all. We had told Casey which of the abstract paintings on his website were our favorites, and that we liked bright, vibrant colors. Casey also does this cool thing called "abstracting out," where an abstract painting actually has sort of a hidden figure in it, but it doesn't exactly jump right out at you. You will find a great example of one of those here. At first we didn't think we wanted anything abstracted out, but then we decided that we did want a cross abstracted out. Thus, Casey named the painting "Non-Secular." It's very difficult to get a good photo of our painting. With the flash on, there is a big glare that washes out the painting, but with the flash off, it's difficult to see the vibrancy of the colors. This seems to be the best photo we've gotten so far. Can you see the cross?

On Saturday we slept in and then met Casey and Jen for breakfast at a really delicious restaurant right by their apartment. Then Jen headed off to take a test for people applying for state jobs, so Mike, Casey, and I went down to the Cherokee area of St. Louis to peruse the shops. It reminded me so much of my childhood- being in a new place and going to a bunch of antique shops. I hated doing that as a kid, but enjoy it much more now. I don't think Mike did that much as a kid, so he's evolved to about the place I was probably as a teenager- he doesn't enjoy it, but he puts up with it and doesn't complain the whole time. Mike was a good sport about the shopping and actually didn't seem to mind it too much. There were a lot of neat shops, and it was fun to just walk and talk and catch up with Casey.

After Jen got done with her test, we met her and we all headed out to City Museum. If you ever go to St. Louis, I definitely recommend City Museum. It was a blast. It's hard to describe the place. Casey and Jen had never been there before, but they said it'd been described to them as "an adult jungle gym," and that was fairly accurate. I thought of it almost as a children's museum for adults, though it was great for kids as well. There were all kinds of metal tubes, like giant springs made of rebar and other materials, and you could climb inside of them from one floor to the next, or from the floor up to another structure. You'd have to twist your body all funny to get through the tubes. There were some big slides, including one twisty slide deep in the bowels of the museum that somebody told us was 10 stories long. That was fun. There's an aquarium inside City Museum, a shoelace factory, an art center, an arcade with antique arcade games, caves, and even a thrift shop. Then on the outside there's another whole huge climbing area. It was too cold for me to go out there, but I'd say it's worth a summer-time trip back to St. Louis just to try it out. Because of all the climbing and everything, we didn't take our camera inside, so I have no pictures of it. It was very cool, though, and a lot of fun.

We left City Museum to get some dinner at BB's Jazz, Blues, and Soup, Inc., and left just as a young, 18 year-old kid was starting to play some great music. We went back to our hotel and changed and then headed to Naughti Gras 3, which isn't as risque as it sounds. In St. Louis they celebrate Marti Gras for approximately one month, and we were there right in the middle of that time. Naughti Gras is an erotic art exhibition, so most of the artwork there consists of naked people, but it's not like it's pornography or anything. It's one of the things that Mike and I would probably never go to, but Casey had a piece in the show, so we wanted to go to see his work and support him. It was an interesting experience. There were a few pieces that left me wide-eyed and blushing, but the part I found most interesting was the people-watching. I noticed an unusually high number of short men there- shorter than me, and I'm about 5' 6". Anyway, interesting is really the most accurate word I can use to describe the whole experience.

Here is Casey with the painting. As I said before, the flash really makes it difficult to see what the painting really looks like. And no, Casey isn't wearing a Mickey Mouse hat. The way the light hit the doors behind him just makes it look that way.

Here's a cute picture of Casey and Jen shortly before we left them. Thanks so much for the hospitality this weekend, guys!

We didn't stay at the art show for terribly long because Mike and I needed to end the evening early so we could get up very early and get back home in time for Zach's one o'clock basketball game. We stopped by Casey and Jen's apartment one last time to pick up our new baby, as we were calling it, and said our good-byes. We were in bed by 11:30, and up again at 5:00 for the 5-6 hour drive home. Thankfully the drive home was uneventful and faster than the drive down. We hung our painting as soon as we got home, and we are definitely enjoying it above our fireplace. When Zach saw it, he said, "Whooooaaa! That's neat!" and then this morning he asked me, "How come your friend can paint such a better painting than I can?" I told him it's the expensive paint, lots of time, and lots of practice that make Casey's paintings so good. He also helped Grandma Linda and Grandpa Curt find the cross.

Though it was a lot of driving and little sleep for a quick trip, we had such a good time. Casey and I haven't seen each other hardly at all in the last 10 years, and we haven't been great about keeping in touch. I really enjoyed getting to see him and talk with him again like we used to do in college. Mike enjoyed getting to know Casey better, and both Mike and I enjoyed getting to know Jen. We couldn't be happier with our painting, and we think it's just so neat to have an original piece of artwork that was done specifically for us.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Much Better Basketball Video

Zach had his second basketball game last Sunday, and he had a great time again. I had to talk to him once about the mean face he makes on defense, but other than that, there were no issues. He later told me that Coach Ross told him during football to make a mean face and growl at the other players. He didn't realize that Coach Ross was kidding, but I told him that football and basketball are a little different. Today he said something to me about a girl on the other team making a mean face at him, and he said it in a sad voice. I said, "Well, you made a mean face throughout the whole game, so what's the big deal?" It kind of cracked me up.

Anyway, this time Mike's parents were all at the game, so I had a little help with entertaining Drew, which made it much easier to videotape the game. Plus, I learned last time that I have to pay much better attention to what I'm doing. So here is a video that won't make you sick, or at least not as sick as the first video I posted.