The Dam to Dam is a 20k road race in central Iowa, and I think it's actually the nation's largest 20k. I've wanted to run it for many years, but aside from the last couple of years, I've always had soccer games that conflicted. This year I decided I was doing it no matter what. It was a fun but definitely tough race. Some big hills in there. I ended up running most of it with a new friend, whom I had recently met at another friend's house. He and I ran the first 9 miles together, and then he fell just behind me. I finished in 1:41:55, which put me a little over an 8 minute per mile pace, which was my goal, so I was happy with that. Here I am near the finish line. In the homestretch I remember feeling like the finish line was still so far away. I was definitely tired.
My mom, sister Becky, and nephews Cam and Myles had arrived the day before from Colorado. It was nice to have them and my own little family there to cheer me on. I also saw my mother-in-law Cynthia, sister-in-law Katherine, and soon-to-be-brother-in-law Sam and his parents along the course, and it was nice to have people cheering me on.
After the race we walked over to the farmer's market to kill some time before the kids races, which at least Zach and Cam were very excited about participating in. Myles was excited, too. Here he is lining up with his mom.
Drew would have run next, but since all the four year-olds had the number 4 on their bib, and Drew wanted to be number 95 like Lightning McQueen, so he was not interested in running. Oh, well. Zach, on the other hand, could not have been more interested. Even though Zach was days away from turning 7, he insisted on running with the other 6 year-olds. You know, so he could win. Those 6 year-olds were a tough group of runners, though, and he came in 3rd. I believe Cam was 4th. At least that's the story Cam and Zach told about their respective places. They had fun, and that's all I cared about!
Here's a pic of all the runners for the day.
Later that afternoon Mike left for Florida for 6 days for a conference for work stuff. So it was just my mom, my sister, and me with 5 crazy little boys under age 7.
On Sunday we went to Raccoon River Park with the kids. Cam and Zach enjoyed climbing the big climbing structure.
We didn't pack swim suits, because we didn't plan on going into the water, or at least didn't plan on doing more than just wading in. Uhhh, yeah, the kids apparently weren't aware of that plan, because they all got completely drenched in about 30 seconds.
On Tuesday afternoon my dad flew in from Colorado. He was here just in time to witness some crazy backyard water shenanigans. This was the first time we had gotten out the pool and little hopscotch thing this summer, and Jake thought they were loads of fun. Actually, all the boys had so much fun.
All the boys enjoyed our water slide. Myles might have been the biggest fan. First, Drew showed him how to do it.
Myles was all over it! No fear for this 2 and a half year-old!
Grandma Ruth helped Jake slide in- it's way too fast when it's wet for him to do it on his own from the top.
Cam made a big splash.
I thought this was Zach, but now I actually think it might be Drew again.
Notice how Zach, goggles and all, is holding his breath. You'd think the kid was deathly afraid of water or something.
On Wednesday afternoon, Grandma, Grandpa, and Drew drove to Minnesota to meet my sister Sandy to pick up Anders so he could some spend some time with his cousins. Drew was super excited for Anders to come, as I think he was definitely feeling left out of the Cam and Zach play time. He and Anders had lots of fun in the car on the ride back down, but then they spent the next few days kind of at each other's throats. I'm not sure why, because they weren't like that when we were in Minnesota in April. But they did enjoy some quiet time watching the trash truck on Thursday morning.
On Thursday, we tie-dyed. We had purchased lots of white t-shirts, underwear, and other random white things to dye. I have a way of tie-dying that I've been doing since high school that generally works very well and produces great results. My mom and I first had Drew and Anders help dye their own shirts. When it was time to do Zach and Cam's shirts and undies, Becky and I let them help with all of them. Otherwise, we did all the dying. Here's our workspace with all the stuff we had dyed.
One thing that's different now than all the other times I have tie-dyed is that I have a front-load washing machine. I am not sure, but I think that may have caused the dye to bleed just a little bit. I don't know for sure, though. All I do know is that in the past, the white parts on the clothes have stayed white, and this time, they turned sort of a bluish-gray. I was not (and still am not) happy about that. But, aside from that, I feel like the clothes turned out very nice. My boys have definitely gotten lots of compliments on them in the last month.
Friday was Zach's birthday. Mike had arrived home Thursday night, but still needed to work on Friday. My parents decided to take the 4 older boys out to the Science Center to check things out and see an IMAX movie. We decided to put the boys all in their tie-dye shirts, which made it easy to spot them. First, though, we had to get a picture of all the cousins in their fun shirts.
I think they might be the cutest little tie-dye models ever. Wouldn't you agree??
And I had to get a picture of my 3 boys. Amazingly, one of them turned out!
While the older boys were out with Grandma and Grandpa, Becky and I tried to keep Myles and Jake from noticing that they were missing out on the fun. So we walked up to the park and played, and watched some Sesame Street. During nap time I worked on Zach's cake. He wanted a cake in his school colors with the school logo on it, and he wanted gummy bears on it as well. I put them around the outside as a border. This was definitely the easiest cake yet, which was perfectly fine by me!
Zach even wanted the inside of the cake in school colors, so I made a purple and yellow zebra cake using yellow cake batter and cherry (dyed purple) cake batter. It was actually quite a delicious cake!
That afternoon was Zach's birthday party. He decided to invite 2 friends (both girls) from school to go to Sky Zone, the indoor trampoline park, with him and his cousins. In Zach's mind, the party was Ximen, Natalie, Cam, and Zach. He picked 2 girls so it would be even for boys and girls. We went to Sky Zone and jumped for an hour, and then came home to find the pizza guy waiting in the driveway (he was early). So we ate some pizza and cake and quickly opened presents, and the girls' parents arrived to take them home. It was all very easy and fast and a lot of fun.
I guess we don't need to worry about Zach playing with fire, as the flame from 7 candles is clearly too bright for his sensitive eyes.
I love Cam's face in the last picture and this next one. There's nothing like a young kid excited about something like a birthday cake to brighten your day.
Jake enjoyed the cake as well.
After the girls left, we played outside some more and managed to get one more good picture of all the cousins. In age order from left to right, they go:
Zach- 7; Cam- 6; Drew- 4; Anders- 3.5; Myles- 2.5; Jake- 1.5
On Saturday, all the fun was over, as everybody left. My parents and Anders headed up to Minnesota, and Becky and her boys flew home to Colorado. Zach went with me to the airport, and it was very difficult to say goodbye. Even though it was exhausting at times to deal with all the energy these boys have, it was still so much fun to have everybody together. Since my cousins are all so much older than me, I am constantly telling my boys how lucky they are to have cousins close in age that they can be good friends with. I love all the memory-making that happened, and I'm so thankful that everyone came to visit.
Technically that should be the end of the blog post, but since we celebrated Zach's birthday twice, I decided I'd just include these other few pictures in the same post. Otherwise they probably wouldn't get up here until August.
So Sunday was the day we celebrated Zach's birthday with Mike's side of the family. I made another new cake, and it was delicious, if I do say so myself! It was a chocolate cake with real whipped cream as the filling and frosting, but the whipped cream had Oreo bits mixed in. YUM! Zach picked it based on a picture in one of my cookbooks, and it, too, was easy and tasty.
Jake got his first taste of real whipped cream from a beater. I couldn't decide which picture I liked best, so I just put all three on.
Zach got some more neat toys from Grandma Linda and Grandpa Curt, Grandma Cynthia and Grandpa Kevin (who gave him a Betta fish!), and Aunt Katherine and her fiancé Sam.
Whew! I can check this post off the list! Mike keeps telling me I need to do just 10 minutes a night on the blog, or else he will never be able to remember the fun stuff Jake is doing these days. So hopefully I'll get better about writing shorter, more frequent posts. Stay tuned...