The boys were wired. For Zach there was the excitement of his birthday, all of his grandparents being here, Cam being here, presents to open, and the fact that he had had a busy day and no nap. The whole present-unwrapping is a complete blur to me, so if I neglect to thank you for something you gave Zach, please forgive me. Here's Zach when he saw the new bike Mike and I got for him.
By the time we were done with the presents it was already about 8:00, and we hadn't even had cake and ice cream yet. The last thing these kids needed was some sugar, but it was Zach's birthday, so we had to have some cupcakes and ice cream.
Somehow we managed to get the boys all in bed by 9:00, which seemed like an amazing feat at the time.
The next day is a bit of a blur. I remember a time-out for Zach and Cam for purposely destroying a toy, and a trip up to the park, with the return trip resulting in Cam falling off of his bike and hitting his head (thankfully he had on a helmet) but otherwise coming away scratch-free. I really can't remember anything else from that day, but from this picture, I vaguely recall some wrestling between Zach and Cam- something they enjoyed a fair amount during their time together.
The next day was a cold, rainy day, so my parents and I took the boys to a place called Trainland, U.S.A., which has a huge model train layout. It's a neat layout, and the boys thought it was fun to push the buttons to make different things light up and move in the layout.
Here are the boys in a little engine before we went inside.
When we finished checking out the massive model layout, we let the boys ride on the little train. They thought that was pretty fun.
The next day was Friday, and my parents, the boys, and I headed up to my sister and brother-in-law's place in Minnesota. Mike couldn't go with because he had to go to Boston for almost a week, so my parents rode in their car and I drove all three boys. That seemed to become a common theme for the weekend/week ahead- Sarah and the little boys. The boys were good in the car, though, so that helped. I think Cam asked about 5 times if we were almost there, but 5 times in 4 hours isn't bad. They watched a movie and were quiet when I had to stop for a quick 5 minute power nap so that I didn't run us off the road by falling asleep.
When we got to my sister's place, my nephew Anders was napping. I quickly got the three other boys lunch and then put Drew down for a nap. While he was napping, my parents and Sandy took Anders, Zach, and Cam to a park to play. I happily stayed back and watched some World Cup soccer with Will, my brother-in-law, and enjoyed the break from the kids.
When Drew got up from his nap, he wasn't sure about Anders. I don't remember exactly how it all unfolded, but Anders probably wanted to see Drew's Lightning McQueen or Thomas or something, and Drew just wasn't ready (and may never be- ugh!) to share those toys, so he was immediately on the defensive.
Here are a couple of pretty funny picture of Anders and Drew that are typical from the weekend.
I love the difference in their facial expressions here. I think these are also typical of their personalities- Anders seems to be a pretty happy-go-lucky, easy-to-please kid, whereas Drew is definitely more moody and particular about things. I wish I could say it's the difference (a whole 6 months) in their age, but I think it's just a fundamental difference in their personalities.
The most hilarious moment of the whole weekend happened that first evening, sometime after Drew woke up from his nap and Anders got back from the park. Drew already was unsure about Anders, but was trying to coexist peacefully. He spotted a little loader he wanted to play with that was sort of near Anders, but Anders was not playing with it. Drew walked over, cautiously keeping an eye on Anders the whole time, and picked up the toy and quickly turned and hightailed it away from Anders. Anders was like a dog taking chase and was right on Drew's heels, chasing Drew from the dining room to the entryway, with Drew screaming the whole way with a terrified look on his face. My dad, Sandy, and I all watched the scene unfold while we were cracking up. You would have thought a monster was chasing Drew and not his 6 month younger cousin. Anyway, Anders chased Drew right into the entryway, where Drew was trapped until he leaned on the front door and fell out onto the porch. Oh, my goodness, it was such a funny moment. I don't know what Drew's deal is with Anders. The last time we were at Anders' house almost a year ago, Drew struggled, too. I guess he's not used to kids younger than him who are interested in his toys or something. Then that night at dinner Anders poured his milk all over Drew's lap. He meant to pour it out, but I don't think he intentionally poured it on Drew, but Drew still was not happy. So the next morning when we went to walk up to the waffle restaurant, I tried to talk Drew into riding in the wagon with Anders, and he said, "No Anders." I am really hopeful he'll grow out of this stage soon and love spending time with Anders as much as Zach loves spending time with Cam.
The weather wasn't great when we were up there, so we had to find some fun indoor things to do. We decided to go to this neat indoor park/play place in Edina. It had a huge climbing/sliding structure that was really awesome. Zach and Cam pretty much immediately disappeared inside and kept themselves entertained, while Sandy and Anders climbed around and Drew and I climbed all over. Drew gets kind of weird about slides and stuff- sometimes he's really brave and sometimes he just doesn't want to try things. So I was definitely surprised by his willingness to go down some of the big slides. It was a really cool place, and someplace that I think we will visit again. After all of the playing, we enjoyed a picnic lunch of sorts indoors.
A really cute picture of a sweaty Zach and Cam enjoying their PB&Js.
Drew enjoying his PB&J.
And Anders enjoying his PB&J. Aren't they all just so cute?
The whole group of boy cousins, minus Myles, who had to stay back in Colorado and miss the fun.
Later that afternoon, after the boys had napped, there was some more property-negotiation going on between Anders and Drew. Anders has 2 VW Beetle cars, and I think Drew had both at first. I told him he had 2 minutes and then he had to give one to Anders. Drew was fine with that, but he gave Anders the one that Anders did not want. So they both wanted the black one. So here's a series of pictures of this whole interaction.
Despite how it looks, I don't think Anders was trying to strangle Drew here. He liked to touch Drew and to poke him (not hard), and Drew just has never been really into people touching him unless he asks them to. That's kind of how Drew rolls- if it's not his idea, he probably doesn't like it. It can be exhausting at times, for sure.
What I thought was the end of the altercation- Anders doesn't look too worse for the wear, but check out Drew's picture below this one.
I think Drew was actually mid-blink here, but boy, does he look pissed off!
After this whole VW incident, we moved over to the rug, and Anders and Drew had a little spat over Lightning McQueen, and Uncle Will ended up taking it away from both boys and putting it up where they couldn't reach it, and boy, did that upset Drew. It was a rough time for those guys.
That night we had dinner and delicious chocolate cake, and then Zach got to open his birthday present from Aunt Sandy, Uncle Will, and Anders. He got this awesome pirate book and a headlamp, which he has loved playing with!
The next day was a little gloomy, too, so we let Grandpa Dick and Uncle will go to the flea market on their own, and Grandma Ruth, Aunt Sandy, and I stayed home with the boys and had some play time and some blueberry coffee cake. I got these super cute pictures of Zach and Anders. I especially love how Anders looks in the second picture. I could eat him up! I'm not sure what Zach's doing in that second picture.
We decided to head over to a construction zone a few blocks over. They liked checking out the big pipes
and the giant excavator.
We headed home for lunch and then the 3 boys and I hit the road. We had to get back home because Zach had swim lessons starting the next day. My parents decided to stay up in Minnesota for a few more days to spend time with Sandy, Will, and Anders, and to see some other family and friends. The whole weekend I got to sleep upstairs with all 4 little boys, and then I got to drive home with Zach, Cam, and Drew, for a few days on my own with the 3 of them, so the trend of Sarah and the little boys continued. Thankfully the boys did really well in the car on the way home- they all took good naps and then watched a show and were great. We stopped to pick up my dogs at Grandpa Kevin and Grandma Cynthia's house and ended up going to dinner with them and Aunt Katherine and Sam, so that was nice.
Monday morning started off with some excitement. We have one empty lot left on our street- 4 lots up from us, and somebody has finally decided to build on it. So at about 8:00 we could hear the excavator getting started, so we hurried up the street to see the action up close, still in our PJs.
It had obviously rained a ton while we were gone, so this excavator was scooping all the water out of the hole that will become the basement of this house. It was pretty interesting to watch.
Monday we also went to a fun indoor play place (it was kind of rainy), swim lessons (not too rainy, I guess), and played at home. Zach and Cam both napped, which surprised me, but I think they were wearing each other out. While Zach went to golf Monday night, Drew and Cam went to the grocery store with me, and were very good. Cam loved to help put groceries in the cart, and the grocery shopping was actually fun!
Tuesday we hit up the library and went to swim lessons again, and at about lunch time, I realized that Drew had a 104 degree fever. Yikes. I called my sister Sandy, and she told me they got a note from Anders' daycare saying that Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease was going around, which was something I had already suspected because of Drew's super high fever. So we pretty much hung out at home the rest of the afternoon/evening.
On Wednesday Drew's fever was down to 100, which was a good sign. But at breakfast, Cam told me his forehead hurt. My sister Becky called me to chat that morning, and while we were talking, Cam and Zach disappeared upstairs and were suddenly very quiet. I went up there to see what the damage was, and there they were, in the guest room, Cam laying on the bed holding a stuffed animal, and Zach was talking and showing him toys and stuff. I was immediately suspicious, so I handed Cam my phone so he could talk to his mom, and I went and got the thermometer. Sure enough, Cam's temp was 103. Oh boy. So I had a couple of sick boys, and one who was hundreds of miles away from his mom and dad. I called Mike's mom and thankfully she was able to come over to stay with Drew and Cam while I took Zach to swim lessons. The ibuprofen I gave Cam helped bring his temp down and his spirits up, so he was in a happier mood around lunch time. I was just getting Zach and Cam down for their nap when Grandma Ruth, Grandpa Dick, and their dog Sadie got there. My dad and I went out to run some errands, and when we got home, this is what we found on the couch.
Apparently when Drew woke up from his nap, he didn't want to go with Grandma Ruth, but she talked him into it by promising he could keep his puppy with him. So they went down and sat on the couch and snuggled, and the next thing my mom knew, Drew was back asleep. They sat and snuggled for a while, and then she laid him down on the couch. I woke him up after my dad and I got back, and he wasn't too happy with me for that, but it was going on 5:00, so I didn't think he should sleep much longer. He had a slight fever again, but after dinner all three boys had lots of fun playing together, and I got a much needed solo trip to the grocery store. It was at times exhausting to be the only adult with a 5 year-old, a 4 year-old, and a 2 year-old, but overall, they were good boys and I survived.
That day was mine and Mike's 9th anniversary, and it was kind of a bummer that he was still in Boston. He was set to return Thursday evening. I got some lovely roses from him that day, and then that night he called and said that he had arranged for a surprise to be waiting for me on the front porch, so I went to check, and there he was! His meetings got done early and he was able to change his flight and come home a night early. What a great surprise!
Thursday was my day of appointments, starting with the vet at 8:00 and a haircut at 9:00, followed by a trip to Costco. Mike and my parents too the boys to the pool, and I met them there at lunch time. We enjoyed a lot of fun playing in the water and we were so thankful that the boys were all feeling better. That afternoon Zach had his 5 year check-up, and Mike and I were both able to go with him. He was definitely very nervous about getting his shots- four shots and a finger prick, but he did an amazing job and did not shed one tear. We weren't too surprised to hear that he's just a little guy- 38 lbs. 4 oz. (32nd percentile) and 41.8 inches tall (26th percentile). His BMI is 15.5 (51st percentile), though, so I guess he's average there. A kid has to be at least 4 years old and 40 pounds to ride in a booster seat, so I guess it will be a little while before Zach gets out of his car seat. The kid is eating a ton lately, though, so maybe he's in the midst of a growth spurt.
Thursday night Zach had his first t-ball game, and that was fun to go to. Unfortunately I forgot the camera, so I had to use my phone to take this picture of him at bat.
Friday morning it was time for Grandma Ruth, Grandpa Dick, Cam, and Sadie to head back to Colorado. Grandpa and I wanted to take a picture of the boys, and Zach and Cam were more than willing. Drew wasn't so happy when I made him sit on the couch for the picture. Hence, the face.
We were sad to see everybody go. Zach was definitely very bummed- he always is when we part ways with family members we don't get to see often enough. He had told me at one point during the week that Cam coming was the best surprise and the best birthday present he had gotten. How sweet. They definitely had a lot of fun together, even if the novelty was wearing off by the end of the 10 day period. Even though I was looking forward to life returning to normal and to some extra quiet, I still got choked up when they left. I think a big part of that for me is seeing how sad Zach gets. It really breaks my heart and makes me feel bad that we don't live closer.
Thanks, Mom, Dad, and Cam, for making the trip out here! We had so much fun! Thanks, Dad, for working on our storm door and for hanging the leaded glass window in my bathroom. And thank you, also, to Sandy, Will, and Anders, for letting us invade your space for the weekend. That was a lot of fun, too. I had looked forward to and anticipated this visit for such a long time, so it's definitely kind of a bummer that it's over now. Time to start planning our next trip to Colorado, I guess!