Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Decorah Eagles

You may or may not have heard of this- if you live in another state, you probably haven't- but there is a pair of bald eagles up in Decorah with a live feed camera on them. I don't know how many eggs they have, as I've only watched them a little, but I get the feeling from things some of my Facebook friends have said that maybe the eggs are expected to hatch soon. So here is the website for your viewing enjoyment. Zach and I are watching it as I type this.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Last Snowfall (I Hope!)

When I was up around 3 a.m. with Jake last night, I had to do a double-take as I passed my bedroom window. I had no idea it was supposed to snow. The boys were excited about it, though I wasn't thrilled. It actually wasn't that long of a winter here compared to last year, thank goodness. Normally on Tuesdays Drew, Jake, and I go straight to the library after dropping Zach off at school. However, since I am trying to get Jake on more of a napping schedule and he's having more and more trouble falling asleep away from his room, I decided today we'd come home so he could nap, and then hopefully we'd head to the library. Unfortunately, neither thing happened. He was being a real stinker about napping and ended up only napping for a half hour or so in my arms, and we didn't make it to the library at all. But, the morning wasn't a total failure, because one thing Drew really wanted to do was shovel, and he got his wish. He spent a good 30-45 minutes on the deck, shoveling the little bit of snow we had.

And maybe his favorite part- eating his "popiscle" (no, that's not a typo; that's what he calls popsicles) of snow.

Despite being a pain about sleeping all day today, Jake did help me get a couple of cute pictures. The poor kid has such chapped cheeks. I'm trying to be good about getting Aquaphor on them multiple times a day, but the progress is slow-going. I love those big blue eyes, though.

I'm still struggling to get a good smiling picture of Jake. The pre-flash flash on the camera always makes him furrow his brow. This is the best I could do today- notice the obligatory drool about to drop from his chin.

Last night's sleep wasn't as great, but it wasn't horrible, either. I was up a few times, but never for an hour or an hour and a half at a time, thankfully. And we have been trying so hard to get Jake to take a bottle, and we feel like we're having just a little success these last couple of times. We've tried a bottle the last 4 days in a row (twice on Sunday), and the last three times, he's taken .5 oz., 1 oz., and 2 oz. respectively. Yay! There might be hope yet.

By the way, if you find any spelling errors, it's not my fault. For some reason spell-check isn't working for me, and I'm not motivated at all to go back and proofread.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

It's been rough week. Jake still isn't sleeping well, and I had multiple nights this past week where I was up for an hour to an hour and a half at a time, trying to help Jake sleep. One night it was 12:30-2:00 a.m., and I was so tired that next day. At first I'd go in and give him his pacifier and go back to bed, but then 10 minutes later he'd be crying again, so I'd be up again. Eventually I decided it was just harder to get in and out of bed, so I just sat outside Jake's room at the top of the stairs, waiting for the next cry. Finally, around 1:45, I decided to feed him, and he went back to sleep and slept for a few hours. The thing is, I really don't think he's hungry, because he's happy to just get the binky back, although he struggles to keep it in his mouth, which is why he keeps waking up. And when I do feed him, he doesn't eat too long before falling dead asleep. I know he needs to learn how to soothe himself back to sleep, because I don't want to be plugging him in multiple times a night forever. However, I am not ready to leave him to cry it out, and I hope it doesn't come today. We ended up doing that with Drew, and I hated it, even though it only took a few days. Still, I just really am hoping that as he gets older he will develop the ability to sleep in longer stretches without waking so much, and without all those tears (from both of us!).

And finally, after 15 weeks, a small glimmer of hope: last night we had to plug Jake in once, at about 9:00, and then we didn't hear from him until 3:40 or so. I got up and fed him, and he went back to sleep. Zach came in and woke me up at 7:15, saying, "Mom, Jake's awake. I tried to give him his binky, but he just smiled at me." Such a sweet big brother. And I felt great having slept so well and so much. Now, I just hope it wasn't a fluke night, and that many more of these come my way!

I have a bunch of random pictures. Zach asked Mike the other day who his favorite kid was, and when Mike said he loved all three of them, Zach confessed that he loves Jake best. He forgets the fact that Jake is only fun for short bursts, but he and Drew can play for hours and have a blast. It's ok, though. I am glad Zach and Drew both have accepted Jake and love him as much as they do. It's obvious that Jake loves them, too, as he is started to really track them and watch their every move. The other day on the way to pick Zach up from school, Jake was kinda fussy in his car seat. Once Zach got in the car and Jake could look at him (Zach sits in the way back of our van), Jake totally quit fussing. Zach has suddenly become an expert on parenting, too. This last week he said to me, "Mom, when Jake makes noises, we need to make the same noises back, so he knows we're communicating with him." There was some other tip he gave me, too, but I can't remember it now.

Jake is just changing so much. He rolls over all the time now. That may be the key to getting him to sleep better. It's kind of a crap-shoot, though. He flips to his tummy a lot to sleep, but sometimes he has a hard time getting his head comfortable, so he wakes up and is upset. At other times he seems to be very comfortable and sleeps well. A couple of times he has taken hour-long naps in his crib (once or twice is all), and both times he's been on his tummy. Knowing he's on his tummy is a catch-22, also. On the one hand, I worry about SIDS, but on the other hand I think it helps him sleep better and I know I can't stop it, anyway.

Jake is also grabbing at things now. It's so fun to watch him lay under his activity gym and reach for the toys that are hanging, or to see him in his car seat, trying to get a toy into his mouth.

Jake's newest vocal trick is making the hard g sound. He'll look right at me and go, "guh," and when I repeat it back to him (like Zach has suggested), he grins big grins. He also is getting pretty ticklish, and there's really nothing better than hearing his laugh and seeing his big smile with it.

Jake is being a real stinker about taking a bottle. We were successful a couple of months ago with a couple of bottles, and then we just were not good about trying once a week. We went for many weeks without giving him a bottle, and now we can't get him to take one. We tried 4 times this last week- Mike tried 3 times and Grandma Linda tried once, all without much success. Actually, they were all complete failures until today, when Jake took about half an ounce from a bottle Mike was giving him. We've tried about 5 or 6 different kinds of bottles, too. It's not a huge deal if he doesn't take a bottle because it's not like he will be going to daycare or anything, but I would like to be able to have a little more freedom and not have to be there every single time he needs to eat. I guess if we never are successful with the bottle, we'll introduce a sippy cup early on.

Now for some other random photos. Drew always likes to say that he and Zach are "messy mans," which is kind of funny, because Drew's always been one to want his hands wiped off and clean. Anyway, here he is being unintentionally messy on a recent movie night when I made smoothies.

And yesterday the boys decided to play with their changing color cars (they change color based on being in hot or cold water), and they decided that since they usually get pretty wet doing this, they'd just strip down.

Last night we had our friends BJ, Carey, and Charlie over for dinner. After eating pizza and grapes, Drew had some chocolate cake that Carey made, and once again, he was a proud messy man.

It was great to hang out with the Supples again, and their little boy Charlie had a lot of fun petting the dogs and playing with Zach and Drew. I think his favorite thing was wrestling with Zach. Charlie's only 15 months old, but he's a solid little guy! Zach just loved playing with him.

So it was a rough week, but dinner with friends last night, last night's decent sleep, a good 6 mile run today with Foudy (my longest run since I found out I was pregnant almost a year ago, I think) with lots of cardinals (I really like cardinals- must be something my Grandpa Art instilled in me, or maybe my sister Sandy), and dinner tonight with friends all made for a great weekend. I hope the rest of the week is good, too. Now I better get to bed, just in case it's not a great night!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mission Accomplished

Jake practiced and practiced last night and earlier today, and this evening, his practice paid off- he rolled from back to tummy!

Nobody was actually watching the first time he rolled from back to tummy, unfortunately. Mike was playing with Zach and Drew, and I had just left the house to go pick Maggie up at the vet. Mike said Jake was on his back on the floor, and then Mike looked over and he was on his tummy! I was on the phone with my mom on my drive to the vet, and we were talking about the previous post's video of Jake almost rolling over. We hung up the phone, I walked into the vet's office, and I got a text from Mike with the photo below and the caption, "Got there on his own."

That figures. I am with that baby all day long and much of the night, and here he goes and rolls over when I'm gone! That's ok. I look forward to seeing him do it tomorrow or the next day. Mike then got this little video.

So tonight I didn't swaddle Jake when I put him to bed, because I don't think it's safe to have his arms tied up if he rolls onto his tummy in the night. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for a night worse than the last 5 have been. Even though I know it may be a rough night, I have a feeling I won't be ready for it. It may be my third time at this rodeo, but it's still so hard to have my sleep interrupted so much. It feels like aside from Jake, I'm the only person awake in the whole world. I shuffle back and forth between Jake's room and my own room, and each time I enter my room I'm greeted by the various breathing patterns of Mike, Maggie, and Foudy. Foudy at least wakes up to give me a look of acknowledgment, but Mike and Maggie just snore away, totally oblivious. Lucky Mike- I wish I had the ability to tune everything out like him. Even on the extremely rare occasion that he does hear Jake before me or that I wake him up to tend to Jake, I still lay there awake, unable to sleep. I think it's the mother's curse. Lately Jake is awake about an hour to an hour and a half after I go to bed, which is one of the toughest times for me to get up, maybe because it makes me feel like the 10 minute stretches of "sleep" are just starting and will go on all night. I try to have a positive attitude, and every time I get back in bed I say a little prayer, "Please, God, just let Jake sleep for 3 hours straight. Please." Some nights I handle it ok, but other nights not so much. I feel myself getting closer to the point that I remember with Drew (who let me sleep no more than an hour at a time many nights for the first 4+ months) where I would just get really emotional. I have had a few nights of tears from exhaustion, frustration, etc. One of my friends, who had her own third baby about 5 months before Jake was born, said to me, "Just try to look at the positive side. I know it's hard, but this may be the last time you get to hold a baby in the middle of the night. Try to enjoy it." If I was only up once a night, I might be able to follow that advice. But at this point, I'm just so tired. A typical night looks like this: sleep an hour, then get up every 10-20 minutes for almost an hour, then sleep 2 or maybe 3 hours (on a good night), and then get up again a few times before finally getting back to sleep for 2 hours before I have to get up for the day at about 6:30. That leaves me tired and short on patience, which sadly means Zach and Drew get a crabby mom to deal with. I don't like living that way. This is definitely my last time with a newborn, and I would happily get up with Jake once a night or hold him most of the day, but I am ready to sleep again!

Ahh, I digress. This post was supposed to be just about Jake rolling over. On a side note, the vet. Poor Maggie had to have surgery today to have some lumps removed and have her teeth cleaned. Maggie turns 11 on Saturday, and for the past few years, she has been what our vet, Dr. Allison, calls a "lipoma factory," meaning she has many little lipomas (harmless cysts) growing on her body. For the most part we don't worry about them, but she has one that has grown a ton in the last year, and at least one more that Dr. Allison couldn't aspirate and that worried her. There was also one right by her eye, and we were worried about it growing bigger and obstructing her vision. So now the poor girl has to wear an E-collar (Elizabethan collar- clever name, I think) for 2 weeks, no stairs, no jumping up on the bed (where she sleeps every night), no real exercise, outside on a leash only , etc. Maggie weighs about 55 pounds and there's no way in or out of our house without doing some stairs. And, in case you forgot, I've got a 5 year-old, a 3 year-old, and a 3 month-old, so I have no idea how I'm going to manage carrying Maggie up and down the stairs and staying with her on a leash. I think it's safe to say she won't be going outside much when Mike's not home. Poor dog. That cone collar really is throwing her for a loop. I can only imagine- she's got no peripheral vision, the thing sticks out far so she runs into everything, and it probably is pretty uncomfortable. She was whining just a few minutes ago, so I took her out front on her leash, and it's like the second she touched the grass she basically dove for the stairs. I don't know what that's all about, but I have a feeling it's going to be a long two weeks.

Here's one of Maggie's incisions.

Look at that sad face. She is miserable, and I feel terrible for her.

So between Maggie and Jake, I have a feeling it will be a no-sleep night for Sarah. *Sigh*

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Little Jake, A Little Drew

Jake is trying really hard to roll from his back to his tummy these days, and he's getting very close. It's cute except for the fact that I think he's been practicing at night, when he (and me) is supposed to be sleeping. Last night, on one of my many half-awake, dazed and confused trips into his room to help soothe him, I found him kicking those legs up and throwing them to the side, getting his whole body onto his side at the same time. We're still swaddling him at night and for his naps, but I'm thinking we may have to quit that soon, because I don't want him to be successful in rolling over and then have his hands tied up in his straight jacket (which is basically what a swaddle seems like to me) and not be able to push his upper body up very well.
He was practicing his skill again tonight, so I grabbed the camera just in case. Drew was hanging out with me while Mike and Zach played in the basement, so this video is about 5 minutes of Jake trying to roll over, and giving a little giggle, and Drew showing some of the stuff he knows and just being a little silly. Please excuse Drew's funny hair- he had his bike helmet on for a while earlier this evening.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Three Years and Three Months

Drew had his three year check-up yesterday. He was definitely not excited about going to the doctor, which didn't surprise me in the least. He said many times, "Mater, going to the doctor is NOT fun!" He asked about shots, which I assured him he wouldn't be getting. Before we went to the appointment, we got out our little doctor's kit and Drew and I practiced on both Drew and Birdduck (his doll, in case you didn't remember) the things that the doctor might do to him at the appointment. I think that helped a little because then he had an idea of what to expect. I had told Drew he could play a game on my iPhone once we were back in the exam room. Well, when the nurse called us back to the exam area, she started right away with checking his temp, getting his weight, etc., and he was mad that he didn't get to play a game, so he was being kind of a pill. The nurse was saying, "Andrew, I'm just going to put this in your ear... Andrew, I just need _____... Andrew, etc." I was just waiting for Drew to freak out on her and very meanly say, "My name is NOT ANDREW!" even though that is his name. Thankfully, she heard me call him Drew and caught on, and I assured Drew he'd get to play a game while we waited for the doctor to come in, and that all helped.

After my promises of no shots, the nurse informed me that the vaccine for pneumonia and meningitis has changed from protecting against 7 strands to protecting against 13, and the AAP is recommending that kids between ages 2 and 5 who've had all four of their PVC-7 vaccinations get one PVC-13 vaccine. Well, I'd already promised Drew he wouldn't be getting any shots, so I asked about putting that one off until he gets a flu shot in the fall/winter, and they said that would be fine. Whew! I feel a little like I dodged a bullet, but at the same time, it makes me think a little of putting off something like a colonoscopy (ahem, you know who you are) or some other uncomfortable procedure- you know it's going to suck, but it's something the doctors, the experts, think you should do. But, I suppose you just have to do it and get it over with, and maybe it's worse in your mind than it really will be. I don't know. My hope is that in the fall/winter, Drew will be that much more mature and able to handle the shot. I'm probably delusional, though.

So after seeing the nurse, a nurse practitioner student, and the actual nurse practitioner (with lots of waiting in between each of them), we were finally ready to leave. We'd been there for an hour and a half, and we were cutting it seriously close to being late to pick Zach up from school. Thank goodness Jake was relaxing at Grandma's house and not stuck at the doctor's office with us! Drew actually did quite well. It helped that the student who came in was really sweet and knew something about Lightning McQueen and the Cars movie- that'll win you points with Drew anytime. As we finally left the exam room, Drew said, "Well that wasn't so bad!" It was pretty funny. And then he got his stickers and cookies, just like he wanted.

Anyway, Drew's stats- he grew almost 2 inches in the last year to put him at 36.8 inches tall, which is only the 33rd percentile. He's short like his big brother, although Zach was almost an inch taller at age 3. He has gained over 4 pounds in the last year, putting him at 30 pounds 10 oz., the 39th percentile. Zach weighed exactly a pound more at the same age. It surprises me a little that Drew is smaller than Zach, but I don't know why, exactly.

So, in addition to yesterday being Drew's 3 year check-up, it was Jake's 3 month birthday. I don't know what he weighs, but I am definitely curious about it, so I might take him to the nearest hospital, where I can use the scale in their baby boutique to weigh him. I think he might be in a growth spurt, because he seems to be sleeping lots lately. Jake started sleeping in his crib a few weeks ago, and he's been doing a pretty good job with it. In the last week I have started following a bedtime routine, which includes a bath (a couple of times a week, anyway, but not every night), getting his jammies on, reading the same book (My Animals by Xavier Deneux, a great black and white board book), nursing him, swaddling, rocking with a song and his pacifier, and then laying him down in his crib drowsy but not quite asleep. And, knock on wood, it seems to be working! He has done so well with it, going to sleep on his own. Some nights we have to go back in and plug him back in (reinsert his binky), but not most nights.

Just like when Drew was a baby, I checked out a couple of books from the library on babies and their sleeping habits. Funny thing- one of the books that I checked out a few times when Drew was little (he was a terrible sleeper for a long time, and I think a big part of that is that we didn't use those swaddle wrap things) actually has a piece of paper in it with my handwriting on it from almost 3 years ago! Anyway, both of these books say that it's easier to get daytime sleep worked out before nighttime sleep, but I think these so called experts are crazy! Anyway, I'm trying to get Jake to start napping in his crib, because otherwise I have to hold him the whole time he sleeps, and I just don't get a darn thing done. So I'm following the same basic routine as at bedtime, except for the nursing (I only do that if he's actually hungry), and he has napped in his crib for the last 3 days in a row! Does he do all his daytime sleeping in his crib? Heck, no. But, today he took one 30 minute nap there, then a little later an hour nap in his crib, and then later a 40 minute nap in his crib, so I got a little over 2 hours of him sleeping with me not holding him, and it was great! Don't get me wrong- I love to hold him and snuggle him, and sometimes it's nice to have that as an excuse to just sit and do nothing. But today I was able to fold a load of laundry that had only been in the dryer since last night (rather than 2 or 3 days), wash some dishes, and play some games with Zach and Drew. And yesterday while he napped I was able to sweep the floor and do some other general cleaning. So I'll take it. And soon we'll start reading other books, too, and at some point we'll stop swaddling, but for now we're going to stick with the exact same routine just so he starts to recognize it. He's not sleeping all night yet, which is the next thing I'm hoping for. Last night I think I got up once to give him his pacifier (it's such a blur), and I know I was up for about 40-45 minutes in the 3 o'clock hour to feed him, change him (he pooped; otherwise I wouldn't change his diaper in the middle of the night), and get him back to a drowsy state. But then he slept until 7-ish this morning. We (and by we, I mainly mean I) were getting up often to give him his pacifier, but a couple of nights ago Mike decided we should shut his door and our door tight so that we (I) don't hear so much, and that seems to be the right decision. I think I was getting up and plugging him in every time I heard a peep, and maybe I didn't need to do that.

As far as other milestones go, about all I can think of is that he seems to have discovered his hands. He'll lay there on his back and hold his little fists out and just stare at them. I imagine he's thinking, "Hmm, I think I can make that thing move..." He is definitely sucking on his fingers more and more, and it seems more deliberate than it used to be. He also has appeared to purposely touch one of the little birds that hangs down from his activity gym. I can't find my What to Expect The First Year book that I've had for a long time, so I'm not really sure what else to expect at this point. Hopefully I'll find the book soon.

Jake still lights up when Zach talks to him. He likes Drew, too, but Zach is so much more interested in him and makes much more of an effort to talk to him, so naturally they have a stronger connection. The novelty of Jake hasn't worn off for Zach, except maybe at night. That new bedtime routine includes an actual bedtime, which pretty much falls about the same time as Zach and Drew's bedtime. That means that Zach and Drew have been reading with Mike lately as a threesome, and they're used to individually getting Dad one night and Mom the next. Zach was pretty upset tonight that he didn't get to read just with me, and that he had to read with Mike and Drew again. It doesn't matter that both Zach and Drew read with me individually before their quiet time/nap time every day; there's just something about bedtime, I guess. I feel bad, like I'm letting Zach and Drew down, but I also have to remind myself that when Zach and Drew were babies, they got the special bedtime routine that Jake is now getting, so he deserves it, too. Aaah, three kids, one mom. I'm not that great, but it seems there's just never enough of me to go around.

Here's a really cute picture of Jake from today. I just love him more each day!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cake and Presents and Loud Singing, Oh My!

Drew's third birthday was this past Saturday. Unfortunately, it wasn't his best birthday yet, as he wasn't feeling great and therefore was pretty crabby and emotional. But it ended on a good note, so that was nice.

I always like a little walk down memory lane on my boys' birthdays.

Here is the first picture ever taken of Drew. He was my second induction, but by far the fastest labor and delivery. That was probably the first and last time Drew was easier than Zach...

Around 1 week old, and so sweet.

This was taken on his first birthday.

It's amazing to me how much I see his current face in this picture from 2 years ago.

Enjoying his first taste of cake.

This was last year with his Lightning McQueen cake. Yes, the obsession had already begun. I can't believe it's held on this long!

Showing off his new bike helmet last year.

This year Drew decided he wanted a Kermit cake. I was happy to not do Lightning McQueen again- that was a lot if work! The Kermit cake was somewhat easier. I just had to freehand Kermit's face and then fill it in with frosting. This year I just used canned frosting rather than homemade buttercream. The homemade stuff is fine, but it's a lot more work, and honestly, I prefer the taste of the canned stuff. I just had to add my own coloring. I mixed all my vanilla frosting with the green dye, though, and then realized I didn't save any white for the eyes! It was about 10:15 at night, so I just mixed up a tiny batch of white buttercream, and that worked very well. So here is the cake in progress.

And here's the final product. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. It still took me probably at least an hour to frost, though.

As I said, Drew wasn't feeling great on Saturday. He was (and still is) coughing and sneezing a lot and blowing his nose about every other minute. I thought for sure he'd take a good nap, what with not feeling great. Wrong. It tool him a long time to fall asleep, and then when he woke up he was crabbier than before. We decided to let him pick what was for dinner, and though I was afraid he'd choose Kraft Mac & Cheese, he didn't. He first said he wanted ice cream. We told him that would be dessert with the cake. So then he decided he wanted pineapple. Just pineapple. So I went to the store to buy some ice cream, pineapple, kleenex with lotion, and some Leinenkugel's Berry Weiss, because it had just been one of those days (and one of those weeks; read previous post). Mike, Zach, and I were having frozen pizza, but Drew said he didn't like pizza and that he wanted fish sticks. Seems like a crazy birthday choice, but whatever. He ended up only eating one fish stick and a bunch of pineapple, and later he mostly ate ice cream and no cake, so I guess he got what he wanted after all!

After dinner Mike's two sets of parents came over to celebrate with us. Here he his with his cake.

We struggled to get a good smile for pictures. This was the best we had.

Drew warned us before everyone came over that we shouldn't sing too loudly to him, because apparently that morning, when Zach and I sang to him, we were too loud. (It was one of those mornings, as many mornings are with Drew.) Watch this whole video to see if we did a good job of meeting his demands.

Here's the whole group enjoying some cake and ice cream. (Mom and Dad- here's your picture of the new table. This is the best I've got.)

After cake and ice cream, Drew got to open his presents.

Mike and I struggled with what to get Drew, but we settled on this Lightning McQueen track. So far I'm not sure who likes it and plays with it more- Drew or Zach.

Throughout it all, Jake got in some good snuggling time with Grandpa Kevin.

It was a good ending to an otherwise somewhat tiring day. And most importantly, Drew went to bed a happy "free" year-old, as he would say.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Longest Week Ever

Man, has it been a long week here. After my sister Becky and my nephews left on Monday evening, I figured we'd just get back to our normal schedule. I couldn't have been more wrong. At about 3 in the morning that same night (so technically Tuesday morning), I awoke to Zach crying out. I hurried to his room, where he informed me just in the nick of time that he had just thrown up on the carpet where I was about to put my bare foot. As I began the clean-up, which was maybe the grossest thing I've had to do yet as a mom (picking chunks of food out of carpet is way worse than getting baby poop on your hands, in my opinion), Zach headed into the bathroom to throw up some more. About a half-hour later we were both done, and we both went back to bed. Where was Mike through all of this? Dead asleep, of course! So when Zach came in later to let us know he had been sick again (not just vomit this time, if you catch my drift), Mike didn't even believe him at first when he said he'd already thrown up. Anyway, what I assumed would be a 24 hour stomach but turned into a 6 day (and counting) ordeal. Tuesday it was stomach issues for Zach and a little bit for Drew (though not anything like Zach), no appetite for either of them, then aches, high fever, and general lethargy for the next few days. Drew never was as severe as Zach was, thankfully, but he still didn't feel great.

I've been wiped out by all this sickness. It seems like me sleeping more than 2 hours at a time at night is a distant, very fond memory. Same with showering on a daily basis. I think I showered twice all week last week. And the days were painful and long. Zach only wanted to lay around and be snuggled. Drew wanted me to play with him. Jake needed to be held and bounced. So I was being asked to do 3 different things all the time, and felt like Jake was the only one really getting what he wanted usually. So, the boys watched a lot more TV than I normally allow, and played more computer games than I normally allow, too. Thank goodness for Grandma Linda, who came over so I could at least go grocery shopping on Tuesday for some essential items, and who watched Drew and Jake so I could take Zach to the doctor. That appointment ended up lasting 2 hours, and during that time he was tested for mono, strep, and influenza, but all tests were negative. We also learned that his weight had dropped from 44 pounds this summer to 39 pounds. That's what happens when you eat half a popsicle all day, I guess. I'd try it if I thought I could lose that last little bit of baby weight that way, but I'm pretty sure I'd win the Crabbiest Mom Ever award if I tried to make it through the day on just a popsicle.

Then yesterday they both woke up coughing, sneezing, and with noses that won't quit running. We're going through kleenex like it's going out of style here. And now Jake has a runny nose and terrible cough, too. I tell ya, if there's anything that breaks your heart, it's hearing your little 12 week old baby coughing and all congested. Poor kid. However, Zach seems improved even today compared to yesterday, so maybe it won't stick around too long. Honestly, it's just nice to have Zach showing some zest for life (and a more normal appetite) again!

Originally I was going to include Drew's birthday pics in this post, but I think I'll save them for tomorrow. Jake's actually asleep, and given the rough week I've had, I think I better take this chance to get caught up a little on my sleep, too. Five bucks says he'll be up in a half hour, though. I'll let you know in the next post.

Sisters/Cousins Weekend Days 3 & 4

As I said in the last post, Mike arrived home from California in time to visit with my sisters for a bit before they had to head home. I was so happy to have him back. I'm on my own with the 3 boys for much of the day every day, and we do fine, but it's nice to have another parent there to help out. My sisters helped, too, but they also had their own kids to take care of, so there was only so much they could do.

We decided that we would celebrate Drew's birthday with his cousins there by having some blueberry coffeecake (a Zinn family favorite- something we make often when we are together). We decided to put 3 candles in Drew's piece and sing Happy Birthday to him. He thought that was pretty cool.

Here are my sisters and all the kids except Jake. It was a lovely family breakfast.

After breakfast we let Drew open his presents from his cousins, aunts, and uncles. The best part about these next few pictures is definitely Anders' face. He may have been more excited about Drew's gifts than Drew was. In fact, in a couple of pictures Drew looks kind of mad. He really does like the games and other gifts he got. Oh, and notice the guitar is close by Anders (the one I mentioned in one of the previous posts). I had put tape over the speaker on it to dull the volume a little.

All the boys enjoyed wrestling with Mike. It's funny how true it is that dads play differently with their kids than moms do.

Here's a cute picture of Myles walking around with a magnifying glass.

Just before Sandy and Anders left, Drew and Anders started playing in this big box I'd gotten the day before and hadn't put away yet. Drew kept saying, "We're going to college!" so then Anders started saying it, too. I don't think Anders knew what they were playing, but I know Drew was thinking of Toy Story 3. Either way, it was cute to hear two 2 year-olds talking about going to college.

These next two pictures really don't do it justice, but with all those little boys around, there were toys all over the place.

After a delicious tilapia tostada lunch that Becky prepared for us, Sandy and Anders left, and then Myles and Drew napped while Mike too Cam and Zach to Zach's tennis lesson. I got some much needed quiet time with Jake. Once Becky was out of the shower, she got some snuggling done with Jake, too.

We went out for a pizza dinner and came home for some playtime, showers for the 3 big boys, and bedtime. Becky was the requested reader that night. I was very surprised to see Drew had climbed into Becky's lap all on his own. He can be sweet at times!

I considered not letting Cam and Zach sleep in the same room Sunday night. They'd had sleepovers every night and no naps, so I knew they had to be tired. Zach had school on Monday and I didn't want him to be too tired for that. But then Myles was coughing a lot, and there just wasn't a great place to put Cam, so I decided we'd let Cam and Zach try it out for one more night. I told them that if they weren't asleep by 8:30, Cam would be moving rooms. I put Jake in bed at 8:25 and could hear Cam snoring through Zach's door, so it was clear they were tired and went straight to sleep. Good boys!

While Zach was at school on Monday, Cam and Drew got some one-on-one playtime in, which was good. I think Drew really liked having Cam to himself for a little bit. They played with the Thomas set-up in the basement and with the cars. But Cam did ask me more than a couple of times how long it'd be until Zach was home, and he was only gone for about 3 hours! During that time I asked Cam if he was excited to get home to see his dad, and he said, "Yes, but I'm more excited for Zach to get home so we can play Star Wars some more." Cam, Drew, and Jake all went with me to pick Zach up from school because Cam wanted to see Zach's classroom. Becky stayed home and made some lunch for us all.

During lunch our new kitchen table was delivered, which wasn't great timing when you've got 4 little boys and 2 adults eating, but we managed. And the table's beautiful, so I was very happy to be getting it. It was about at lunch time that Becky and I realized Zach and Cam were trying to pull a fast one on us. Here's the story- that morning, Cam had said to Becky, "Mommy, the little suitcase is all packed!" I heard him say this and thought, "Hmm, that's weird that he took the initiative to pack that suitcase. I wonder if she asked him to do it? Good job, Cam," and I just went on with what I was doing. So at lunch time Becky said to Cam, "Are you trying to pull a fast one on me?" and after a confusing look from Cam, she continued, "I opened the suitcase." Suddenly it dawned on me, and I asked Becky, "What, is Zach's ship in there?" (Zach and Cam had asked us earlier in the weekend if they could trade Star Wars ships- Cam wanted Zach's $30 Obi Wan ship, and Zach wanted Cam's $80 X-Wing. We had told them that they could not trade.) Becky asked both boys, "Where is the X-Wing?" And their answer was, "I don't know..." Then the table got delivered and we were distracted. Later, while Cam and Zach were playing outside, I caught Becky looking under my bed. She's always been a snoop, but this was a whole new level! (Just kidding- there's nothing under there but dog hair and maybe dog toys anyway) She was looking for the X-wing. We looked all over and finally asked the boys, and found out they had hidden it behind the T.V. Suddenly it dawned on me that I had seen Cam come out from behind the T.V. (which sits in the corner of our living room) earlier in the day, and again, it struck me as a little weird, but I didn't think too much of it. Anyway, we got the ships back to their rightful owners, and the boys delighted in the fact that they almost got away with their big trick.

Now, the last few pictures.

Cam got some smiles from Jake.

I like this picture a lot. These boys had a lot of fun together.

And the two youngest cousins.

It was a chilly day, but Zach and Cam did some playing outside while Drew and Myles napped. Then Becky even took them up to the park for some more playing and to get out all their energy. Before we knew it, it was time to get to the airport. Cam fell asleep about 5 minutes after we got in the car- I think the whole trip had finally caught up with him. It was tough to say goodbye, since I have no idea when we will get to see them again. At times during this weekend I was definitely stressed out and overstimulated, and part of that came from having so many people in one house, and so much little-boy energy everywhere (my own boys are sometimes more energy than I can handle), but I really do cherish the time with my sisters and the time for the boys to be together, getting to know each other. I very much wish my sisters lived closer so we could hang out more often. I guess that makes it that much more important to enjoy the time that we do get to spend together. Thank you so much for coming to visit, sisters!! I love you guys!!!