Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pictures of Three

I had my ultrasound today, and things looked good, which is a huge relief. I wasn't that worried, but I think there are always some of those "what if" questions floating around in an expectant mom's brain.

So here are some pictures of little Three that may or may not be very obvious to you- it probably depends on how familiar you are with grainy x-rays. I went ahead and added a few extra captions on a couple of them.

First, a facial profile shot:

Next, a foot:

An almost whole body profile:

A torso profile shot, with the arm over the baby's face:

This one is another profile (there are a lot of those), but I added some labels as a little cheat-sheet. Unfortunately, Three had his (or her) hands in front of his face, so we couldn't get a good facial shot. Also, the heart is the black spot above the word "heart" in the picture.

We kept true to our word and did not find out the gender, but it's killing me that somebody out there (or probably 2 somebodies at this point- the ultrasound tech and the doctor I saw afterwards) know what we're having. Now I will have to resist the urge to ask at all future appointments for the doctor to reveal the gender to me. That's ok- the surprise will be worth the wait!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


When you have a finished basement that is solely used as a playroom, having 4 couches in it (don't ask) can actually come in pretty useful at times.

Who needs all those toys when you can jump off couches?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mighty Mites and Little Aces

Yesterday Zach had his first golf tournament.

It was part of the golf program he participated in at the club, and he was so excited. He definitely didn't win, but he did have a good time. He was in the boys 5-6 year-old group, and they played 3 holes with a maximum of 10 strokes per hole. Mike went with Zach while Drew and I went to the grocery store, but we got to the course just in time to see Zach putt on his last hole. Apparently on the first hole he hit the ball right into the sand trap and just could not get it out of there. Sand traps are tough, that's for sure. So he got the maximum 10 strokes on hole #1. The second hole he hit it into another sand trap but hit it out of the sand trap on the first try. Then he hit it right near the green, but then struggled and got another 10. The last hole was his good one, where he got a 6. So I think the lesson here is that Zach just needs a few more holes so he can be properly warmed up. So he ended up with a 26, and I think the winner in his group got a 19. He told me later that he was nervous before the first hole because he wanted to play well, but he did have a lot of fun, which is all I care about. After the kids were done they got to eat pizza and got a little treat bag with candy and a new golf ball, so I think that was Zach's favorite part.

A few shots from the tournament:

Because of the tournament, Zach has to miss his first day of Little Aces Tennis. I would not have signed Zach up for tennis this summer had he not asked me to, so he's been eagerly awaiting these tennis lessons for over a month now. He got his tennis racquet from Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Dick for his birthday, and he just could not wait to use it for real today.

The tennis teacher seems really nice and is great with the kids. He is a retired teacher and just seemed to have a good connection with the kids. Zach is the only boy with a group of girls, but he didn't seem to mind or even notice.

Mike and I enjoy tennis and even have racquets, but we're not (or at least I'm not) what you would consider real tennis players. Some of the stuff they did at the lesson (ok, most of the stuff) they did at the lesson I never would have come up with. They started with balancing a little bean bag on their racquet to see if they could hold the racquet with one hand or if they needed two. Then they would toss the bean bag up with their racquets and try to kick it.

Next they balanced a cup on their racquet and eventually an upside down cup with a ball on top. Then they worked on tossing the tennis ball up, letting it bounce, and catching it in the cup. The instructor told us that once they can really catch the ball in the cup in their strike zone, a whole new world of making contact is about to explode (or something along those lines). Eventually they got to hitting the ball with their racquets, which I am sure Zach was pumped about.

They even got to have the little machine shoot balls at them and they'd try to hit them. The kids struggled with this, but Zach did manage to hit one or two. You sure could tell the difference between him and the girls- he swings that racquet as hard as he can!

It seemed like Zach had a great time and he's looking forward to tomorrow. With each new sport he tries and loves (I don't think he's tried a sport he hasn't loved), I am left feeling more and more curious about what sport or sports he'll end up choosing as he gets older, if any. I'm just glad he enjoys all these sports so much. I wonder if Drew will be as into sports as Zach is. Stay tuned...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Too Cute!

Zach and Mike went golfing with our friends BJ and Anna on Sunday. BJ, his wife Susan, and Anna used to live next door to us, and now they live a few blocks away and there's another daugther, little Lucy. Zach and Anna like to play together, which is good, because they're basically already betrothed. They make a cute couple, don't they?


This is what happens when you grab your brother's milk cup and he grabs back at it.

"I all wet!" was Drew's response. Ya think, Drew?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ready for Any Kind of Weather

It was one of the hottest days of the summer on Thursday (heat index of 105, I think), and this is how the boys decided they wanted to play:

Zach tried his hardest to convince me to let them put on their winter jackets and to go outside to play, but I drew the line at hats, mittens, and boots. And yes, Drew is wearing pajama shorts. He had just gotten up from his nap and asked if he could keep those on for a while.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Halfway There

Well, I'm officially halfway through my pregnancy. On Sunday I hit my 20 week mark, and it's unbelievable to think that I'm on the downhill slide now. It's kind of scary, really, because I'm not at all ready for sleepless nights and the lack of freedom that comes with having a new baby. I've gotten pretty used to being able to pick up the boys and go relatively easily for a while now. Those are really the main things I'm fearing. I'm not worried about labor and delivery or anything else that I can really think of, but it's those early, emotional days of Drew's life, where I felt like I was so sleep-deprived I couldn't do anything and therefore was a terrible mom to Zach, that are haunting me. Oh, well. We all adjusted and Zach doesn't seem too worse for the wear, so hopefully Drew will come through everything ok, too. I figure this time Zach and Drew will at least have each other, which could be a blessing or a curse on any given day (or any given 5 minute period, for that matter).

I feel like for a few weeks now I've been stuck at that stage where I don't really look pregnant; I just look kinda fat. This especially bugs me when I'm at the swimming pool with the boys (which is a lot), where I recently switched from my two-piece suit to a nice, ruched tankini (the ruching does wonders to hide the bump), and at the small gym where I do kickboxing classes a few times a week. I've been going there very consistently since Drew was 12 weeks old, which means it's been over 2 years now, and it really bugs me to think that the people that I see there all the time are probably wondering if I'm just eating everything in sight or what. I like to work out hard, and I've gotten lots of comments in the past 2 years about having endless energy during classes, and now I am forced to take more breaks to get my heart rate back down. I hate looking like a wuss. Lately I'm having to take tons of bathroom breaks during class, too, which is totally annoying. It seems my average these days is 3 bathroom breaks in the hour I'm there, though sometimes it's fewer if there are fewer jumping jacks and less jumping around in general. Having had 2 kids, being 20 weeks pregnant, being well-hydrated, and lots of jumping just do not make a good combination! I've had to slow down my running a lot, too, but I'm not running with other people, so that I can deal with.

I am the third kid in my family, and I was always annoyed that I didn't have a baby book but both of my older sisters did/do. My mom's excuse was always, "Usually the third kid doesn't have a baby book," which I always thought was total B.S. But, I can see now why that happened. Drew's baby book has less in it than Zach's does, and this poor third kid will be lucky to have anything, I think. When I was pregnant with Zach, I had a journal with space to write notes every day, and while I didn't write every day, I wrote a fair amount. With Drew I mostly wrote down the details of every doctor's appointment and the details of my runs (heart rate and stuff), and random other stuff that I thought I'd want to remember. So far with this baby I've written down that I was pregnant and when I took the positive pregnancy test, and that's it. Sorry, kid; usually the third kid doesn't get a pregnancy journal. At least I had Mike take a picture at 20 weeks:

With Zach and Drew I had really easy pregnancies, and so far this one has been pretty easy, too. I feel more tired than I remember being, but maybe part of that is the heat of the summer and the fact that I'm a couple of years older. Along with having that is-she-fat-or-is-she-pregnant look about me, I'm also in the midst of what feels like an endless wardrobe malfunction. I'm just getting too big for my regular clothes, but maternity clothes are still too big for me. Earlier in the summer I did buy a few pairs of shorts 2 sizes larger than I normally wear, so those are still sort of working, but not for much longer. I wear running shorts as much as I can, because with the elastic waist, I can just wear them low like I like 'em anyway, and they're still comfortable. I'm probably wearing about 5% of my whole wardrobe right now because I just wear the same things over and over again.

So aside from those small annoyances, the only thing that has been really different this pregnancy and really annoying are these lovely varicose veins I've developed. I feel like I went from 32 year-old legs to 80 year-old legs (or really just an 80 year-old right leg, since my left leg seems unaffected thus far) in a matter of weeks. From what I've read, these will probably go away after the baby is born, and I am sure hoping they do. Some days they look worse than others, and some days they really hurt. Exercise is supposed to be good for varicose veins because it gets the muscles contracting and relaxing, which helps move the blood through those crowded vessels, so I'm glad it's that way and not the other way around. I'd be really mad if I couldn't work out. They're generally fine while I'm running or doing kickboxing, but sometimes after I go for runs especially, the veins hurt more. Compression hoses are about the only other treatment for varicose veins, and maybe I'll do that once it's fall and it's not so hot and humid. Try not to be too grossed out by this picture, and just remember, it's so Three (which is what we are sort of calling the baby at this point) doesn't feel so left out when he is older and there's little documentation of his time in utero.

Yes, I did call Three "he" in that last paragraph, but that doesn't mean anything. I have my ultrasound next week, but we're not finding out the gender of the baby. I still go back and forth between thinking we'll have another boy and thinking we might have a girl. I really have no strong feelings either way, and even if I did, I don't think those feelings mean anything. I have 2 good friends who have had babies in the last 3 weeks, and they both had strong feelings one way or the other, and then had the opposite of what they thought they were having, so I'm just going to stay in limbo for another 20 weeks or so, I think. I think I am feeling movement now, which is nice, but I am definitely ready to see that ultrasound to make sure things are progressing the way they should.

Drew and Zach get more excited about the baby all the time. Zach has decided that it will be fine if he gets a baby sister. Drew asked me this morning, "Mommy, ca-I (can I) touch your baby in your belly button?" I think it will especially be neat for Zach when he can put his hand on my belly and feel the baby moving. That will make it more real for him.

The first 20 weeks have gone by quickly, that's for sure, and I'll be just fine if the next 20 pass a little more slowly.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Grandma Cynthia's Birthday

I just uploaded photos from my phone, which explains why this post is a little past due. We celebrated Grandma Cynthia's July 12th birthday a week and a half ago. These pictures aren't great because I only had my phone with me, but at least they captured the moment. This was the night Drew was "spelling" everyone's names (see previous post).

The boys were super excited to help Grandma open her presents, and Grandma was happy to share the present-opening duties with her grandsons.

I think she was pretty surprised to have gotten a Wii Fit and some other related accessories/games. Zach was excited, too, because now both of his in-town grandmas have Wii Fit for him to play when he goes to their houses, thus making their houses that much more fun than his own house.

It was getting late, so we didn't get the Wii set up, but Aunt Katherine is borrowing a friend's Gamecube for the summer, so Zach and Drew were immediately asking if they could go play "that driving game" that they had played before. That game happens to be Mario Kart. So Katherine, Sam, Mike, and Zach got set up and got a game going.

Zach drove his own car and mostly ran into the wall, drove the wrong way on the course, and got last place every time (totally unbeknownst to him, which is what I love), and Drew was happy to help Mike drive.

It was no shock that Sam, the 20 year-old male playing the game, was the clear winner every time. Apparently that impressed Drew and Zach, because they then wanted Sam to read to them. He was a good sport about it and dove right in.

It was lots of fun celebrating Grandma Cynthia's birthday and hanging out with the fam. It's been great having Katherine and Sam home for the summer. Sam leaves in a couple of days for Nepal for a month to do a medical internship, and Katherine has been working a bunch, so we feel pretty lucky to have spent any time with them. Mike and I got to take Katherine and Sam out to dinner last weekend, which was a lot of fun, too. It's fun to hang out with them and see what cool young adults they've become.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Drew Speak

Some funny things Drew has said to me lately, which are, of course, 10 times more funny if you actually hear him say them in his cute little voice, but oh well:

-While sitting in his rocking chair, rocking before bed, I said, "I love you, Drew." He said, "I love me... Drew- I smell (spell) my name!" Then we were able to get him to do that one night at Grandpa Kevin and Grandma Cynthia's house, where we'd ask him to spell different people's names, and he'd say something like, "Sam. I smell Sam's name!!! Kafrine (Katherine). I smell Kafrine's name!!!!" And he's always so excited after he "spells" someone's name. It's just precious.

-Drew is very big into pretending lately. One morning I came into the living room, and Drew told me, "I Grandpa Nick (Dick), Zach Grandma Ruth, and this (a somewhat deflated balloon on a string) Sadie (Grandma and Grandpa's dog). So throughout most of that day and just before bed again that night, Drew kept telling me about being Grandpa Nick. A few days ago Drew and I were playing in the little pool at the club while Zach was at golf, and he was Thomas the Tank Engine, and I was Gordon, the big blue engine. As we headed out of the pool area to go meet Zach, I was walking ahead of Drew a little, and he said, "Can I chuff next to you, Gordon?" In case you've never had the pleasure (too bad you can't hear the sarcasm in my voice here) of watching any Thomas T.V. shows, I'll let you know that "chuff" is a word used often on the island of Sodor. Drew also recently told me he had Annie and Clarabel (Thomas's coach cars) "shunted" to him.

-Nearly every time we drive over the interstate, which is pretty often, Drew asks if we can get on the interstate. A lot of times the answer is no, so the other night when I told him we were getting on the interstate, he was excited. Who wouldn't be, though, right? He immediately started saying, "I can't wait! I can't wait! I can't wait!" Again, so much cuter in his little voice, so if you know him, try to hear him saying it.

-Tonight we went to the pool for a couple of hours after dinner. Towards the end, Drew and I decided to get out and get popsicles, but Zach wanted to stay in the water to swim and dive for his new diving toys (an amazing thing in itself- Zach passing up a popsicle to swim!). First Drew and I headed into the family bathroom so I could potty, and I accidentally let the door go before Drew was all the way in, and it is such a heavy door that it clipped his shoulder and sent him flying. Thankfully he didn't hit his head or anything- he mostly was scared, so I grabbed him and held him until he calmed down. Well, if you know me or have read this blog much, you know I have a problem with inappropriate laughing. Since Drew wasn't hurt at all, I was able to get a little chuckle as I replayed the accident in my head. I knew laughing was not right, but I just could not help a small giggle. Sweet Drew, pulled away from me just a little and said as nicely as can be, "Ca-you (can you) not laugh?" I felt terrible, but I was also really thankful he wasn't totally mad at me, because that easily could have happened.

-If you know Drew well, you know that he is not always the most easy-going kid. He gets really mad about some things, and lately when he throws a fit, I've been telling him, "Drew, I'm not going to help you or deal with you if you're crying, whining, fussing, or screaming." So lately his general response to that is, "Ca-I (Can I) be mad?" Sometimes there's a little more to it, like, "Ca-I be mad while I wash my hands?" or "Ca-I be mad while I sit in time-out?" I love that he asks if he can be mad. Usually I tell him, "Sure, but if you're whining or screaming at me, I'm not going to help you."

-Drew has been saying for a long time, "I mad!" when he's upset about something. Yesterday he was mad about something as we walked into the library, and whatever he had done had exasperated me, too, so when he said, "I mad!" I said, "I'm mad, too!" Then Drew said, "Don't cry, Mom!" He's told me that one before, too, where if I tell him I'm mad, he tells me not to cry. Maybe that has to do with the previous bullet point.

-"I not look cool." Drew told me this as he put his sunglasses on. It's finally dawning on me that people call him Mr. Cool or Cool Guy or anything to do with cool all the time because the kid almost never takes off his sunglasses. Here's how he looked when he told me, "I not look cool."

Tonight at the pool I thought he said the same thing to me, but when I asked him if that's what he said, he told me, "I a little bit cool."

Stay cool, Buddy. (I get in trouble for calling him Buddy, so I guess it's a good thing he doesn't read my blog.)

One Crazy Summer

It feels like it's been a busy summer thus far. Zach has had lots of different activities, and for the most part they haven't conflicted at all, but some have a little bit. For example this week, he had his last t-ball game (a make-up game, actually) at the same time as his last Mighty Mites golf. He chose to go to golf, which was ok with me. I think Mike and I would both prefer he become a golfer to a baseball player. A couple of weeks ago he had Safety Town, where he learned about all sorts of safety- traffic safety, water safety, stranger-danger, poison safety, bike safety, etc. As I stated in the last post, he had 4 straight weeks of swim lessons, basically, and he has had t-ball once a week and some Mighty Mites golf, too. This past week Zach had Vacation Bible School, and next week he has something called Sneak Peek, which is at the elementary school he'll attend in the fall and is supposed to be a little preview of kindergarten. The week after that he has tennis lessons (which might be the thing he has most been looking forward to all summer) and a Might Mites golf tournament (I think they play 3 holes), so I'm pretty sure that in Zach's mind, the best is yet to come. Zach has enjoyed the various activities, and since none of them have been more than a couple of hours long (at the longest), I feel like we've still had lots of good play time. I am looking forward to the last few weeks of summer with nothing really in the books, though. I don't want to be one of those parents who totally over-schedules her kid, but I do want Zach exposed to lots of different things and trying lots of things to figure out what he likes. I'm a little nervous for him to attend Sneak Peek next week, because it's the first activity where I'm not 100% sure he'll know anybody. I think that will be good for him, though, because hopefully he'll meet some other kids that he'll be in school with in the fall, and that may help ease his worries for kindergarten a little.

Anyway, here are a few pictures from this crazy summer.

First, t-ball pics. Zach definitely enjoys t-ball, but with this league, it wasn't quite fast-paced or competitive enough for him. He wanted to be able to get people out and keep score, but that's just not how it works in this league. He's a pretty good little hitter and thrower, but we're still working on catching the ball.

This was when he noticed Grandma Linda was watching the game with Drew and me. Pretty excited to have an extra fan in the crowd.

But then he got back to the game, and put his serious face back on. At least in t-ball he doesn't give anybody his mean look.

Zach asked me to take this picture of him and Foudy one day. He does love our dogs.

I didn't get great pictures from Vacation Bible School, but this one is ok. I think I mentioned last year that our church puts on quite the production for VBS, and the music is just amazing. They take hit songs and change the words to fit the Bible stories they teach about, and the kids get so into them. After the second week of VBS (it's only 1 week long, but there are 2 sessions because they have so many kids sign up) the kids are able to pick up a CD with all the music on it. We're still listening to the songs from the past 2 summers. This year's songs include variations of Viva La Vida by Coldplay, Livin' La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin, Say Hey I Love You by Michael Franti and Spearhead, Jump by Van Halen, and some others. Drew and I went early to pick Zach up on the last day so we could see the kids in action singing their songs. There was a lot of jumping involved in the choreography, it seemed.

Zach was happy to be in a group with his friend Audrey and Caleb for VBS this year.

I really haven't been very good about getting pictures taken this summer. Maybe I'll get some of Zach's tennis lessons and his golf tournament. He will definitely want some memories of those two things since he is so excited about them.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What a Difference 4 Weeks Makes

At the beginning of the summer, Zach was not real comfortable in the water. He didn't love getting his face wet, and he would not put his face in the water without plugging his nose. He was not excited for swim lessons to start, either. We signed him up for level 1 lessons even though he took lessons last year. On our first day, I wondered if it was a bad choice, mostly because Zach was clearly the only 5 year-old in this level with a few just-turned-3-year-olds and maybe one 4 year-old. But I figured it was ok, it would give him a chance to get reacquainted with the pool and to get comfortable in the water, and maybe he'd be the star of the class and build some confidence. Plus, he was signed up for level 2 in the next 2 week session, so I felt ok about that, too. Well, he did fine, especially compared to most of the other kids in his class, who I'm pretty sure all cried at least a few times. But it was obvious that he was always so nervous. His swim teacher, Mary Frances (believe me, I had to fight hard to not call her Sister Mary Frances every time I said her name!), was fantastic and Zach loved her, which helped a lot.

So after 2 weeks of level 1 lessons, Zach didn't pass. There were a few things he just couldn't get down, like the flutter kick, back float, and front float. Mary Frances recommended that he sign up for level 1 again. Thankfully, she had an opening in her next session, and we were able to switch Zach over from the level 2 class he was signed up for to level 1 again. I am so thankful we did that. The second group of level 1 kids was comprised of 4 and 5 year-olds, all very close to being level 2 kids. It was just what Zach needed. I really think it worked out so well for us- the first time, he was with kids at his level or below, so he didn't feel bad about himself, and the second time, he had built up enough confidence that the new group, made up of kids at his level and slightly above his level, was just what he needed to motivate him.

About halfway through the first session (beginning of week 2) we decided to give goggles a try, since Mary Frances thought being able to see might help ease his fears of the unknown- the dark, deep, water. They did seem to help some, but it wasn't until a few days into the 3rd week that Zach really blew me away. After lessons one day, Zach, Drew, and I were playing in the little pool, which has a zero depth entry and only goes about 2 feet deep. I looked over and happened to see Zach putting his whole body underwater, no goggles, no plugging his nose. He had his hands on the bottom of the pool and was sort of walking on his hands, with his feet out behind him. He came up for air and wiped his face off, and I showered him with praise and made a big deal out of it. It really was the first time I had seen him put his whole head under willingly, without plugging his nose or coming back up immediately. For a few days he was only comfortable doing that in the little pool- in his mind, the big pool was too deep, even though at it's most shallow depth it's just 2.5 feet deep (I think), but I didn't force it too much. I knew that this was a big step, and that if he was comfortable with putting his whole head under anywhere, eventually he'd be comfortable doing it everywhere.

As we got into the last week of lessons, Mary Frances, Mike, and I just could not believe how far Zach had come. Zach was still really struggling with kicking, though. He would move his arms but keep his legs vertical, and one day I told him a couple of times how he was in swimming lessons, not underwater-walking lessons. About a day later we were in the car and I said "swim lessons" in something else I was talking about, and sure enough, Drew says, "Swim lessons, Zach, not walking lessons." Geesh. Something must of sunk in, though, because in the next few days, Zach suddenly started getting more horizontal in the water and started kicking his legs! I decided I had to get the video camera to the pool to get evidence of his growth. I think this video will be astounding to my parents, who witnessed Zach's nervousness in the water just a few weeks ago when they were visiting. So first, a video from Tuesday, after about 3 and a half weeks of lessons.
You'll notice in that video that not only can Zach jump into the water and not worry about his face getting wet, but he also is nearly diving into the water. Mary Frances decided that this group of kids was ready for beginner diving, and honestly, I think Zach was the star of that skill, much to my amazement. There was a little girl in the class, who also recently turned 5, who was an excellent swimmer- definitely the best in the class, but even she would chicken out when it came to diving in and would go feet-first at the last second. I use the term "diving" loosely, because it's not like Zach gets his head in first, but most of the time it's slightly more graceful than a plain belly-flop.

On Thursday, the second-to-last day of class, Mary Frances took the kids to the deepest part of the pool and gave them the chance to go off the diving board. Zach was not interested. I sort of tried to get him to do it, but I didn't do anything more than gentle encouragement, because after all the growth he'd made, there was no way I wanted to force him into something like going off the diving board. I basically said, "Are you sure you don't want to do it, Zach? We could probably stay for lunch..." Yes, I attempted a bribe. I'm embarrassed to admit it, and as soon as I said it, I wished I hadn't, because it really wasn't that important to me that he jump off the diving board. Instead he jumped in from the side, and said to me, "I know that doesn't count for staying for lunch," and I told him we'd stay anyway just because. That night we talked about it some, and Zach decided he wanted to try the diving board the next day. Even at bedtime he wanted to pray for courage to do it. Mike and I really didn't say anything after that other than that we thought if he did it he'd feel really proud, and while it might be scary at first, we thought he'd probably really enjoy it and even want to do it again.

So Friday rolled around, and Zach was still saying he was going to brave the diving board. Usually while Zach was in lessons, Drew and I would be at the little pool, and I'd keep one eye on Drew and one eye on Zach. Friday I told Drew we were not getting in the baby pool until after Zach's lesson, because I wanted to make sure I didn't miss a thing. After the warm-up and swimming practice, Mary Frances took the kids a little deeper to the diving platforms. Zach really didn't hesitate to dive off the platform and swim to Mary Frances. I figured that was a good sign for the diving board. After a couple of tries there, they all headed to the diving boards. Zach got right in line with no hesitation, and I waited anxiously, wondering if he'd do it or if he'd change his mind at the last second. You'll see in the next video, which shows the diving platform once and both diving board experiences, that Zach didn't really hesitate much. I'm not an overly emotional person, but as he jumped in the first time and swam to the wall, I will admit, I got teary-eyed. I couldn't help but think back to the beginning of the summer, when Zach would only jump into the shallowest part of the pool, where he could touch, with his nose plugged and if Mike or I were there to catch him. And now, here he was, jumping into the deepest part of the water and SWIMMING to the side. I was one proud, proud mama, that's for sure.
I was also very thankful, because there was one little boy named Ben, who I think is 4, and he was in all 4 weeks of lessons with Zach. He started out great, but for some reason, by week 4, he was a crying mess. His mom was not putting up with the antics, though. Ben stood on the diving platform crying that he did not want to jump off, and his mom got up there and tried to talk him through it, and even offered to jump off with him, but eventually, on the count of 3, threw him into the water. And I am not even exaggerating on the use of the word "threw." So then they got to the diving board. If Ben was nearly hysterical about going off the diving platform, you can imagine how he felt about going off the diving board. But Mom was not phased by it, and pushed him right off the diving board, too, not once, but TWICE! Each time little Ben landed in the water and did a great job swimming over to the side, but did not want to do it again. I'm not judging Ben's mom, but I just don't think I could have done it. It just wasn't that important to me that my 5 year-old jump off the diving board. If Zach never in his life jumped off the diving board, I wouldn't have cared that much. I don't think jumping off a diving board is a skill that somebody has to master to succeed in life. Anyway, I watched wide-eyed as Ben's mom pushed her hysterical kid off the diving board and was so thankful that Zach and I were not in that position. I can only imagine that Zach would have been incredibly sad had I done that to him, and I would have felt immense guilt, too.

I really think one of the biggest factors in Zach's success in these lessons was his teacher. Mary Frances was just amazing. We got so lucky that Zach was put in her class. I noticed that all the swim teachers at the club are adults, whereas last year at the public pool Zach's swim teacher was a 16 year-old high school girl. Mary Frances was great at encouraging Zach and understanding his fears, while also holding him accountable and pushing him just enough. I think that's a harder thing for a novice high school kid to do, compared to a 37 year-old woman who has been teaching swimming for 14 years. We made sure to write Mary Frances a nice thank you note (accompanied by a great picture drawn by Zach) and give her a gift card to Cold Stone Creamery to show our appreciation. Drew is already talking about having Mary Frances when he starts lessons next summer, and it's so cute to hear him say her name. We hope she's still teaching then, because we will be requesting her for sure! I don't know, though; Mary Frances is pregnant with baby #2, due at the end of November, at which time her oldest child will just be 13 months old, so hopefully she's not too busy next summer to teach lessons again!

When Zach started swim lessons four weeks ago, he was not excited, and he would have been happy to miss a class. By the end of this week, though, he was definitely sad that lessons were about to end. That in itself is saying something, I think. The funniest part was what he said to me after his second jump off the board, as we walked over to get his report card and a treat from Mary Frances. "Mom," he said, "when I'm 6, I'll jump off the diving board again, but I'm not doing it before that." So although he was proud of himself for doing it and he had fun, he's also ok with waiting a while to do it again. :-)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

That's What I'm Talkin' 'Bout!

A few weeks ago when the whole family was out on the trail, boys on bikes and Mom running, Zach started saying, "That's what I'm talkin' 'bout!" There were quite a few puddles on the trail, and Zach delighted in riding through each one at top speed. As he did so, he'd yell out, "That's what I'm talkin' 'bout!" I have no idea where he picked up this phrase, but suddenly that day he said it about 20 times. Then I didn't really hear it from him again.

A few days ago, Drew and I were in the car, and Drew said to me, "Zach say, 'That's I talkin' 'bout.'" I agreed that yes, Zach does say that. Now, it's a favorite phrase of Drew's, and it cracks us up how often he uses it. The cutest was probably the other day, after the boys had been at Grandpa Kevin and Grandma Cynthia's for a couple of hours. As Mike and I drove home with them, we asked the boys what they had for lunch. Zach mentioned PB&J, and Drew added, "Strawberries, and blueberries, and raspberries! That's I talkin' 'bout!" all just as excited as could be. We were so tickled. This morning when I got Drew out of bed, I told him that there were muffins in the oven, and again, he said, "That's I talkin' 'bout!" It's just so darn cute the way he says it. Here's an example, though it's not a candid moment, so it's not as cute as it could be.

A totally different funny quote from Drew came last night, after I'd gotten him out of the tub. He was all wrapped up in his towel and then unwrapped himself, and, like any 2 year-old boy, was interested in his penis. "Look at this, Mom! This my penis!" Then he grabbed his testicles and said, "Look at these, Mom!! Look at these!" He was very excited. "Yep, I see those," I said. Drew said, "These keep my penis safe." I couldn't help but giggle. When I told Mike the story, his comment was, "Wait 'til he's a little older and gets hit there, and then we'll see if he still thinks they keep things safe." Probably a valid point, I guess.