Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Fun

Last Saturday we headed out in the cold to the country club for the annual Easter egg hunt. Despite this being almost the latest possible date for Easter, it still was chilly! After Drew staying up super late the night before (see previous post), I was worried he'd be in a terrible, crabby mood. Then I heard him get up at 6:30 a.m., while I was in feeding Jake, and I worried a little more. However, he was in a pretty good mood. It helped that we didn't have to stand around a lot before the egg hunt.

Here are the boys waiting for the announcer to say go.

And they were off!

The kids were separated into 2 groups- 5 and under and 6 to 8. So Zach had a pretty good advantage, seeing as how he's just 6 weeks from turning 6.

I was a little worried Zach would end up with tons more eggs than Drew, but they were pretty close. Drew just zipped around grabbing eggs and had a lot of fun.

Afterward, we went inside for the pancake breakfast and to check out the loot. It's funny, Drew had told me the day before that he really wanted to get Smarties at this egg hunt, and I said maybe he would and maybe he wouldn't, not knowing what would be in the eggs. Well, he basically got ALL Smarties! So he was pretty happy!

Zach got one of the 5 special eggs out there. It had a note in it to go to the front desk. When he got there, he was rewarded with a $10 Toys R Us gift card. He was very excited about that, and said that he would get $10 of his own money out of his bank at home so that Drew could get something from Toys R Us, too. So sweet.

Mike got the "pleasure" of going to Toys R Us with the boys, and Zach used his gift card to get a Star Wars action figure- Jango Fett. Zach still gets confused about whether he got Jango or Boba Fett (or Janga and Bobo, as he often says). If you don't know, Jango is the dad, and Boba is the kid, although Boba is actually a clone of Jango, and in the later Star Wars movies, Jango is dead and Boba is older. Anyway, we've had to answer the question, "Is this Jango or Boba?" about a million times.

At this time of year, I try to avoid mall Easter bunnies. Santa is one thing, but a giant bunny that walks on 2 legs? I just can't even try to sell that to my kids. I don't know what I want them to picture when they think of an Easter bunny, because a little bunny hopping around, hiding eggs isn't realistic either, but I guess I like that idea better than those scary things at the mall. But, we couldn't escape the Easter bunny at the pancake breakfast after the egg hunt. We sat by our friends BJ, Susan, their kids, and some of their other family members, and poor Anna, who is 4, was terrified of the giant bunny. But Zach asked if he could get his picture taken with the bunny before we left. I couldn't say no to that. I wasn't sure how Drew would feel, but he was still in a great mood, so he was into it! He had kind of a funny smile when he first stood in front of the bunny, but that picture had a shadow on it.

I've mentioned before that our church is huge, so I dread holiday services there. It's tough because they're such great services, but I just cannot stand the crowd and the parking lot! The one nice thing is that there are many options for services. For Easter there were 3 services Saturday evening, and 3 on Sunday morning. So for the last few years we've gone to the Easter service on Saturday evening. It's still busy, but it feels less busy than trying to do it all in the morning, in addition to an egg hunt and everything else. Plus, Mike's mom often ushers at church and saves us seats, which is a huge help! So we parked across the street at the bank, like we've done the last few years, so that we can avoid the crazy parking lot, because if there's one thing that really gets me stressed, it's sitting in a parking lot, attempting to leave some place, at dinner time, with 3 hungry little kids in the back. Just the thought of it stresses me out.

Anyway, the church service was good, the kids were good, and the message by Pastor Mike was great, as usual. You can listen to the sermon here, if you'd like. The church is huge because Pastor Mike is such a dynamic speaker, and he definitely keeps it real, if you will. Jake woke up right at the end of church, and we had Mike's mom snap a quick picture with Mike's phone. The lighting wasn't great, but it's the first family photo since Christmas, so I'll take it. You can see we ended up with no special Easter outfits this year- just wore stuff we had in our closets.

Saturday night I got the Easter baskets ready and we hid some eggs for Zach and Drew. Originally the green-ribboned basket was Zach's. A couple of years ago I made the blue-ribboned one for Drew, and last week I made the orange-ribboned one for Jake. However, the morning of the Easter egg hunt at the club, Drew said he wanted the orange one. I didn't think Jake would care, so I said that was fine. Then Zach said he wanted the blue one. So Jake ends up with the green one. I wonder if it will still be that way next year, or in 5 years.

Sunday morning the boys were excited to check out their baskets and hunt for eggs. Here's Drew saying, "That's the rattle of money!" It actually was the rattle of jelly beans, though.

Zach was pretty quick at finding his eggs. It's fun to hide his as he gets earlier, because we can find harder spots to make it more challenging. I have fond memories of egg hunts, and I feel like my parents, especially my dad, enjoyed hiding the eggs for my sisters and me.

Drew wanted to open every egg as he found them, and I had to convince him to just wait and find all 10 eggs first, then open them all.

Later I had lots of work to do for the day's later events (frosting sugar cookies and preparing a salad), so Mike entertained the boys with one of the new books the Easter bunny brought.

After Jake's morning nap, we headed over to Grandma Cynthia and Grandpa Kevin's house for a big Easter lunch and some more egg hunting. We had a great time, but only took this one picture.

The rest of the day involved Mike doing some yard work, Zach playing Star Wars for a couple of hours with his cousin Cam in Colorado via Skype (such a great thing for those boys!), Drew napping, me making the potatoes for our evening get-together, and Jake napping (but only while I was holding him, of course). Once everybody was up from naps, we headed over to get together with our church small group and some other people. There were probably at least 20 people there, so it was a large group. We knew about half of them. The boys had a great time playing, and Mike and I enjoyed the socializing, but by the end of the night, we were exhausted. It had been a very busy holiday!

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's the Little Things (updated a second time)

Some days you just gotta take joy in the little things. Yesterday Drew gave me two opportunities for such a thing.

1. In the car, waiting in line at Starbucks for a chai I didn't need, Drew, who encouraged me to stay in the line despite its length (I abhor waiting in line!), said, "Mom! On my water bottle there's an uppercase soccer ball and a lowercase soccer ball! And here's an uppercase football and a lowercase football!"

2. At the grocery store, Drew really wanted the fire engine grocery cart. We had to move around some carts to get to it, but that was ok. He got right in and proceeded to "turn on" his siren and "honk" his horn. So around the store we went, with Drew loudly going, "WooooOOOOoooo! wooooOOOOOooooo! AANNNNHHH! AAANNNNHHH! WoooooOOOOOooo!" (That's the best way I can figure out how to spell Drew's fire engine horn noise.) Needless to say, we got looks, smiles, and comments from pretty much everyone we encountered. Some parents might have been embarrassed, but he was just having such a darn good time, and he clearly brought joy to most of the people who saw/heard him, that I couldn't help but enjoy it, too. It was probably good that we didn't need too many things, though.

On a different note, here's another Drew story that isn't necessarily funny or not funny; it's just classic Drew. You may remember that one of Drew's main comfort measures is sucking on his arm. We took his pacifier away when he was about 14 months old, and he started the arm-sucking a month or two later. You can see a picture of it here. For the most part, the arm-sucking is not a big issue, but I also don't want Drew doing it forever. He says he likes it when his arms are cold (they must taste better that way), and he has also told me he sucks on his arm when he's tired. A classic Drewism is, "I sucked on my arm a little, but not too much!" which he sometimes says upon waking up. For a while, Drew would sometimes suck on his arm if he was particularly upset while in a time-out. He'd be yelling, "Get me out of here!!" and then suddenly he'd be silent, and I'd peek at him, only to find him sucking away. In an effort to attempt to gradually break the whole habit, we told him that was not allowed, and that he could only do it while in bed. I've also told him that when he is four. he'll need to stop sucking on his arm. Check back in about a year to see how that's going. I have a feeling I know what it will be replaced with, based on what I've observed in just the last week. First, during a nap last week, I peeked in on Drew. He was dead asleep with his right arm across his face in arm-sucking position and his left hand down his pants. And today, at the end of a time-out, I noticed how quiet he was, and I went to him half-expecting to see his arm at his mouth. Nope; he knows better than that. Instead there was that left hand again, resting comfortably in his pants. How am I going to break THAT habit? Maybe I should go back and encourage the arm-sucking...

I just had to add this last little Drew story, which took place about 20 minutes ago, only 20 minutes or so after I completed the original post. Drew was sitting on the floor, barefoot, and he said to me, "Mom, that little red dot on my toe, I ate it off." That "little red thing" just so happened to be a scab. Drew couldn't quite understand why I made the funny face that I did, but that is maybe the most disgusting thing I've heard in a very long time.

Update #2:
It is 9:55 p.m. I put Drew to bed and left his room at approximately 8:20 p.m. He just came downstairs, completely wide awake, and said, "Mom- I mean Gloria- after the Easter eggs tomorrow, I know there will be pancakes, but will there be syrup on them?" Yes, move over, Mater. I will now be called Gloria. We had a movie night tonight and watched Madagascar, and the one female character, a hippopotamus, is named Gloria. So I am now Gloria. The last thing Drew and I talked about before we said goodnight was the fact that we are going to an egg hunt tomorrow at the country club, and that afterwards we'll be staying for the pancake breakfast. I guess it was all just so exciting that it's been on his mind for the last hour and a half. So he asked his question, and I answered it with, "I'm sure there will be," and he took a big, excited breath, and scurried (one of his favorite words these days) away, back up to his bedroom. The poor kid will probably be so tired in the morning that he'll be in one of his famous moods for the very cold outdoor Easter egg hunt. Tired Drew + Cold Drew = Crabby Drew. Awesome. I'll let you know how it goes. We may have more scowling pictures to share.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wait- it's almost Easter?

Last week Mike had to go out of town for a few days. Thankfully the boys and I survived, and even did pretty well. On Saturday the boys and I went over to Mike's mom and step-dad's house to do a little early Easter celebrating.

First we had a delicious lunch from Panera (my favorite!). Then while Jake hung out with Grandpa Curt,

Drew and Zach hunted for Easter goodies.

Shortly thereafter we decided to dye eggs. Thank goodness Grandma Linda and Grandpa Curt were on top of this, because I hadn't really put much (or any) thought into when we were going to dye eggs. Dying eggs with the boys is like frosting sugar cookies with them- I would love to take my time and make them neat and pretty, but- who am I kidding?- they're 3 and 5 years old. They want to drop the eggs in the dye and move on to the next one. They care a little bit about how pretty they are, but not too much.

Drew is like me in one regard when it comes to dying eggs- he likes dying them, but not really eating them. Zach, on the other hand, LOVES hard-boiled eggs. I think he ranks them right up there with candy and other desserts. He'd eat 5 in a row if I'd let him. He decided he had to taste one of these right after we dyed it. You can see what he thought of it.

Mike got back Saturday evening, and we had a nice evening. On Sunday we actually made it to church- something we haven't been great at since Jake's been born. Drew walked in and woke us up at 7:08, and amazingly, we made it to church just in time for the 8:00 start. I'm not gonna lie- I think it's pretty darn impressive that Mike and I were able to both shower and get ourselves and 3 kids under age 6 ready and out the door in less than an hour. Later in the day Mike and the bigger boys went to the driving range and then Zach got to go to a bowling birthday party.

That evening we had our small group from church over, and I was inspired by the season, so I made these little nests for dessert.

The kids loved the treats, but Drew wasn't into the Peep on top, which surprised me. Zach was happy to eat what was left of Drew's chick, though.

Next weekend the festivities will continue with an Easter egg hunt at the club on Saturday, lunch with Mike's dad and step-mom on Sunday, dinner with our small group Sunday night, and church somewhere in there. Oh, and of course the Easter bunny will be visiting our own house. I did manage to get Jake's Easter basket ready this weekend, too. So although I haven't been very on top of things as far as Easter is concerned (I'm still not sure what I have for their Easter baskets, and I've put no thought into special Easter outfits for the boys), at least I don't think the boys will have any complaints.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Do You Like Green Eggs and Ham?

I don't know if Jake does or will, but he sure looks cute in his Green Eggs & Ham outfit that Grandma Linda got for him!

Monday, April 11, 2011

4 Months

Jake turned 4 months old on April 10. I feel like maybe the end is in sight as far as sleepless nights. He's had some good nights lately, where I'm only up with him once or twice, and then last night wasn't as good. Last week I decided that I can't continue to plug him in every time he makes a peep, but since I'm also not ready to let him just cry it out, I compromised. First of all, since Jake has gone without needing to eat from bedtime (about 7:30-8:00) until 4:00 in the morning before, I decided I would not nurse him unless it was after 3:00. Feeding him is the easiest way to get him back to sleep, but I know it's not a good habit to get into if he doesn't actually need to eat. Plus, one of the many sleep books I'd checked out said you should take the longest stretch your baby has ever done, and base your sleep plan on that. So I started on Wednesday night, I think. When Jake started crying at 1:00, I went in and gave him his pacifier. As I got back to my own bed, he was crying again. So I decided I'd let him go 10 minutes, and then I'd go back. Well, I only made it 7 minutes, so that has become my standard waiting period now. So every 7 minutes I went in and plugged him in and helped calm him without picking him up or holding his hands (something that usually worked pretty well). This whole process lasted an hour and a half, so by 2:30, I was pretty exhausted with the whole thing. However, that last time, he fussed a little (less than 7 minutes, I guess) and fell asleep. Then he didn't get up again until 6:20! The next night he woke up at 2:00 and I did the 7 minute thing until he fell asleep again around 2:30. The next night was about the same. Then the next couple of nights are a blur, but I'm trying to stay consistent, which is the hardest part. However, Jake is doing really well with putting himself to sleep when he first goes to bed, so I'm hopeful that that will help with the nighttime wakings.

Naps are still another issue. I can usually get him down for an easy 35-45 minute nap in his crib most mornings around 9:00 or so. Many mornings he'd like it to be earlier, but it's just not possible because I've got to take Zach to school. In a typical day, I'd say he takes about 2-3 35 minute naps in his crib, and then a big, 1.5-2 hour nap in my arms in the afternoon. That big nap generally takes place while Zach and Drew have quiet time/nap time, which means I don't get anything done that I can't do one-handed. I'm typing this post one-handed right now while Jake sleeps on me. It's sweet to hold him and snuggle him, but I think it's really starting to give me some neck/shoulder/wrist pain on my left side. Plus, I'd like to be able to get a little something done now and then. Everything instead gets put off until all the boys are in bed, so that means that from about 8:20-10:00, I get to clean the house, wash dishes, fold laundry, paint my toe nails, etc. By that point I don't have much energy or motivation to do much of that stuff. So please don't come to my house anytime soon and expect it to be clean, because it won't be!

Jake is definitely becoming more and more social. He loves to watch his brothers and talk to them. He is starting to laugh at more and more things, including peek-a-boo. A few days ago I saw him watching Maggie with big eyes, and yesterday I caught him smiling at Foudy, which of course warms my heart to no end. In the picture below, in fact, he was looking at Foudy.

Those dogs are so sweet to Jake, too. They accepted him as part of their pack with no trouble. Foudy often lays in Jake's room with me when I'm nursing him, and she likes to be near him. Maggie mostly likes him because he has neat toys. You'd never guess she's 11 years old, the way she loves baby toys.

Jake is starting to be more and more interested in getting his toes, and he still rolls over every time I lay him down, basically. I think he sleeps on his tummy all night, too. He recently started getting his arms and legs stuck between the slats of his crib, which is a problem Drew had as a baby, too. So the other day I put up the mesh bumper we bought when Drew was a baby to prevent just that. Hopefully it helps.

Today Jake had his 4 month well-baby visit. Overall it was fine, but he didn't gain as much weight as I'd hoped he had. At 2 months Jake weighed 12 lbs. 13 oz., and today, at 4 months 3 days, he weighed 14 lbs. 6 oz. That means he dropped from the 75th percentile to the 39th percentile. And, there go my hopes for having a baby that stays at or above the 50th percentile. The interesting thing is that Zach weighed 14 lbs. 6 oz. at 4 months 3 days as well. And at 3 months 19 days, Drew weighed 15 lbs. 3 oz., so he was the biggest weight-wise. So my big baby (remember, he was a whole pound more at birth than Drew, and almost a pound more than Zach) is no longer so big. Hopefully he's getting enough to eat; he seems happy enough, so I don't think that's the issue. I hope not, anyway. However, on the plus side, Jake was 26 inches long, which is an inch and an inch and a half longer than Zach and Drew were at the same age, respectively. I do feel like the height measurement is never perfectly accurate on an infant, though. So aside from the weight issue and the shots, of course, the doctor's appointment was really good.

A couple of days ago after Drew's nap and Zach's quiet time, the boys asked to play computer games. Lately Drew messes around when I first put him down for a nap around 2:00, and when Zach has his quiet time starting around 3:00, I have to go in and tell Drew to go to sleep. Then I end up waking him up around 4:30 because he's still sleeping. I hate waking him up because he's usually crabby then, but I also don't want him sleeping too late and messing up his bedtime. Anyway, on this particular day, I had woken Drew up, and he was in a funk. He asked if he could hold Jake, so I let him. Then I had to snap some pictures. I like this first one because I feel like the family resemblance is so noticeable.

After the first one, I decided I should try to get a good picture of all three boys smiling. Zach and Jake were happy to comply, but Drew just kept telling me, "I didn't get a good nap, so I can't smile!" And if you know Drew well, you can probably hear/picture him telling me this, with his little eyebrow raise and subtle head shake to go with his sort of snotty tone,like you're an idiot for thinking he'd be able to smile. So please enjoy Drew's face in the next few pictures.

And now, I leave you with this- a short video of me trying to get Jake to laugh. Not the best clip, but you get a little taste of his sweet giggle.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Busy Saturday

Today was full of activity! Mike played in a golf tournament, Zach had his first soccer game of the season, and Zach, Drew, and I all kicked off our racing season. Add in time spent playing with grandparents and friends, and I think we're all wiped out!

I had been unsure of whether or not I would do this first race of the year. I wanted to do it, but I just wasn't sure if it would fit in the schedule or not. It seems that since Jake was born, I don't have a lot of time to do things I really want to do, like go for runs. So when Mike asked if he could play in a golf tournament today, I told him to go ahead and schedule it because I hadn't really made up my mind about running the race. But then Zach was on my case about wanting to do the kids run, and I mean really on my case. So I decided I should let him do it, and asked Drew if he was interested, too, and he was. Then I decided that if I was going downtown for the boys to run, I might as well run, too. Thank goodness I have two mothers-in-law who both live in town, or it wouldn't have worked. Grandma Cynthia came over and stayed at the house with Jake, and Grandma Linda headed down to the race with Zach, Drew, and me so she could be with them while I ran. Thanks, Grandmas, for all of your help today! I really, really appreciate it!

It was a great day for a run, but a little chilly to be standing around watching and waiting, especially if you were three or five years old. Thankfully Linda had a blanket to keep the boys warm while I ran. My friend and neighbor Jaime went with us this morning. She's running a 20k at the beginning of June (another race I'm considering, but not sure I have time to get in all the training for), so doing this 8k race today (5 miles) was her training run for the weekend. She actually didn't sign up for the race, so she just ran on the course but didn't get the shirt or official time. Here we are after the race.

Since I haven't been running much lately, I wasn't sure how the race would go. My goal was 45 minutes. The last time I was running races, before I got pregnant with Jake, I was running faster than 9 minute miles, but I felt like that was a fair goal for this first race in a long time. Well, I beat it by about 3 minutes. The time on my watch when I crossed the finish line was 41:57, and as I looked back at my splits, my first mile was my slowest, at 8:59, and each mile got progressively faster, with the last mile being 7:35. So, while I'm happy that I beat my goal, I wonder if I should have pushed myself a little harder earlier on. Oh, well. I'm happy with the result. I finished 51 out of all 197 women and 18 out of 64 women ages 30-39, with an average pace of 8:26. That's ok with me, but maybe next time I'll have to push myself harder. The highlight of my race was as I came near the spectators at about 3.5 miles, and Zach, Drew, and Linda were right there. Drew spotted me first, and I heard him say, "There she is!! Go Mater!" and Zach yelled, "Hi Mom!"

Once all of the adult runners were done, it was finally time for the Little Lakers run. By this point Drew was freezing and getting pretty crabby. It wasn't that cold out- it was 50ish and overcast- but he was cold, and he was ready to go back to the car. He had been so excited about the race. A couple of days ago he told me how he was going to rev his engine just before the start (you know, like Lightning McQueen). These next couple of photos show the 4 and under kids lining up. In this first one, Drew had probably just told me he was too cold to run, or in his words, "I can't run fast now!" (read that in a really snotty sounding voice, and that would be how it sounded)

So in an attempt to get him into a better mood, I revved my engine, and I should have known better. I got an even crabbier reaction than before. This time it was, "Mack doesn't rev his engine like that!" I believe that's what's being said in this picture.

So then I told him he didn't have to run if he didn't want to, but that he only had this one chance, and then the race would be over and he might be sad if he didn't do it. I offered to hold his hand and run with him if he wanted.

The race started, and suddenly he wanted to run. So we started to run, and I got, "I can't run if you don't hold my hand!" so we held hands.

And we were off. He ran, and while it didn't seem like he hated it, it didn't seem like he loved it, either.

Zach, on the other hand, was in the zone. He was cold, but he was ready to run hard. Jaime got some great pictures of Zach during his race. He was with the 5-7 year-olds.

I love that look of concentration on his face!

The boys with their post-race medals.

After a quick shower, some lunch, and about 2 hours at home, the boys and I headed out again to go to Zach's soccer game. His team had a great game and Zach had lots of fun. He even scored a goal. Thank goodness it had warmed up by this point, so Drew and I didn't mind sitting and watching. And thanks to Grandma Linda, who offered to take Jake during the game. That was very helpful.

This is the best photo I could get of Zach at his game.

When I went to pick Jake up, Zach and Drew decided to stay at Curt and Linda's house to play. Once they came home after Drew's nap, we pretty much turned around and headed to our friends' house for some fun. Those adorable Huss girls wanted some quality time with Jake, so

first Lucy snuggled him,

then Anna held him,

and finally he got some lovin' from them both. Lucky Jake!

We had some good dinner and got in some good playtime. It was nice for Mike and I to chat with Anna and Lucy's parents, BJ and Susan, too.

It was a fun and busy day. Time for bed- here's hoping I get LOTS of sleep tonight!