Tuesday, October 26, 2010

For The Times, They Are A-Changin'

I had my 10 year college reunion this past weekend. People from big universities probably never have reunions, but if you went to a small college, as I did, you can expect organized reunions every 5 years. The last time I was on my college campus was 5 years ago, and there were major changes at that time, primarily a whole new student union. Now, another 5 years later, there's a brand new athletic complex, complete with an aquatic center, climbing wall, and state-of-the art weight room. As a former collegiate athlete, I can say I sure wish we had that when I was there! There are also new, much nicer dorms to live in than were available when I was there. These are all big changes, for sure, but possibly the biggest shock my girlfriends and I were faced with was what the students were wearing.

The guys' style hasn't changed much in 10 years- basically still t-shirts and jeans. Probably the biggest change amongst guys is that they don't curve the bills of their hats so much anymore. It was the girls who really shocked us. So I've decided to take a little trip down memory lane. I went through my old photo albums and scanned in some photos from my college years, starting with my freshman year and ending with my senior year. These are not necessarily my favorite pictures (especially the earliest ones, where I think my face looks fatter than it does now when I'm 7.5 months pregnant- thank you, freshman 15!); rather they are pictures that illustrate the point I want to make. In all of the pictures I've scanned in, my girlfriends and I were in "going out" attire. The small town where our college is located used to have basically one bar, for ages 19 and up, and it was a stone's throw from campus, so that was literally THE place to be on Saturday night.

So, freshman year- 1996-1997- this is me, Katrina, and my roommate Sandy. Notice the big flannel shirts.

This is also my freshman year- Sarah Freed, Sandy, Katrina, Britt, and me. Mostly big, baggy clothes. Clothes I wouldn't be caught dead in now, and clothes that totally were NOT flattering on me! Baggy AND horizontal stripes? Where were Stacy and Clinton then? (If you have never watched What Not To Wear, that may not make sense to you.)

Sophomore year now- 1997-1998- not as baggy, but just casual. This is me, Kristi (apparently the birthday girl), and Kat. Sandy, my roommate, was actually in the picture, but when it got scanned it made her face all white, so I cut her out of it. Sorry, Sandy.

My junior year- 1998-1999- mostly t-shirts and jeans again. Starting in the back left- me, Freed, Sandy, Cristy, Michelle, and then in the front- Britt, Emily, Angela, and Kristi. As a side note- all of these girls except Freed were at the reunion this past weekend, and that seemed to be about it as far as people we (Sandy, Britt, Kristi, and I) wanted to see. It was a pretty poor showing, really.

This was Halloween my junior year, the year my friends and Mike's friends started really hanging out. We had a big Halloween party. The dresses that Britt and I wore (we're on the left) belonged to my roommate Sandy's mom, and this is probably about the most "dressed up" I ever got for a night up at Joe's. These are the 3 girls that I went back to campus with this past weekend.

Finally, our senior year- 1999-2000. We were still doing the tank-top-with-a-shirt-over-it thing then. Those are candy necklaces, too, just in case we needed a snack while up at the bar, I guess. This picture also shows the girls from this past weekend- Sandy, me, Britt, and Kristi.

This last picture is taken a couple of days before our graduation. This is actually at the bar, and we are all up on "The Ledge" for this photo. Again, notice that we're mostly in jeans and cute t-shirts (as opposed to grungy or baggy t-shirts). These were my closest college friends- Heather, Britt, me, Freed, Sandy, Kristi, and Katrina.

So you can see from all of those pictures, that we dressed pretty casually for going out. It's small-town Iowa- we didn't need to get too fancied up. There's nothing like being up at Joe's Knighthawk this past weekend and seeing the current style to make me realize that 10-15 years ago, we dressed WAY differently, and that yes, I am indeed getting old. It seemed I was constantly picking my jaw up off the floor at the outfits I was seeing. Maybe it didn't help that I was already feeling old and out of place as the only pregnant lady in the bar (I realize I don't look like a college kid anymore, but if I hadn't had this big belly sticking out, at least I would have felt like maybe I could have passed for someone in my mid-20's or something), but man, those outfits were unreal. I tried to be real sneaky and used my phone to snap a few photos of some of the co-eds. Unfortunately, I'm not quite at the paparazzi level, so my photography skills aren't great. I was not able to get pictures of the most atrocious outfits, or if I did, the pictures just really don't do them justice.

This one (girl in the white shirt and black skirt) seemed somewhat modest, to be honest.

This girl's dress, while very short, wasn't horrendous, but it was northern Iowa in late October. She, like many other girls, probably had on high-heeled sandals with this dress.

All three of these girls' dresses were extremely short. In real life (as opposed to this dark and blurry picture), the one on the far left barely was covered, and that is no joke.

The blonde girl in the forefront of this picture seemed like she got her dress straight out of Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love video, minus the sleeves and high neckline. Definitely gave new meaning to the term "little black dress," that's for sure. I mean, I don't know how she'd sit down without showing her butt. And then the girl on the right has a very short little skirt with those high heels.

This is just a slightly better pic of the blonde in the little black dress.

So remember that ledge that my girlfriends and I were on in the one picture? Well, people still dance on that ledge. Girls in their tiny dresses dance on that ledge, and I can only hope they have the dignity to wear underwear under those tiny dresses. It really was disturbing to my friends and me to see all these outfits. I had to ask at one point (aging myself that much more), "What would their mothers think?!" Many of the dresses were also very low-cut and revealing up top, and it just wasn't good. It makes me thankful that fashion trends rise and fall, and I hope that by the time my kids are in college, this tiny-dress trend is out and jeans and t-shirts are back in! It also makes me a little relieved to just have boys (at this point, anyway), seeing as how they still wear basically the same thing. But it brought up a couple of interesting and also annoying questions that I posed to my girlfriends- why is it that the guys still just throw on a t-shirt, jeans, and a hat, and the girls go to such extreme lengths to get attention? Don't they realize the kind of attention they're drawing to themselves? Is that the kind of attention they want? Maybe I should suggest that some prof at the college teach a class based around that. I'm not saying these girls shouldn't dress in cute clothes or anything, but I guess I'm wondering if any of them ever wonder if they've crossed a line of sorts.

So, aside from the disturbing outfits, the weekend was really fun. It was great to see Sandy, Kristi, and Britt again, and to be back on our old stomping grounds, even if we felt like old ladies. We did make it out to the dance floor and we did stay up way too late, but it was all worth it! Thanks, Sandy, Kisch, and Britt! You my friends!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall Sports

I haven't been very good at blogging lately. Seems like life is just carrying on normally and there's nothing too exciting to write about, not that the blog posts are ever what I would necessarily call "exciting" anyway, but you know what I mean.

Zach just finished off another season of soccer. A couple of weeks ago I took a few pictures. Mike was gone that day, so it was just the boys and me, and by the time we got to the game, I was tired, both physically and emotionally (game was at 12:30, so imagine a busy morning, a rushed lunch, and just an impatient mom), so when it came to taking pictures, I couldn't really be bothered to get out of my chair to get the best shots. So here's what I got.

Zach is the little guy in white/gray with his foot up like he's about to kick the ball. His buddy Kenneth is the redhead in the green shirt. Kenneth's mom and I used to teach together, his dad and I went to college together and play soccer together, and the boys were born 1 day apart.

Throwing the ball in.

This was a different day, but this pretty much sums up how we would keep Drew entertained during Zach's games. Give him a snack (in this case an apple), and he's pretty content. I know, it's not good to give kids too many snacks, but it allowed me to watch the games without feeling like I had to entertain Drew the whole time.

Overall, Zach had a good soccer season. He enjoyed it, so that makes it a success in my book. He scored a few goals, including 2 in the final game this past weekend. He still needs some work on ball-handling and game strategy (he loves to just kick the ball out of bounds in the defensive half of the field, rather than trying to kick it up towards his goal), but he's only 5, so I'm not too worried about that. It definitely is interesting to see which kids have older siblings that they've played with. You can pick them out on the field by their aggressiveness and their better understanding of the game. Which has left Mike and me wondering- when do first-borns catch up to their non-first-born peers in that sense?

The last few weeks Zach has also been playing flag football. He loves flag football, and he does a great job at it. He knows when he plays that he has one of three jobs- block for his team's runner, run with the ball, or "tackle" (grab the flag) the opponent with the ball. Having just one thing to focus on each play really seems to help Zach be successful in football. It doesn't hurt that he is a competitive kid, either.

Here's Zach running with the ball.

And he breaks away from the pack. I believe he scored a touchdown on this play.

Going for the two-point conversion.

Zach says his favorite parts of playing football are tackling and scoring touchdowns.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of Zach blocking. The kid blocks until after the play is dead and the whistle has been blown. In his last game this past Saturday, he was blocking a kid who really did not appreciate it, and the kid took a swing at Zach. On a later play, this same kid was running with the ball and Zach got his flag, and boy, could you see that this particular little boy has quite the temper. Thankfully, Zach always kept his cool and didn't retaliate or anything, which kind of surprised me, because I'm pretty sure if it were me at that age, I would have retaliated.

Just like at soccer games, snacks help Drew get through football games. He does enjoy cheering Zach on, though, too, which is pretty cute.

And now, a couple of random photos.

Drew wanted to snuggle Foudy and have me take pictures of them together. The pictures were all pretty funny, but I thought this one was the most hilarious because of both Drew's and Foudy's faces. If you look closely you can see Drew's lovely sunglasses tan.

Last Monday Zach didn't have school, and the boys and I were supposed to go to the zoo. It ended up being rainy and colder, so we couldn't go, and the boys, especially Drew, were bummed. That evening he was basically in tears because we hadn't gone. The zoo here is fine, but it's not amazing, so I think it's kind of sweet that Drew loves it there so much. Zach gets out of school early on Wednesdays, so I packed a lunch and the boys ate it in the car on the way from school to the zoo. The weather was great and the zoo was not busy, so we had a great time. I only took one picture while we were there, with my phone, so it's not a high quality photo. We were playing on the big playground at the zoo, and I asked Zach and Drew to get together for a picture. This other little boy was near us and said, "I, too!" and sat down next to Drew and started smiling. So here's Zach, Drew, and some random kid.

And that's pretty much it for non-exciting news from here. I know Drew has said some funny things lately, but it seems like they're always better in person than written on the blog, so I just haven't written them down lately. Maybe something more interesting will happen in the next week or so.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What Goes Around Comes Around

Karma got me today. As a kid, I had all kinds of tricks for not eating my vegetables and the other foods I was served that I didn't care for. I was a somewhat picky eater, and maybe I still am by some people's standards. I can remember doing the standard things like spitting my food out in my napkin, hiding veggies under my plate, feeding food to the dogs, etc. I often took a really long time to eat so it wasn't uncommon for me to end up alone at the dinner table. Those situations allowed me to tap into my more creative side, pulling tricks like dropping all my peas on the floor and showing my dad (who was in the living room) my empty plate, hiding food in the trash, and stashing my green beans in my sister's milk cup. Each of those situations I remember getting caught, whereas the old standbys of feeding the dogs and spitting the stuff into my napkin probably were more successful because I was able to get rid of the evidence.

So today just before lunch, Zach had a few minutes at the kitchen table while Drew and I were in the bathroom washing hands. We got to the table and we were all eating. The boys each had half of a pear cut into slices, some broccoli and ranch dressing, a ham sandwich and half of a pickle. Zach quickly ate his broccoli, pickle, and sandwich, and Drew immediately devoured his pear and then went to work on his pickle and his sandwich. After a few minutes, I looked at Drew's plate and realized that he seemed to have a lot of broccoli, and some of the pieces were definitely bigger than what I thought I had given Drew. I find the texture of broccoli to be a little difficult to just chew and swallow without a milk chaser, so I always try to cut Drew's pieces pretty small for his small mouth. So I picked up a couple of these larger pieces of broccoli and asked Zach if he put some of his broccoli on Drew's plate. As his eyes shifted all over the place, he told me he did not. He exhibited classic signs of lying, so I pursued the issue. He was pretty much immediately in tears about me not believing him. I pulled out a paper from his guidance teacher that he got a few weeks ago about what trustworthiness is, and the paper says, "Being trustworthy means being honest. You tell the truth, even when it is hard."

Zach stuck to his guns and insisted he did not put any of his broccoli on Drew's plate. And I tell you, it's a terrible feeling as a parent to be stuck between feeling like your kid really is lying and feeling like he could be telling the truth but you're not believing him. The thing was, I really wasn't sure. From his actions and a couple of similar past situations, I felt like he was lying. At the same time, I knew there was the possibility that I hadn't cut all of Drew's broccoli so small, but I really thought I had. Plus, I thought, "Well, Zach is usually quite good about eating his broccoli, so why would he do that?" And then I'd have this tremendous guilt, thinking, "He's telling the truth, and I'm saying I don't believe him, and what kind of a message is that sending?" But in my gut, I just thought his actions when we discussed it all really made him seem guilty.

So I let it go for a couple of hours, and Zach and I talked about it again when Drew was napping and Zach and I were laying on his bed. I was very calm; he insisted he didn't do it, but acted all fidgety and nervous, and then literally fell asleep in front of my eyes in about 2 minutes. I think the whole situation wore him out emotionally that he just needed to sleep.

When the boys were in the bath tonight, Zach said to me, "I'm sorry, Mom." I asked him what he was sorry for, and he said, "All the bad things I did today." I said, "Like what?" He said, "Like saying your veins were disgusting." (He's been reminding me that the veins in my leg are gross, and the first time I let it go, the second time Mike heard him and told him how rude it was, and tonight I was just tired and got mad and told him again how rude that is to say to someone.) So then I said, "Thanks. And for putting the broccoli on Drew's plate?" And he sort of half-smiled and gave me a breathy "Yeah" while looking away. Huh? Did he just admit to the whole thing? So I asked him point-blank, "So, Zach, are you saying you put some of your broccoli on Drew's plate?" "No," he said while looking away. Anyway, I'm not sure what I said next, but he did then admit to it all. Thank goodness! I really hated the not knowing. I didn't say anything, and we finished up the bath, brushed teeth, and read books in Drew's room. I had Zach then go to his room while I finished up with Drew, and then Zach and I discussed the whole thing. I asked him what he thought an appropriate consequence would be, and after thinking a while, he said, "I got it! Take away a few of my books." I'm kind of a book nut, so Zach has tons of books, and each week we check out about 15 books from the library just for Zach, so taking "a few" of them away doesn't really seem appropriate, so Mike and I need to figure something else out. Zach does understand that the consequence is for the lying, not for putting the broccoli on Drew's plate.

So, I figure in about 30 years it will finally dawn upon Zach that he should have just fed the broccoli to the dogs or something (something totally forbidden in this house because of our dogs' food allergies). Spitting it in his napkin just won't work because we use cloth napkins. I do give him credit for trying, though. And really, it was a pretty clever move, and chances are if it had happened with Mike here and not me, he would have gotten away with it. I mean no offense to Mike by saying that, but it's like when a police department uses a reformed master thief to help solve crimes. Zach's working against an expert here, so I guess he (and Drew and Three, when they're older) will just have to get more creative. In an effort to show that I have made bad choices in the past and to coax the truth out of him at lunchtime today, I did tell him the green beans in Aunt Sandy's cup story, so hopefully he's smart enough to not try that one!