We started Labor Day weekend by doing some prep work on Friday afternoon/evening. The boys did some painting so we would have some really awesome wrapping paper for the birthday presents we needed to wrap for Anders.
Zach also helped me mix up the cake that I made for Anders' party, and after the boys went to bed I made the frosting and decorated it. Anders loves bikes and his favorite color is red, so this was what I came up with.
I found that it is very difficult to get red frosting, though; it generally looks dark pink. Eventually I got it dark enough (a whole little bottle of Wilton red icing color, a teeny smidge of black, and a little yellow to make it less pink looking) to be acceptable, so I went with it. Somehow my hands ended up looking like this, though.
We got up early Saturday morning and headed to Mike's grandpa's house, where I dropped the boys and Mike off and borrowed Mike's parents' car so I could head to Iowa City for the Hawkeye game. This was the first time I've ever been to a Hawkeye game without Mike also being there. I walked over with my sister Sandy and her 2 sisters-in-law Carrie and Betsy. We had absolutely gorgeous weather and the Hawkeyes won, so that made for a great start to the day.
After the game Sandy and I hit up Panera for a snack and hung out a bit before heading over to City Park to prepare for Anders' birthday party. Mike and the boys drove in from Pa's house to join in the celebration. We got lots of pictures from the party.
Zach and Will on the teeter-totter.
Zach, Anders, and Drew hamming it up for the camera. I really love this picture. Just before this picture was taken, Zach told Drew that Anders was two. Drew ran over to ask me if Anders was two like him, and I said, "Yes, Anders is two today- today is his birthday!" Drew said, "Oh! Happy birdie, Anders!"
Zach and Anders checked out the cornhole game.
Anders and Drew were all about giving each other hugs, but every time they did, they would fall down. Then Anders would start saying, "Owie, owie..." so I had to tell them to hug without tackling. This was the first time in about the last 15 months that Drew doesn't freak out about Anders coming near him, so I considered it quite successful. I tried to get a picture of them hugging but was always a second too late.
Drew even shared the fire engine with Anders, and I saw him share it with Anders' cousin Clara, too. Overall, I was pretty impressed by Drew's happy mood and his ability to get along with others at the birthday party. It's not that he's not a likable kid, but if he's not really, really comfortable with someone, he's not necessarily that easy to be around.
Mike and Drew got to ride together on the train.
Here was the whole crew on the train.
Zach was totally into Anders. I think after being up at Sandy and Will's place earlier in the summer, when Anders was totally into Zach and Cam, Zach found that he really likes the adoration of a toddler. He doesn't realize that Drew adores him, too, because he mostly notices that Drew argues with him and doesn't do everything he says, whereas Anders happily follows Zach around, never getting mad at him or ruffling his feathers in the slightest. So Zach wanted to do everything with Anders at the party.
After the train, some of the party-goers rode the carousel.
Then the smallest party-goers got to ride in the airplanes. This time Drew and Anders rode together, I think because they both wanted to ride in the red plane.
Then it was time for cake. This picture cracks me up because I have no idea what was being said to Anders, but I love how Zach and Will (especially Will) are looking at him, and I love Anders' expression. Maybe this was during the singing of Happy Birthday To You.
Anders seemed to enjoy both of his cakes.
There was some present opening, although at that point I think Anders was getting tired and was too distracted by all sorts of things, so he wasn't really into opening presents. We needed to head out, so we packed up our things and said goodbye to the party people and made the 2 hour drive home. We got home around 9:30 and we were all exhausted. It was a great day, though.
On Sunday we lounged around until Sandy, Will, and Anders got to our house around lunchtime. The afternoon was spent playing before we headed out to dinner at Macaroni Grill. The waitress was very thoughtful and brought the kids' food out early so they could get started on it. This was a nice gesture, except that the rest of our food took forever to prepare, and so all 3 boys were done eating by the time the adults' food even go to the table, and we had to try to keep the boys entertained while also trying to enjoy our food. It was a little stressful, but really, the kids did pretty well, so it was ok.
We then headed out to the club for the end of summer party they were having. This was originally supposed to be a 4th of July party, but we had such bad weather then that they had to cancel it twice and finally settled on doing it Labor Day weekend. It was a lot of fun. The boys got to ride all sorts of rides, get balloon swords, get body art, etc., all for free.
Drew was especially funny on these swings. Mike and I could see him making all sorts of hilarious faces as he swung past us, and afterward we found out he was reenacting a scene from the movie Cars, where Mack is falling asleep and is trying to keep himself awake. It was pretty comical.
Anders really loved this train, so he got to ride on it once by himself and then once with Zach. Every time he had to get off he'd say, "My choo-choo! My choo-choo!"
Then there was the giant inflatable slide. Mike went down it with Drew the first time because Drew couldn't climb up the ladder very well. Drew got down and said to me, "Mom, that slide not berry good for me because it too steep." Long pause. "I want to go again!" The second time Zach got a little over eager and slid down before it was his turn and about landed on Drew. At least it was his own brother and not somebody else's kid, I guess.
The club said they'd be doing fireworks at sunset, which was much more appealing to me with an early September sunset than a 4th of July sunset. That's something that I find annoying about the 4th of July- the fireworks come so late, I don't feel like I can keep the boys up that late and still have it be fun for anyone. But, we figured with sunset being right around 8:00 now, we could keep the boys up a little longer and all watch the fireworks and it'd be fine. Well, the sun did set right around 8:00, and then there was some awesome lightning right above us. We waited and waited and waited, and finally, at like 9:00, the fireworks started. It felt like a long wait, but the boys did a great job waiting for them to start. We weren't sure how Anders and Drew would feel about the loud boom of each explosion, but they did great.
Drew kept saying, "I like that kind!" and "Fireworks not scary; they just fun!"
We bolted out of there right when the finale ended, and could not believe how quickly we were able to get all the kids to the car and out of the parking lot. The boys were all in bed by 9:45 and the adults not long after that.
On Sunday morning we got up and walked to a nearby cafe for breakfast and then played around outside while Sandy and Will packed up their car. They left around 11:30 or so. Zach said, "It feels lonely without Anders here."
So it was a great weekend, and we really enjoyed spending so much time with Sandy, Will, and Anders. Even now, any time Drew hears the word "two," he says things like, "It two just like Anders and me two!" I just love giving the cousins a chance to be together and to play together. Anders and Drew both did great all weekend with pottying on the potty and not having accidents, so that was a bonus, too!
It's really late now and I have to get to bed, so I probably won't even spell check this. Sandy, you can point out my errors later. :-)