Sunday, March 18, 2012

Drew Turns Four

Well, Drew no longer can tell people he's 3 and 3/4, something I think he learned while in Colorado in February. Now he happily tells people he is 4! It's been a quick 4 years! When our old computer died, we lost some of our pictures off of iPhoto, so I just looked back and picked some old favorites of Drew from what I have available.

This is Drew on his first birthday. I remember taking this picture. It was back when it was okay to turn your child's car seat around at 1 year and 20 pounds, and I had done just that right before he and I went to pick Zach up from preschool.

Drew on his second birthday. By this point, his obsession with Lightning McQueen had already begun.

I'm not sure when this picture was taken exactly, but sometime during the summer of 2010. I just love this picture.

These are two of my favorite old pictures of Drew and Anders. They were taken on our trip to MN where Drew had no idea how to interact with Anders, who wasn't yet two. Every time Anders came near Drew, Drew would freak out that Anders was going to steal the toy he was playing with. It was hilarious. Good thing he's not afraid of his "best cousin" anymore.

One of my favorite action shots of my little man.

Now to present day. We started Drew's birthday celebration a little early. The club does a free kids buffet on Thursdays in March, so we try to hit it up if we can as our dining out experience for the week. March 1 was a Thursday, and we had also just received the certificate for Drew's free ice cream sundae, so it was a no-brainer.

Mike was out of town all weekend, but I braved the bounce-house place with all 3 boys one morning after Jake's nap. I didn't get any good pictures, but they all sure had a great time. Drew had said at one point that he wanted to go there for his birthday party, and I kinda wanted to avoid having a friends party (he still doesn't remember many kids names from preschool, so it just felt weird to do a big party), so taking the boys there was my way of compensating, I guess. As we got there, Zach ran into his best friend from kindergarten, and he basically ran off and played with him the whole time, which was kind of a bummer, because I really wanted him to play with Drew and give his attention to Drew. Instead Drew played on his own and with Jake and me.

We celebrated Drew's birthday with Mike's 2 sets of parents on Sunday evening after he returned home, which was the day before Drew's actual birthday. He was pretty excited to open presents.

With the Playmobil construction set from Anders.

The snorkel that he asked Grandma Linda and Grandpa Curt for.

Originally, Drew said he wanted a rocket ship cake. And then, like a fool, I asked him if he wanted a rocket cake or an Angry Birds cake. Of course he chose Angry Birds. Then, like a bigger fool, I said, "Let's look on the computer for some ideas." And then we started seeing cakes way out of my league that of course Drew loved. I was really beginning to wonder what I had gotten myself into, and then we found a picture that looked doable. So I tried my first try at working with fondant. Over the course of a week, I made these little birds and pigs. I started with the red bird, and ended with the small pig. I think my work got better as I went along and kinda got the hang of what I was doing.

At the grocery store one day, Drew originally said he wanted lemon cake with cherry frosting, but I managed to talk him into lemon with vanilla frosting. It was really quite tasty. This is what the final cake looked like. Drew did not want any writing or anything on it, which was fine by me!

Zach and Drew kept calling which birds/pigs they were going to eat, but in the end, I convinced them that they probably wouldn't taste very good.

Is that kid cute, or what?

Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Dick got Drew a Cars 2 scooter, and Jake loves riding around on it.

On Monday, March 5, Drew's actual birthday, we did our usual grocery store run, and I decided Drew and Jake could each get a balloon for Drew's big day. I debated, wondering if I should get one for Zach, and decided in the end that he'd be ok with not having one. Oops. Wrong decision. He was pretty sad when he got home from school and found out that both younger brothers got balloons and he didn't. I felt pretty bad about that.

Anyway, Jake loves to climb up on things like the laundry basket, and I'm so glad I snapped these two pictures of him and Drew sitting up there. I just think they look so sweet.

We decided not to let Drew open the presents from us at his party on Sunday so that he'd actually have something to open on his real birthday. Unfortunately, Mike had a meeting at 6:00 that night, so we had about 30 minutes to open presents and eat dinner once he got home from work.

We gave him "Angry Birds Knock on Wood," which is a "real" version of the electronic game. Drew can build little structures with the fake wood pieces and shoot birds at them to knock off the little green pigs. He'd been sort of doing this sort of thing with Legos for a while, so he was pretty excited to have the real thing. As usual, Drew doesn't necessarily like using the cards that show how to build structures or playing the way the rules state- he just wants to build his own and knock them down, which is fine. The only trick is that we have to be extra vigilant to pick up the birds as we are playing, or else our devilish senior dog Maggie, who turns 12 tomorrow, sneaks off with them. I have no doubt she will ruin at least one of them before long.

I think Drew had a great birthday. We also got him a Lightning McQueen app for Mike's iPad, and a retired car from the first Cars movie that he really wanted. He was pretty happy with all of his gifts, and he was so sweet- always saying thank you (both at his party to grandparents and on his birthday to us). His preschool teachers have commented on what nice manners he has, so that is nice to hear. He has grown up so much over the last year. He is a loving, funny kid, with a great sense of humor. There are so many things he just "gets"- like jokes that seem too advanced for a just-turned-four-year-old. For example, we were going to play group a few weeks ago, and we were talking about who would be there, and Drew said, "I think Chase will want to play tag with me.... 'Cause you know, Chase? Get it?" There are other examples that I can't think of, but he just picks up on things so quickly, and he just has a witty sense of humor. I am hoping that he starts reading this summer. He knows his letters well and knows the sounds most of them make, and does a good job if I ask him to sound out a word and tell me the letters in it. He already counts higher than Zach did at the beginning of kindergarten, which is probably because he's heard Zach counting for so long. He still loves his cars and trucks and isn't as into sports as Zach is or was at this age. Drew really enjoys preschool and sure does love his teachers. One of them told me the other day that when his job is prayer leader, his prayers are so sweet, the teachers get choked up. He can still be a pistol at times, but like I said earlier, he really has grown up. He tells Zach all the time, "I love you Zach. You're my best friend." And he tries so hard to be sweet to Jake, who seems to want to hit poor Drew every chance he gets. I am so glad I've been able to be home with Drew for all 4 of his years. It's hard to think that he'll be off to kindergarten in 18 short months. Where does the time go?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Leap Day

Only once every four years can you get silly pictures like this:

In these next 2 photos, Jake was experimenting with his food by putting his face down on his tray to see if his freeze-dried apples would stick to his face. He proved his hypothesis to be true.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Colorado Trip

I finally have uploaded my pictures from our trip to Colorado more than a month ago. I have nothing but laziness to blame for the long delay.

Mike and I had differing opinions on whether we should drive to CO or fly. I didn't want to spend 10+ hours in the car with Jake (who has never loved the car anyway, though he's much better now), and Mike didn't want to spend the money for 4 plane tickets (Jake is still free if he sits on my lap). So, we compromised. I used credit card points to purchase a plane ticket for myself and Jake, and Mike, Zach, and Drew drove out. This was the best of both worlds, because it meant we didn't spend any money on plane tickets, nobody had to endure the drive to CO with an active one year-old held prisoner in his seat, and we still had a car to drive as opposed to renting one. So Jake and I flew out Wednesday night, and Mike and the big boys drove partway that night. They finished the drive the next day. I got this picture as a text at some point.

While Mike and the boys were driving out, I got to meet up with my childhood friend Gina and her daughter Ari, who is 3 months older than Jake. It was very sweet to see Ari and Jake watching each other and playing side-by-side, and it was really good to see Gina again.

Mike and the boys arrived around noon. It started snowing that night, and by early Friday morning, Denver had gotten a bunch of snow. I can't remember how much- 10 inches, maybe? We were worried we wouldn't be able to get up to the mountains for our weekend with my high school friends, but we decided to give it a try. We hopped into the car and headed west, and I-70 was snow-packed and icy in spots, but not as bad as we expected. I was thankful that Mike was driving, though, because I would have been too nervous.

We got to Winter Park, got our ski equipment, and hit the slopes for the first time in probably 5 years.

After our first run we were able to meet up with my high school friends Ian and Ana, and Ana's husband Keith. We all skied one run together before Keith, who skis 3-4 times a week, took off for some harder runs. Then Ana, Ian, Mike, and I did another green together before I assured them I'd be okay on my own and encouraged them to go on to the blues they were itching to get to. And I was fine. I'm kind of a scaredy-cat skier, especially after 5 years have passed since my last venture out on the slopes. But I am perfectly content to ski greens all day, build my confidence, and enjoy myself, rather than move to something more challenging and feel tense and stressed out. At the same time, I don't want to hold anybody else back from skiing the runs they want to ski, which is why I encouraged Ana, Ian, and Mike to go on to harder runs without me. We set a time and met back up later for some lunch, at which time we had another skier take this picture. Keith had already taken off, though, so he missed the photo-op.

When the lifts closed, we headed back to our rooms at Devil's Thumb Ranch. We all wanted to save a little money, so rather than staying in the main lodge, we opted to get rooms in the bunkhouse, which was still wonderful. We got showered up and headed to my friend Preston's parents' house in Tabernash for the pre-wedding dinner party. It was so fun to see old friends again and to just relax and hang out. While we were out, I got this picture as a text from my sister. Zach and Cam really were sound asleep like this. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I think this one speaks volumes about what good buddies these two cousins are. I really love this picture.

On Saturday we started the day with a little tea and a pastry at the cafe at Devil's Thumb Ranch, and then Mike, my friends, and I all headed to the spa for some yoga. This was my first yoga class, and it was fun. Later we went into Winter Park for some delicious brunch, and then back to the ranch for some relaxing before the big wedding. Here we are just before heading to the ceremony, which was at the ranch, too.

Mike, me, Ana, and Keith

Just Mike & me

Me, Ian, and Ana- Ian and I went to the same elementary school, and we met Ana in junior high, so we've all been friends for a very long time.

The wedding ceremony was beautiful, and the reception was lots of fun. Great food, a blue grass band, and good friends. This picture shows Ian, Ana, me, and Bill (another friend since junior high) at the bar at the reception.

The whole Wheat Ridge crew- Bill (who lives in CT and I haven't seen in 6+ years), Ana, Preston (the groom, another friend since junior high), me, and Ian.

Mike and I were up early on Sunday morning to head out of town and get back down to Denver to celebrate Christmas with my whole side of the family. We had to get one quick picture of the mountains as we left.

We had so much fun up in Winter Park for the weekend, and we knew our boys were having a blast down in the city. Zach basically spent the entire time at my sister Becky's house, and of course loved every minute he got to spend with Aunt Becky, Uncle Tom, Cam, and Myles. On Friday night my sister Sandy, brother-in-law Will, and nephew Anders had arrived from Minneapolis, so Drew was very happy to have his "best cousin" Anders to play with. And Jake was doing well with Grandma and Grandpa taking care of him. We were thankful to know that everybody was in good hands and having lots of fun. I know while we were gone both Zach and Cam and Drew and Anders got to go sledding, and they enjoyed that a lot. I sure would love to see some pictures from that weekend... (get the hint, sisters??) (or Mom & Dad??)

Everybody was pretty excited for our Christmas celebration on Super Bowl Sunday. We got to the stockings right away.

Then we moved to the presents, and even Sadie got in on the action.

Then it was time for presents.

Jake loved his lollipop drum from Grandma and Grandpa.

Drew, Jake, and Anders enjoyed playing in the log cabin that Grandma made for Anders.

I like this picture of Anders and Drew playing with the little toy computer we gave to Myles. The funny thing is that Drew is laying in the bathroom. I guess with all those people and especially all those cousins, quiet space was hard to come by, so they took the first place they could find!

Before Uncle Tom headed home to watch the big game in peace (he's from Massachusetts and is a big Patriots fan), he took Zach and Cam outside for some fun in the snow.

After the little boys woke up from naps and while we moms were working on snacks for the game, much of the family enjoyed some Little Rascals.

On Monday Sandy, Will, Becky, Tom, Mike, and I took all the boys except for Jake to the Museum of Nature and Science. We checked out some exhibits and then saw an IMAX movie on winged dinosaurs. It was pretty cool, but maybe a little too scientific for the kids. They liked the 3D aspect of it, though.

That evening, we finally got a picture of all 6 of the cousins together. Trying to get 6 boys ages 6 and a half and under to smile and look the same direction is pretty much impossible, though. I picked the best ones of the bunch. Ages of the boys are- Zach- 6, Cam- 5, Myles- 2, Anders- 3, Drew- almost 4, and Jake- 14 mo.

Mike, Zach, and Drew headed out early Tuesday morning, and Jake and I flew home midday. It was a pretty rough flight, as I had to wake Jake up early from his nap to get to the airport, and then he was tired and incredibly antsy the whole flight. At the airport, the only thing that kept him happy was the moving walkways, which was great until we got to the end of each one and had to get off. Then Jake would cry and fuss and go all floppy on me. Once we got to the last walkway, we rode it about 4 times back and forth until we had to head to our gate, and that didn't go over so well.

Though ideally flying would be easier, it seems Zach and Drew were sufficiently worn out from all the fun with their cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, and I think Mike probably had an easier trip home than I did.