I decided to start doing sort of a letter of the week type thing with Drew. He knows all of his uppercase letters, but this way we can work on lowercase letters and on the sounds letters make, which he knows surprisingly well (I think), too. Though we are not going in alphabetical order, we did start with A, mostly because of it being that time of year when apples are so delicious. So we talked about the letter A and what sounds it makes and what words start with A, and then we did a little project. I wrote a large uppercase A on one piece of paper and a lowercase A on another piece. I carved an apple to make a couple of stamps (including a backward lowercase A, which I then had to fix), and Drew got to paint the A's.
Then Drew painted the apple seeds white,
Here are the finished products. My idea is that maybe I will put all the letters into an alphabet book when we're done. We'll see, though.
Later that afternoon/evening, Drew and I made little apple desserts using canned biscuits, cinnamon and sugar, and chopped up apples. They were supposed to be like apple pies. Unfortunately, Drew didn't want to eat much of his dinner, so he didn't get to have any of the dessert he made! He really wasn't even more than mildly bummed about it; he must have known the desserts would only be mediocre. Probably won't use that recipe again!
While Drew has a lot of pre-reading skills mastered or nearly mastered, writing isn't as easy for him. When Zach started preschool at age 3 and 3 months, he could write his name, though it was of course a little rough looking. Drew, however, hasn't been too interested in trying to write his name, and has struggled with holding the pencil/crayon the correct way. However, being in preschool and working on the correct hold seems to be paying off. As Drew finished making Aunt Sandy's birthday card (he picked 40 stickers for her 40th birthday), I asked him to write his name on it. He held the marker almost perfectly, and wrote his name in the clearest manner I've ever seen! To my eye (but maybe nobody else's), it looks like he has actually written the correct letters, except maybe the W, which is pretty tough. And, to Drew's credit, I think the letters D-R-E-W are a little harder for 3 year-old hands to write than the easier lines of Z-A-C-H.
Now for the number 10. A couple of weeks ago I did a 10 mile race called Capital Pursuit. I did this race for the first time a couple of years ago, and I really enjoyed it. I have been training for the Des Moines half-marathon, though I only just signed up for it 2 days ago. Participating in the 10 mile race is a nice way to get a long run in in a much more interesting manner than just going out and running on the trail on my own. Although I have loved my long runs this year- the weather has been perfect and the leaves lately are so pretty- it's nice to change it up sometimes.
My sister Sandy and I have a knack for arriving at races a minute or two before they start (something I recently learned my sister Becky also has a knack for- guess it runs in the family- ha ha- get it? I'm hilarious, I know). We had been out with friends the night before the Capital Pursuit and I don't know what my deal was, but I guess I got a late start that morning. It was the classic case of trying to do too much ("Oh, I can get Jake dressed so Mike doesn't have to," sort of thing) and not realizing how those minutes added up. Then add to that the fact that speed cameras have recently been installed on the interstate here, and I didn't know where they were but was paranoid about getting a ticket. Had I known we were still just in the warning phase for the cameras, I probably would have driven a bit faster. However, I didn't know that, and so I drove accordingly, and then couldn't seem to figure out where I needed to go once I got downtown. (I don't know the streets very well there- I know the landmarks.) I ended up just parking somewhere and running (nearly sprinting) in the general direction of where I thought the starting line was. As I turned the corner and saw the starting line about a block and a half in front of me, the gun went off and the racers started coming my way. I thought, "Hmm, this is new- arriving as the race starts. I'll have to tell Sandy about this!" and I jumped in with the runners and was off, mittens, watch, and car key in hand, and shoes not tied anywhere close to right. I'm a little OCD about how my shoes are tied when I'm running- they can't be too tight or too loose, and at this point I had one of each. I dealt with it for about 3 miles and then had to go to the side to fix them, only to do it wrong and have to fix them again about 5 minutes later, as crowds of runners jogged past me. The second time they still didn't feel quite right, but I couldn't stand the thought of stopping again and being passed by so many people, so I decided to just deal with it. It was fine.
I was able to find a friend from my kickboxing class around mile 5. She was slightly ahead of me, and it took me about a mile to catch up to her. We then stayed pretty close by each other the rest of the race, talking some, but not tons. She would go ahead of me a little and then I'd catch her, and then the last mile I went ahead of her and she wasn't able to keep up. Here's the kicker- she is 53! Yep, 20 years older than me and we basically run about the same pace. She's one fit 53 year-old, let me tell ya.
Mike always makes fun of me by saying that in races I have competitions with people who don't know I'm competing with them. He says it like it's a bad thing, but really, it's more of a mental game I play with myself to push myself. People pass me early on, and I think, "Ok, I'm going to pass you later and finish before you." This girl in the green shirt and hat in the picture below was one of those people. I passed her right at the 9 mile mark, and then she caught back up to me very briefly, but then couldn't keep up. I was booking it hard the last mile- it was my fastest of all 10 miles at 7 minutes and 20 seconds, I think. Oh, I'm in the all black with sunglasses in the picture.
This is a small race, so they don't do chip timing. I suppose that worked in my favor this time, because I never technically crossed the starting line. I was happy with my time. I finished in one hour, 21 minutes, and 38 seconds, which was about 2 minutes faster than the last time I ran it. That really surprised me, because I feel like I was in better shape 2 years ago than I am now. With 3 kids now and one of them being a baby, I just don't have as much time to devote to running. I ended up finishing 8th out of 57 women in the 30-34 year-old age group and 46th out of 255 female runners, with an average pace of 8:10 minutes per mile.
It was great to see Mike, Zach, and Drew at the finish line (Jake stayed home with Grandma Linda to nap), and thankfully it was easy to find them right afterwards. This series of pictures kind of cracks me up, purely because of Drew's face in each one.
The boys were excited to run the kids race, but we had some time to kill, so we messed around in Nollen Plaza while we waited.
After a while, Mike said, "Oh, they just said the kids race will be starting soon," so we walked up to the finish line area. Just in time to see the kids (not our kids, though) run their race. I could not believe we missed it. I felt just terrible. Unlike my race, in which I could easily jump in and not miss a thing, the kids race lasted about 20 seconds, so missing the start really equaled missing the whole thing. But, trying to stay positive and head off any sadness from the boys, I quickly said, "Well, here, you can have your own race!" in my cheeriest voice possible. I set Drew up in one place and Zach a bit behind him and shouted, "GO!" while Mike aimed the camera. These pictures also make me laugh, because it looks like Zach is talking trash to Drew, or at least totally enjoying passing him. At least they both look like they had fun.
And they got medals at the end, which I think was the main motivation for one or maybe even both of them. So, all was not lost. However, Zach did tell Grandma later that it would have been more fun running with the other kids. I still feel bad about it.
In other 10 news, Jake turned 10 months old. Here he is in his cute Wartburg onesie from Troy & Jen. What you can't see is his cute butt, which says "Knights" on it.
Jake has discovered he LOVES the basement, just like his big brothers. However, unlike his big brothers, Jake can't play downstairs without a parent, so when Zach and Drew go down there without him, this is what he does.
Now that Jake is 10 months old, we decided it's time he starts earning his keep around here. His main chore is to help empty the dishwasher... and the cabinets... and the games under the coffee table... and the toys from the toy trunk... and anything he can get his hands on.
I have about 3 Halloween decorations (I know- I really go all-out), and one of them is a little wooden wreath of jack-o-lanterns on the wall right at the base of the stairs. Jake loves it, so every time we come down the stairs, he grins, makes a funny noise, and "points" at it. This is how he points now.
This picture totally resembles Drew's "silly face" that he used to make when he was about Jake's age.
Only 2 months until Jake's first birthday- yikes!!!