Saturday, July 30, 2011

Things That Go Bump In The Night

Lately Zach seems to have been somewhat of a sleepwalker. Ever since he was potty-trained at 2.5 years, he has consistently gotten up at least once in the night to go to the bathroom. Drew often gets up once a night to potty, too, but not as consistently as Zach. It's easy to tell who has gotten up, because Zach tends to stomp into the bathroom in his sleepy haze, and he opens the toilet loudly. Drew, on the other hand, amazingly travels to and from the bathroom a little more quietly. At nighttime Zach also leaves the lid up and doesn't flush, but Drew puts the lid down and does flush, and then Drew often shuts his bedroom door a little loudly. So it's common for us to hear Zach get up either shortly after we've gone to bed, or sometimes even before we head upstairs to go to bed. That was the case both Monday and Tuesday of this week. Monday night I heard Zach get up while I was down in the living room, probably close to 10 o'clock. When I went upstairs a little later to go to bed, I checked in on him, and he was dead asleep in bed, but his closet door was open and the light was on. And on Tuesday night, Mike and I woke up around 11:30 because our bathroom light was on, and neither of us had gotten up.

Those two nights were weird, but not too crazy. Other times Zach has gotten up to potty and then wandered into our room very confused, and we basically send him back to bed. On Wednesday night, Mike headed upstairs to get ready for bed first and immediately called me up and instructed me to bring the camera. He had noticed that both Zach and Drew's doors were slightly ajar. This is what we found.

Zach is curled up on the left, and Drew is stretched out on the right. This is Drew's bed. We're not sure how Zach climbed in and over Drew without waking him up, but he appears to have done it.

We contemplated moving Zach, mostly because we were worried Drew would wake up and, being in one of his moods, yell at Zach for sleeping in his bed. Or the possibility was that Drew and Zach would wake up, get into a fit of giggles, and really struggle to get back to sleep. Neither of those situations would be that big of a deal, except that I really didn't feel like being woken up in the middle of the night. However, we ultimately decided to just leave Zach there and see what happened.

Before we went to bed I snuck in for a couple more pictures. I'm really bummed this next one turned out so blurry, because I thought it was very cute how they were laying in basically the same position.

When I got up at 6:00 on Wednesday morning, I went to check on the boys. Both boys' doors were shut tight, which was a clue to me that something had changed since I'd gone to sleep. Sure enough, Drew was asleep in his bed, and Zach was asleep in his bed. When Zach got up, I asked him if anything weird had happened in the night. At first he said no, but then he remembered and said, "Oh yeah! I woke up and I was in Drew's room!" I asked what he did next, and he said, "Oh, I just got up and went back to my own bed." Drew never had a clue about any of it until I showed him the pictures.

I half expected Zach to end up in Jake's room on Thursday night, but thankfully he stayed in his own bed and nothing strange happened.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Champ

Zach participated in the Mighty Mites golf program at the club this summer, so he was invited to play in the 3 Hole golf tournament earlier this week. The tournament is divided into ages 5-6 and 7-8, as well as by gender. There was only one little girl in the 5-6 year-old group, so she played with the boys.

Last year Mike was able to go to the tournament with Mike, but this year we didn't have enough advance notice for him to schedule around it at work, so I went, and Grandma Cynthia came over to hang out with Jake and Drew (Thanks, Cynthia!!). I felt a little out of place since I don't know all the golf etiquette, but I surprised myself with what I did know. I guess I've been listening to Mike after all! For the bulk of the tournament, I was the only mom along, but then one mom who was with the older group joined her daughter in this group.

There was a 10 stroke maximum on each hole. On the first hole, Zach got on the green in 5 but then 5-putted, so he got a 10. I don't remember the second hole as well, but I know he got another 10. On the third hole, he hit it into a sand trap, then from that sand trap over the green to the next sand trap, then onto the green, and he 2-putted for a 5!

In 3 holes, Zach hit at least 3 sand traps, maybe even 4, which is funny because on the way to the golf course I was asking him if he remembered tips the golf pros had given him during his golf lessons, and the one he told me had to do with hitting it out of the sand. He also wanted to wear his tennis shoes (as opposed to his Crocs) that day, in case he hit it in the sand. If I didn't know better, I'd think he was purposely trying to hit the sand, but I actually think he has worse aim than I do. In fact, that was one of the things I was really trying to help him with that day. While I (and probably most golfers) hate hitting my ball into the sand, Zach enjoys it, and also enjoyed repairing the sand after hitting his ball out of the sand.

It was a close round, but Zach came out the big winner. He was excited about the medal and about winning, but more excited about the pizza, juice, cookies, and little bag of treats that all the golfers got after the tournament.

It was such a fun day, and it's so fun to see how far Zach has come with his golfing skills. I'm pretty sure I only have a couple more years (at best) of being better than him, which is perfectly fine with me.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Introducing Dr. Mike

Last weekend Mike finished up work on his doctorate degree- woohoo! When Mike graduated from physical therapy school in 2001, he had earned his Master of Science in Physical Therapy degree. It was an intense program that was just a few credits less than the number of credits in a doctoral program, so couple of years later, schools added the extra classes to the course load and changed the degree from a Master of Science in Physical Therapy to a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree. So, Mike was one of the last classes to have the MSPT distinction. There's no requirement that physical therapists with their MSPT go on and earn their DPT, but since Mike holds positions in both the American Physical Therapy Association and the Iowa Physical Therapy Association, and he teaches classes to the DPT students at his alma mater as well as other PTs, he felt it was important for him to earn his DPT. So over the past year, he has worked hard in a program perfect for him, as it was targeted at private practice owners and offered quite a few business classes, something Mike had never taken in college or PT school, but were useful considering he owns his own practice. Much of Mike's work was done online, though he was required to go to California for 3 different on-site visits. The last time was earlier this month, and included a couple of days of class and then graduation.

Mike flew out on Wednesday evening so he could start class early Thursday morning. Since this was a great accomplishment and since Mike and I celebrated 10 years of marriage earlier this summer, we decided we would join the two things together and I would meet him in San Diego for a little get-away weekend. So I flew out on Friday morning, which happened to be my third Friday in a row of flying on an airplane. Let me tell you, after flying to and from Denver with all three boys, flying by myself was blissful. I like flying, but in the last 6 years, I've flown by myself about twice; every other time I've had at least one toddler or baby with me. Security was so easy, I didn't have to worry about limiting water for any little boys so they wouldn't have to potty on the plane, and I knew that once on the plane, I could sit and read or sleep or do whatever I wanted without having to entertain anyone or keep anybody quiet or happy. It was great! Getting everything ready for the trip was a little stressful. It's no easy task packing for myself, all 3 boys, and the dogs and making sure I had all of Jake's milk for bottles and and the appropriate baby food for all of his meals, etc. Since Mike was already gone, I had to do all of this after the boys had gone to bed, and it was exhausting. After getting everything packed and all set up for Grandma Linda and Grandpa Curt (who so generously watched the boys and dogs for us while we were gone), I was off, but not until I bought a book and some Jelly Bellies (my favorite treat!) at Target on the way to the airport.

Once I got to San Diego, I got to go wait in line forever at the car rental place and then find my way to the hotel Mike was at for his class. Friday night was his graduation, which was short and sweet (an hour at the longest). Mike was the first person in his class to get his degree, and I wasn't sure if it'd be ok for me to go closer to get a picture or not. I also didn't take the big camera lens with me, so these pictures are the best I could get.

There was a professional photographer there taking pictures, so when they lined up for the whole class photo, again, I didn't feel like I could get right in front. So please excuse the pole from the photographer's light.

The final component of the program was a group project, and over the last few weeks leading up to the final trip to California, this project definitely caused Mike some headaches. His group consisted of three classmates, Raj from Detroit (I think), Dimitri from NY, and Cheryl from CA. There were lots of conference calls and some difficulty getting everybody on the same page for the project, but in the end, they pulled it off and had a great presentation prepared for their classmates, according to Mike.

We had the option to stick around after the ceremony for appetizers and drinks and then to head to a restaurant with Mike's classmates for dinner, but, honestly, we weren't interested. We're not anti-social, but I didn't know any of these people at all, and Mike figures he won't talk to any of them again now that they're all graduated. Instead, we headed to the nearest movie theater and saw the latest Harry Potter movie, which did not disappoint.

Even though graduation was Friday night, Mike still had 4 hours of class stuff to attend on Saturday morning. Weird, right? That's what I thought. So while he was off listening to some speakers, I utilized the hotel work-out room and spent some time on the ellipse machine while watching the Women's World Cup third place game. That afternoon we headed up to Torrey Pines State Park for some hiking and some beautiful views

A very nice park volunteer helped us out by showing us a neat trail and giving us a history of the area, and then he took our picture for us.

That evening we checked into our new hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel, which was slightly more hip than the Residence Inn Mike had been staying at. Maybe even a little too hip for us, or at least too young- I think we might have been the only people staying there that have graduated from college. We thought about going to a fancy, expensive restaurant for dinner, but opted instead to go to an old favorite, Ye Olde Spaghetti Factory, instead. Then we walked around the Gaslamp Quarter and eventually settled in at a fun piano bar for much of the night.

The next morning we walked over to a restaurant that had gotten great reviews, Richard Walkers Pancake House. There was a pretty lengthy line outside, but we got into it anyway, and it moved quickly. Once we got inside, we could see why. The little restaurant was packed, and people were sitting so close to each other. Our table was against a wall, and the hostess literally had to move the 18" x 32" table out so I could squeeze in, and then Mike and I sat about 6 " from the people next to us. We had some strawberries and cream as an appetizer, and then Mike had french toast and I had a waffle with strawberries, and we both had freshly squeezed orange juice. It was all incredibly delicious, but it also was our most expensive meal for the whole weekend! We spent over $50 on breakfast for two! Yikes! After breakfast we walked around town for a bit before going back to our room to watch the heart-breaking women's World Cup final between the USA and Japan. After the game we headed out to Coronado Island, where we acted on a tip from some friends of mine and rented bikes to ride around. That was a lot of fun, and the weather was gorgeous. The whole time we were in San Diego it didn't get above 75 degrees. That night we decided to eat dinner at Peohe's, a Chart House restaurant right on the water in Coronado. We took it easy and just got appetizers and salads, and when we got back over to the Gaslamp Quarter, we walked around some more and got some ice cream, then headed back to the hotel to watch a movie and call it an early night.

The original plan for Monday was to take advantage of our time in San Diego by doing something before our afternoon flight. However, on Sunday night, we decided that getting back home after 11:00 at night and jumping right into the swing of things (work for Mike, all 3 boys for me) early the next morning didn't sound so fun. Unfortunately, to change our flights, it was going to cost us upwards of $450 per ticket, so that made the decision pretty easy. We tossed around the idea of going to Sea World or the zoo, but both were so expensive (Sea World is $70 per person!), that we decided since we didn't have a full day, it wasn't worth the money. We drove out to where some paragliders jump off the cliffs, but it was too early in the day and nobody was out yet. So we went to La Jolla and walked along the beach. It was fun because we got to see all the little kids in surf school. I think Zach would have a blast with surf school. I actually stood and talked to the mom of the little girl in center of the picture below, and found out she is 5, and that the camp goes all week from 9-12 each day. That would be so fun!

We got to the airport in time for our 3:55 flight, and then it was late. We were supposed to land in Chicago and have about an hour layover before our 9:55 flight home. However, at about 9:35, when we were still on the plane to Chicago, I started to get pretty antsy. The flight attendant assured us that our next flight knew we were on our way, and she told us our gate number and showed us where to go on a map. We landed 20 miles away from the airport around 9:50 and taxied for about an hour. Ok, maybe it wasn't that far or that long, but it honestly was the longest taxiing on an airplane I've ever experienced. All I wanted was to get home, and I was getting very stressed. The flight attendant didn't even have the courtesy to ask the other passengers to please let us off first, so we did our best asking for that, but we were still behind a bunch of people taking their sweet time. We bolted for our next gate, Mike with his carry-on suitcase and laptop bag, and me with my purse, breast pump and an insulated lunchbox filled with breast milk (a.k.a. liquid gold) and about 10 pounds of ice. Partway to the gate I stopped and took off my flip-flops so I could run faster, and I couldn't believe I was running through O'Hare Airport barefoot. Gross. That darn breast pump (it's a backpack) kept slamming against my back so that I had bruises the next day. We arrived at the gate to find it dark and empty. Tears ensued, but eventually Mike calmed down. Ok, the tears were really mine. It must have been 10:10 or so when we arrived at the gate, and I looked a little later on my phone and saw that the plane took off at 10:13. We truly just missed it, and I kept oscillating between being so incredibly pissed at American Airlines, being completely depressed about not getting home, and being worried that there wasn't any milk in the freezer for Jake for the morning. Mike and I spent the next almost 2 hours calling car rental companies there at O'Hare and talking to the car rental shuttle drivers, seeing if we could get a one-way rental that night. I even pulled out the old, "I have a sick baby I need to get home to," hoping that I'd get some person who had a heart and could hear this heartsick mom begging for a car. No luck. One person finally told us we could rent a car and drive it home and turn it in here, and just face the possible charges for returning it to the wrong place. We were told the charges could range from $50-$1000. Not worth it, especially considering it's a 5-6 hour drive from Chicago to our house. So, we finally gave up and started calling hotels, which also seemed to be totally booked. We finally took the first room we could find, and we arrived there after midnight. By the time I had pumped and Mike had talked to his mom about canceling patients for the next day (she works part time for him), it was after 1:00. We never ate dinner, so I was hungry and tired, but of course struggled to fall asleep. That 5:00 a.m. alarm came pretty early, though. Oh, and I didn't have a suitcase, so I had no pajamas or clean clothes for the next day, no make-up, no hair products, etc. I got a toothbrush and deodorant from the hotel, but still had to sleep in my contacts. So, after less than 4 hours of sleep and in the same clothes as the day before, I was by far one of the most haggard-looking people at O'Hare on Tuesday morning. Oh, and for that short 5 hours spent in the hotel (we left on the shuttle at 5:30), we forked out $275, none of which was covered by American Airlines, even though they made us miss our second flight. The one blessing in it all was that I had planned to put all the milk I had pumped over the weekend in the lunchbox in my suitcase, because then I wouldn't have to worry about dealing with it at security. Mike, however, was worried that it might sit outside too long in Chicago, where it was over 90 degrees, so he convinced me to carry it on instead. If you've ever breast-fed a baby, you know that breast milk is pretty much liquid gold, and you understand what a travesty it would have been for all my hard work to be wasted by sitting out in the heat too long (like overnight). So, even though it was a pain carrying that milk while sprinting through the airport, I am so glad Mike (who originally suggested 4 days of pumping and dumping- did he learn nothing with the first two kids I nursed?? Pumping and dumping is for extreme cases only!) had the foresight to convince me to carry it on.

So we finally arrived home at about 9:00 in the morning on Tuesday. Zach was at VBS, Jake was fed and ready for a nap (there was milk in the freezer!), and Drew was happy to see us. Mike's mom, who unexpectedly had to spend the night at our house, was ready for work, even though she probably got about as much sleep as us. We felt terrible about the inconvenience for Mike's parents, but were so thankful they were around to help out.

It was a great trip (until the very last part) and it was fun to get away- that was my first time away since Jake was born in December, and I needed it! Thank you so much to Curt and Linda for taking care of the boys and the dogs and making it possible for us to go. And congrats to Mike for completing that doctorate degree!

Threats from a 3 Year-Old

Drew still has plenty of opinions about everything. A couple of times this summer when he hasn't liked my disciplining him, he has threatened me with statements such as, "I'm going to have Dad put you in a time-out if you tell me I can't do that!" Or, shortly after my parents visited, he said, "I'm going to have Grandma Ruth put you in a time-out!" My favorite, though, was just a few days ago. Drew, Jake, and I were going to our church to pick Zach up from VBS. We always tried to get there about 10 minutes early so that we could see the closing songs in the main part of the church. Drew wanted to take the small Woody and Buzz toys along, and I said he could. At the last minute, he realized he didn't have Woody's hat, and he wanted to grab it, but I told him no. Woody's had really doesn't stay on very well, and I told him that I didn't want him to lose it at church, so he could not take it. As he always does lately, he asked me about 100 times (no exaggeration here) if I would please go back home so he could get the hat. He gets like this, where he just asks and asks and asks, and I start by saying no, and then I repeat myself, and then at some point I say, "I already answered that question; the answer is no, and I'm not going to answer it again." Then Drew asks again and I ignore him and he gets really mad. So then I repeat myself, "I already answered that question; the answer is no, and I'm not going to answer it again." I try to stay very calm even though it's so annoying to be asked the same question a million times. Anyway, this day, he was getting really mad, and he finally said, "Mom, if you don't go back (as we are about to turn into the church parking lot) and get Woody's hat, when we get home I'm going to throw you out of the house........... with Zach's help." It was like as he was saying it, he realized he couldn't do it on his own, so now he was dragging Zach (who was at VBS this whole time) into it. I had to sort of chuckle about that. Then, as we were parking the car, he made the same threat. And as we walked into church, he said, "As soon as we get home, Zach and me are gonna throw you out of the house." I said, "Who will make you lunch?" Without missing a beat, Drew said, "After lunch... and after my popsicle, I'm gonna throw you out of the house with Zach's help." That kid's always thinking.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

This Summer (Updated)

It feels like it has been a crazy summer. There's only 3.5 weeks until school starts for Zach, but it feels like it should still be June. July has gone especially quickly, I think because the boys and I were in Colorado and then home for just a few days before Mike and I were in California for a few days. Throw in activities like swim lessons and VBS, and the days really go quickly.

The boys had swim lessons at the end of June. Zach seemed to have lost some of the skills he had acquired at the end of last summer, but I think he is gaining them back. He definitely has more confidence when he's swimming in an area where he knows he can touch the bottom. He had fun with lessons and enjoys swimming, so that's the important thing.

Mike and I weren't sure how Drew would do with lessons. This was his first activity that didn't include me, Mike, or Zach. I signed him up with Mary Frances, who was Zach's teacher last year, because she is great and Drew already was familiar with her. Drew surprised us by really doing great with lessons. In fact, I'm pretty sure he was the only one of the 4 kids in his class who didn't have at least one day where he just cried and was uncooperative. There were a couple of days where he was somewhat crabby, which was due more to the fact that the temperature outside was about 60 degrees (no joke), so I couldn't blame him for that.

Drew is much more comfortable in the water right now, which is good because when we are all at the pool, I have to hold Jake and can't hold Drew very well at the same time. So at least this way he has enough confidence to have fun in the water where he can touch. He was afraid the first week of lessons to put his face in the water, but then basically just made the decision to do it, and since then has no issues with it. And, despite the picture below, Drew did really well with his back float as well.

If you've read this blog much or know Drew, you know he is a huge fan of the movie Cars and of Lightning McQueen and Mater the tow truck. The boys were excitedly awaiting the premiere of Cars 2 in late June. There was one catch, though- in order for Drew to see the movie, he had to fill up his sticker chart for bike riding. I'm not sure if I've written about this before or not, but Drew had worked up a big fear about riding his bike that was pretty ridiculous. I don't mean a 2 wheel-bike- well, I guess I do, but with training wheels. One day he'd have a good ride, and the next day he'd either refuse to get on the bike or he'd get on and scream like we were torturing him. So I decided we would do a sticker chart, and he'd get a sticker for every block he rode on his bike, because I knew all he needed was a little more practice and he'd have the confidence to do it. He has only fallen off his bike a couple of times, and I don't know if he's ever even drawn blood, so I don't know what the initial fear was. Either way, he managed to get all of his stickers in time for opening weekend of Cars 2, which was great because we scored 4 free tickets from a friend of Mike's. The movie itself was only ok, but the boys liked it, and they really liked the popcorn.

I'm trying to be good about working on reading, writing, math, and other stuff this summer with Zach so that he is ready when school starts. One day recently we worked on math stuff at snack time. Zach did addition and subtraction problems with Goldfish crackers.

Drew worked on counting and identifying numbers with Craisins and dried blueberries.

One day Drew talked me into buying some watermelon at the grocery store (didn't take much convincing). That kid loves fruit, but watermelon might be his favorite of all foods. After cutting all the fruit out, the boys made sure I didn't miss anything.

We also celebrated Grandma Cynthia's birthday right before Mike left for California a couple of weeks ago.

Jake turned 7 months old on July 10th, but since I've been so behind on blogging lately, I'm just now getting around to posting the pictures.

Jake continues to get faster and faster at army-crawling, but I wish he'd just pull those legs up under him and crawl normally, because it's kind of gross to pick him up and see all the dog hair all over his tummy. Guess I could just sweep and vacuum more, but who has time for that? He is now nursing 4 times a day and eating 3 solid meals a day, and I'm trying to wean him off of his 3rd, late afternoon/early evening nap and into just 2 naps a day.

One of Jake's new favorite games is grabbing my fingers and pulling up to a standing position from sitting, so I suppose we should move his crib mattress down since he'll probably pull up on his own any day now. This morning I was in his room and he was able to get himself from laying down to sitting up, which I've never seen him do before. He also can get his own pacifier in his mouth now, which is nice. He's just such a good tempered baby; he still really only fusses when he's tired or hungry. I gave him his first finger food a couple of days ago- just a little puff that melts away. He struggled a little with picking it up, as his pincer grasp isn't really in place yet and the things are so sticky they get caught in his palm. But, once he got it in his mouth, he did ok. I'm not offering them a lot- just one or two at the end of a meal while I finish eating or something. Zach has told me a couple of times that while Mike and I were in California, "Jake learned to express himself." He does love to babble, and it's so sweet to listen to. He makes some silly faces sometimes, which reminds me so much of Drew's silly face that he used to make. I love it!

Here's to hoping that the last few weeks of summer are as fun (and maybe not quite so busy-feeling) as the first part!

Monday, July 11, 2011

I Survived (Updated)

Holy cow- it's taken me about 2 weeks just to upload pictures and get a title for this post about the boys' and my trip to Colorado. Now it's way too late and I'm starting the writing- STUPID me, but oh well.

On July 1st, I took my first solo trip with all three boys to Colorado. At 6 months, Jake is the oldest of all three boys for his first plane ride. Zach flew at 8 weeks; Drew flew at about 12 weeks. I was nervous, but felt that Drew and Zach would probably be fine; it just was a question of how Jake would do. Would he sleep during the whole trip? Would he be awake and happy? Would he be awake and fussy? Well, he fell asleep a little before we boarded the plane (which was leaving late), and woke up right before we took off. He wasn't unhappy on the plane, but I did have to work a little to keep him happy. Zach and Drew watched a movie and were a piece of cake. I got off the plane feeling relieved that one of two plane trips with all three boys was done.

The boys slept pretty well at my parents' house the first night, and the next morning we headed up to Winter Park for the holiday weekend. Zach and my nephew Cam rode with Grandma and Grandpa, and my sister Becky, brother-in-law Tom, nephew Myles, Jake, Drew, and I piled into Becky and Tom's car. I had a feeling that since I was in the back with the 3 little boys I'd be on entertainment committee, and I was for a bit, but then they all fell asleep. First Myles, then Jake, and finally Drew.

Becky has a friend who was letting us stay at her house in the mountains, and it was a very nice house. We were very comfortable there. This was the view from a little park down the street. Oh, it was so good to be back in Colorado!

Zach cracked me up- it's been a few years since he's been up to the mountains (we're always so busy when we're visiting that we just don't get up there), so he wasn't sure how it would all work. He asked me the night before we headed up, "So, will we, like, walk up the mountains?" I said, "No, we'll drive our cars." He said, "Whoa- I bet that will really slow our cars down!"

Here's Drew, Cam, and Zach enjoying some time together. Yes, Zach is older than Cam, but Cam is quite a bit taller.

Becky, Tom, Zach, Drew, Cam, and I headed into town for some free ice cream, balloon swords, groceries, and more playground fun that afternoon. That night we grilled some burgers and hot dogs and relaxed. Well, we relaxed until bedtime, actually. The house had 2 stories, with 3 bedrooms and a loft area upstairs. We decided that we would get the little boys (Myles and Jake) to bed first, as they were sleeping in pack-n-plays with their parents. Once they were asleep, we thought we'd separate Cam, Drew, and Zach by putting one in each bedroom until the adults went to bed, at which time we'd move the sleeping cherubs to sleeping bags out in the loft, and they would snooze the night away peacefully. We told them the plan so they wouldn't be confused if they woke up during the move or after. So they went to bed easily. At 10:40, we were ready to hit the sack, so Becky and Tom moved Cam and I moved Zach and Drew. I was hoping they'd pretty much stay asleep, but they didn't. I think Drew got up to potty. I went to sleep. For an hour. I awoke at 11:40 because Drew was crying. Turns out Zach had hit him. Zach hit him because Drew insisted Zach was sleeping on his (Drew's) sleeping bag, but it really was Zach's; it just looked exactly like Drew's. So I got that worked out, told the boys they HAD to go back to sleep, and went back to my own room, where I was really hot and worried non-stop that Jake was too hot in his pack-n-play. I finally slept some, only to wake up around 1:00 to "Nah-nah boo-boo, you can't get me!" I went out to the loft to find Cam across the room staring at a clock, and Drew nearby laying on top of a life-size bear cub, and Zach appears to be asleep (to this day, I have no idea if he was faking me out or if he really was asleep- I'm guessing the former). I decided that I wasn't messing around any more with Drew, so I pulled his sleeping bag into my room and threatened him within an inch of his life if he woke Jake up. I also told Cam he needed to get back into his sleeping bag and I did not want to hear from him again. Drew went to sleep on my floor and, aside from me still being hot and worrying about when Jake would wake up for the same reason, things were good. For an hour. At 2:00 I woke up because Zach and Cam were making noise. I went out to the loft area pretty much spitting fire. I was so tired and so sick of these little boys messing up my sleep! Zach and Cam were trying to figure out how long until they could get up, because they were sure it was almost time. After informing them that it was nowhere near time to get up, I chewed both boys out, moved Zach's sleeping bag over away from Cam's, told Cam if I heard from him again I'd be moving him into his parents' room, and said for the millionth time that there was to be NO MORE TALKING!! I went to the bathroom, and as I came out, I heard a quite whisper, "Zach... Zach..." "Cameron, I said NO TALKING!" Cam said, "Oh, I didn't hear that." I have no idea if they talked anymore or not, but I didn't hear them. Then Jake got up for the day at 5:45, so it was a rough night for me. He was cute and happy (and, to be fair, he was still on Central time, so it was 6:45 there, which is his normal waking time anyway), so I couldn't be mad at him.

Later in the morning I found out that Becky and Tom had also been up a couple of times between 11:40-1:00, with Becky nearly putting Drew in the laundry room at one point and in my parents' room as well. It seems Grandma and Grandpa were the only ones who slept really well that night, as they heard nothing.

We decided that we would go hiking that day, and the kids were really excited to "hike up a mountain." They had it in their heads that they'd be hiking to the top of a mountain, and we had to keep explaining that that takes all day and is too hard for kids to do. Becky had read that there was a good, beginners-type trail nearby at Snow Mountain Ranch, so we drove up there. Unfortunately, once we got there, we found out that it was going to be $15 per person for everyone except Drew, Myles, and Jake. Turns out the $15 basically pays for a day-pass at the ranch, and the only way to hike those trails was to get the day-pass. We weren't planning on spending all day at the ranch, so instead we left the ranch and basically drove around wasting precious time looking for a new trail to hike. Myles is like his mom and seems to pretty much fall asleep any time he's in the car for more than 10 minutes. I actually got a cute video of him snoring away, but I don't feel like going to all the work to get it posted on here. Sorry.

So after driving around for a while, we decided to stop and eat lunch. Jake was beyond tired, so I was doing my best to keep him happy and maintain my own sanity. After lunch we basically headed back to the house so Jake and Myles could sleep, and after some play time, Drew took a nap as well. Becky and I then took Cam and Zach to a nearby rec center for some swimming fun. It was great, and probably one of the highlights of my trip. I honestly don't even know the last time I got to spend time just doing something fun with only Zach. It was awesome to just go and have fun with him, with nothing else on the agenda at all. It was also fun to spend the time with my sister and nephew. There was a slide we went down about 50 times, and Zach even braved the diving board at the request of his younger cousin. Becky and I were asked if we were twins, which isn't that uncommon, but always kind of makes me laugh, because I don't think we look that much alike.

We returned home to find Drew, Myles, and Jake well-rested and happy. Jake had also successfully taken his first bottle in forever. That was one mission while in Colorado- have my mom and/or sister give Jake a bottle every day until he was taking them well. The kid surprised us all and did well from day one. Drew had napped for about 3 hours (no big surprise, given his antic the night before), and since we hadn't had Cam and Zach nap at all, we decided they'd go to bed early and in their own rooms. I wasn't taking any chances the second night, so I figured out that I could fit Jake's pack-n-play in the laundry room and put Zach and Drew both in with me, on opposite sides of my bed. So after some much-enjoyed stories from Uncle Tom, I think Zach fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. Meanwhile, I wanted to take some time to give Drew some one-on-one attention, so he and I did a sink-or-float experiment outside on the deck. I had to think of something quiet and easy in a house without a lot of toys or resources, and Drew thought that was awesome. Just like earlier with Zach, I felt really good about having the time to devote 100% of my attention to Drew. When I did put Drew to bed, I did threaten him that if he woke Zach up or talked to him before 7:00, he would not get to have any candy at the Fourth of July parade the next day. That threat seemed to do the trick and we all had a good night's sleep!

Monday we went into Granby for the parade. Here's Jake hanging out with Grandma Ruth.

And playing peek-a-boo with his hat.

It was challenging to get a good picture of all 5 little boys. It didn't help that the only camera I had the whole trip was my iPhone- the real camera was on the surprisingly short list of things I forgot to pack.

It was also challenging to get a good picture of just my own three boys.

I thought this picture of Zach, Cam, and Drew walking with Grandpa Dick was pretty cute.

Myles stayed awake in the car this time, but after we got back to the house we packed up and headed back down to the city, and unfortunately we ran into some traffic issues, so the normally 1.5 hour trip took us about 3 hours.

On Tuesday, my parents took Cam, Zach, and Drew to the real pirates exhibit at the Denver Museum of Science and Nature, and then they treated the boys to some McDonald's. The boys thought the exhibit was pretty cool. Before they returned, a few of my old friends arrived at my parents' house for a visit. First to arrive was Angela, who is a lawyer and mom of two. Ange had her second baby boy in March, so he and Jake are just 4 months apart, although they appear to be pretty much the exact same size. I think from the picture below, the only way you can tell Jake is older than Will is because Jake is sitting up and Will is leaning back, as he's still a little young for sitting up unassisted. Two happy little guys, though, that's for sure!

Ange also has a little boy named Ben, who is almost 5 months younger than Drew. Ben is very social, and Drew is not (well, it depends on the situation), so I was curious to see how these two got along. Once they realized they both love the Cars and Cars 2 movies, they got along pretty well.

Ange and I became friends right around age 3, so it was really fun to see Drew and Ben together and think about us at that age. It's crazy to think that we're that old already!

My friends Ana and Malia came over, too, but I didn't get pictures of them. Ana just finished her residency and starts up her new life (with normal hours!) as a pediatrician in a few weeks. Malia is an airline pilot with Frontier, and she brought along her little cutie Alex, who is about 15 months old. I could just squeeze Alex's little (big) cheeks all day!

It was lots of fun to catch up with my girlfriends and to see the kids together. Ben and Drew even enjoyed cooling off with their feet in my parents' little pond for a bit.

The boys all seemed to need a little down-time, so I put in Mater's Tall Tales (a Zach and Drew favorite) and let each of them pick one cartoon to watch.

Tuesday night Ana and I hit up one of our old haunts- Red Rocks Amphitheater. Ok, it wasn't necessarily an old haunt, per se, but we did go to a few concerts there when we were in high school. It's pretty much the coolest place ever for a concert. They do this cool thing called "Films on the Rocks" or something, where they show old movies on a big screen there. This particular night, the movie was Top Gun, a true oldie-but-goodie. I haven't seen that movie from start to finish in over a decade, so it was awesome to just sit and watch it in an awesome atmosphere. Even though it was rainy and kind of chilly, the crowd was into it, and it was so fun. Ana and I had a great time.

The rest of the trip included some fun on Grandpa's drum set,

playing on Sadie's pillow,

and fun at various parks. Becky and I also got to watch some World Cup Soccer, and Zach and Cam got to have 2 sleepovers at Cam's house (Drew was very sad to miss out on those, but he did get to have a movie night with Grandma, Grandpa, and me, and he got to play with Grandpa's trains, which he absolutely loved).

Look at how cute my nephew Myles is!! I love this picture.

Drew missed naps more often than he took naps in Colorado, and overall that worked out ok for us. One day on the way home from Becky's house, though, he just couldn't stay awake.

The plane ride home was definitely more challenging than the ride out, unfortunately. We were traveling right at nap time, and this time, all three boys needed the sleep. Zach fell asleep before we even took off, as did Jake, but Drew just wouldn't give in. Instead, he was crabby and needy. It was actually kind of a pain that Zach was asleep, because I could have used his help, as he was sitting in the aisle and Drew at the window, and I was across in the other aisle seat. Anything Drew needed I couldn't help with, because I couldn't reach him and Zach couldn't pass things to me because he was asleep. Drew was thirsty, but I couldn't get up to get his water because we were about to take off; he was hungry, but I couldn't open his snack because I couldn't reach it (the nice lady behind him opened it for him); he couldn't hear me, but I didn't want to talk loudly for fear of waking Jake up. Once I did talk loudly enough for Drew to hear me (probably to tell him why I couldn't get his water), sure enough, Jake did wake up, and it was not nearly long enough of a nap. Then I had to work really hard to keep Jake happy, and I even fed him baby food (very dangerous, as he can be a bit grabby and I was worried I'd end up with pureed mixed vegetables all over me). Zach finally woke up and got the DVD going, but the DVD player quit part way through the flight. Thank goodness I had a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode on my phone that the boys could watch. I had a young guy sitting next to me, to whom I jokingly said at the beginning of the flight, "I bet you're wondering how you drew the short straw today, right?" but he was really nice and friendly and talked to Jake and stuff, so that was nice. As we were descending, the real fun began, because Drew's ears started hurting, and therefore so did the crying. The lady behind him offered him gum, but he said, "No! I'm not 4 or 5 so I can't have gum!" I told him he could try it this one time (I was desperate, and taking drinks from his water bottle- which I had finally managed to get- wasn't helping), to which he replied, "No, I'm not ready for gum yet!" Then, after some more crying, he said, "Putting gum in my ears won't help them!" Zach took the gum, though, which ended up being cinnamon, so I'm glad Drew didn't take it. I think that would have made him even more upset. Drew was full of his classic one-liners as the plane landed, and he cried plenty. At one point he was being a brat to Zach about sharing the arm rest, and Zach started to cry, too. I told Zach that Drew was in the wrong, but could Zach please, just this once, just keep his hand off the arm rest to make things easier for me. Such a good boy- he sucked it up, quit crying, and said ok. As we finally landed, I apologized to and thanked the people around us for their patience. They were very understanding and kind, and even told me I was very brave and deserved "Mom-of-the-Year" or at least a massage for traveling with 3 little ones by myself. The flight attendant, who had a very clear view of us while we were landing, told me as I got off the plane that I handled the 3 of them better than some parents handle one, so that nice. Oh, the crying continued as we walked through the airport, and Drew was complaining of a tummy ache, which he had complained of earlier that morning. While he was waiting for us, Mike heard someone walking by say, "There was a little boy crying on the plane because his ears hurt." And at baggage claim, the lady who was behind us said, "Drew, are your ears better? We were famous, or maybe infamous is a better word. Oh- the guy sitting next to me had commented at the beginning of the flight that I was lucky to be the mom of 3 boys and that he was one of 3 boys as well. At the height of Drew's crying towards the end of the flight, I laughed (it was that or cry, and I'm not much of a crier) and asked the guy where he fell in the line-up of 3 boys. He said, "Well, I wanted to tell you, I'm the middle and my name is Drew." Again, I had to laugh. I said, "I hear the middle is the most challenging." He said, "Yeah, I'd say that's probably true."

Anyway, poor Drew ended up having a fever that night and the next day, so I have a feeling that played into his less-than-awesome plane ride. But, we had a fun trip and of traveling on my own with all three boys, at least I can say I survived. Thanks for putting us up, Mom and Dad, and thanks to my parents and Becky & Tom and fam for such a fun trip.