Monday, October 29, 2012

Another Catch-Up

It's been almost 2 months, and, once again, I've fallen way behind on blogging.  So here are a ton of pictures from the past 2 months not necessarily in order, because if I try to get them in order, it could be another month before this post actually gets published.

First, a random picture of Jake and our buddy Eli.  Until just recently, Jake always called Eli "baby".  Lately, though, he calls him "Ili" (think eye-lie).  So one night when Eli and his family were over, Jake wanted to hold him.  Jake definitely likes babies.  They are not quite a year apart, so in no time Eli will be running around playing with Jake.  

Here are the boys on the opening day of the Hawkeye football season.  So far it's been a very disappointing season, to say the least.  At least we have cute blondies to admire in their jerseys since the real players rarely seem to look good.

Here are the boys attempting to do what many fitness experts consider "the perfect exercise"- the burpee.  Personally, I hate burpees.  To do a burpee, you start in a standing position, squat, then do a push-up, then stand up and do a vertical jump, and that's one.  So here are the boys (even Jake, who is closest to the table) doing their best burpees.  They need a little work. :-)

I think this picture is of the boys all watching a Star Wars version of the song Call Me Maybe.  It's a pretty funny compilation.  Looks like all the boys were interested in it.

Wow, this shows how badly I've done with blogging lately.  Here's Drew on his first day of pre-k preschool.  It is really hard to imagine him going to kindergarten next year.  I know he'll be ready, but will I??  

Drew is really getting more and more interested in writing and reading, and is sounding out simple words and trying to sound out harder words to write them.  He can easily count to 100 by 1's and 10's, which are both things Zach didn't do until kindergarten, so we wonder if Drew will be our math kid.  

Drew definitely loves preschool.  He goes 4 days a week for 2.5 hours each.  His best friend Clay is not in his class, which is a bummer, but Clay's grandma is Drew's teacher, so that is fun.  And, Drew has a girlfriend that is also his new best friend.  Carly and Drew seemed to become friends pretty quickly, and it wasn't long before Drew started sharing all sorts of gems as he got into the car after school, such as:
     -"Carly is my girlfriend, you know, because she's a girl and she's my friend,"
     -"I kissed Carly today."  (I tried not to make a big deal of this, but did find out that another kid suggested they kiss, and I also encouraged sticking with just hugs so that no germs are shared.)
     -"Mom, Carly and I decided we're going to get married, so can we borrow the car?"  When I asked why they'd need the car, Drew said, "Well, because, you know, we don't have the money to buy a car. And we'll also need to borrow the baby carrier and the bassinet for the baby that God gives Carly."
On Friday Drew, Jake, and I were at the mall and decided to play at the play area, and suddenly, we realized that Carly was there, too.  It was really fun to watch the two of them playing together.  Then this morning, before school, Drew told me he wanted to write Carly a note.  This is what he wrote:

In case you can't tell, it says, "I (heart) U Carly" and is signed by him.  Again, I didn't make a big deal of it.  He said he wanted to write it and asked me to draw the heart for him, but instead I showed him how to do it himself, and then I helped him with how to spell Carly's name.  He said Carly thanked him when he gave it to her this morning.  I don't have the heart to tell Drew that after this school year, he and Carly could very well never see each other again. :-(

This next series of pictures was taken a while ago.  Probably sometime after Drew started preschool.  I can't remember exactly how we found this praying mantis, but he was on our driveway, I guess, so Drew wanted to get a good, close look.

He talked to him and observed him for quite some time, and we did a little google research to figure out what our friend might eat.  It was interesting to watch him.

Mike took Zach and Drew to a Hawkeye game earlier in the season.  Unfortunately, the game was one of those "sure win" games that we lost.  At least it didn't rain on the boys like it has the past 2 years, though.

It seems the boys had fun despite the loss.  Drew even did the wave.

It was strange getting used to having just Jake while Zach and Drew were at school.  But now Jake and I have our routines.  We go to the grocery store on Mondays (something I think I need to change because Jake can be a total pain at the grocery store, much more than his brothers were at this age), story time at the library on Tuesdays, Wednesdays are open for whatever, and we go to a music class on Thursdays.  Probably our favorite thing is music class.  I did a music class always with Zach from the time he was 1 until he was about 4, which means I also did it with Drew for a while, but once Drew was old enough to voice his opinion, he let it be known that music class wasn't really his thing.  Actually I think Drew would have loved if we could have continued the small music class we did originally, but that teacher quit and the big class we started attending just wasn't that great.  The class Jake and I go to is somewhere in the middle- not as small as the private one Zach and I did, but not humongous, either.  And Jake is totally into it.  

Here is Jake playing at the library one day.  I've gotten to where I try to get online on Monday nights to search for at least some of our books (I have a slight problem with checking out library books- I usually check out at least 10-15 picture books for Drew, probably 4-5 chapter books for Zach, and 2-3 board books for Jake) so that I can request them and have the librarians pull them and have them waiting when we get to the library, because Jake doesn't like for Mommy to be ignoring him to look for books for a long time.  I can't blame him, but sometimes you just can't pick books without looking at them.  If you have any good book recommendations for either Zach (age 7) or Drew (age 4.5), I'd gladly take them!  Anyway, lately Jake and I pretend to be firefighters for quite a while while at the library.  Jake always gives me the fireman hat and he takes this other red hat, and we go and pretend to sleep on the beanbags.  Then I sound the alarm and we get up and wander around, sometimes with Jake doing the fire engine siren, and we put out fires.  This is a game Jake learned from Drew, who likes to play it at home.  It's fun, but doing it 50 times in a row gets a little repetitive for my taste.  Oh well.  It makes Jake happy, so I'll happily play along.

In September, Drew and I were able to go up to Minnesota for a weekend to help celebrate my nephew Anders' 4th birthday.  My brother-in-law was out of town, so I told Sandy I'd come help her with the birthday party, and Drew was super excited to get a weekend with Anders.  Zach had soccer and football that weekend, so Mike and Jake stayed home with him, which was a first for us.  It worked out well, though.  Drew and Anders played and bickered while Sandy and I got things ready for the party on Saturday afternoon.  The them was the Olympics, so I made this easy cake.

I also was able to get a long run in on Sunday before we left town, and Sandy bravely took Anders, Drew, and Kelso on a bike ride.  The ride almost didn't happen, because the two 4 year-olds (or, as Drew would be sure to say, the one 4 year-old and the one 4 and A HALF year-old (which is Drew)) were having some alpha male issues about who was fastest and should be in front.  

I got some good pictures and even a video of Sandy and Will's crazy dog Kelso, who is still not a year old, though he is probably 50+ pounds.  Kelso is a good dog, but he's a puppy, so he still has a lot of energy.  And holy cow, can that dog jump.  He likes to jump up to get this ball that is tied to the tree in their backyard.  Occasionally he grabs ahold of it and kind of gets himself stuck, because he is afraid to let go (I guess?) or doesn't want to let go, maybe.  If he does that a few times, Sandy tells him he can't play that way anymore, and he gets his toy put up.  

Check out this video.  I hope it actually works- it's the first time I've uploaded directly to blogger without going through OneTrueMedia first.  I can't get it centered for some reason, though.

Random park pictures of my little tree-huggers.

These pictures were taken some night after Drew, Jake, and I had taken a bike ride while Mike and Zach were at football practice.  There was a blanket in the Burley (the little bike trailer Jake rides in) from last year, so Jake cuddled with it and didn't want to let it go once we got home.

It's fun to have Jake getting older and being more interested and able to do things his brothers want to do.  He just might (fingers crossed!) be my arts-and-crafts kid.  So far neither Zach nor Drew are all that into artsy stuff, something I always have just attributed to them being boys.  But Jake loves to color, and even at the young age of 22 months, he holds writing utensils correctly, something that, like Drew counting to 100 and counting by 10's, I think is a direct result of having older siblings to watch and learn from.

Here the boys are enjoying some easel painting time.  The only trick with this is getting Jake to stay on the splat mat and not get paint all over the kitchen or living room.

It's fun to see how Drew's creativity is evolving.  He no longer slathers all the paint on in one spot.  It's nice to have pictures with a variety of color, as opposed to just a big brownish blob that takes days to dry.

I got this next idea from Pinterest.  I need to take some time to go over all the stuff I've pinned there and get the necessary materials to do some more activities with the boys.  This is just a little fine-motor exercise the boys did that involved threading Cheerios onto an uncooked spaghetti noodle that was stuck in a blob of Play-Doh.

Jake and Drew are starting to play together more and more, which is so nice.  Jake really watches Drew when it's just the two of them, and definitely emulates Drew's play, whether it's with racing cars, being the Incredible Hulk, or playing with trains.  Drew sometimes still does incredibly annoying big-brother things, but I don't expect that to change anytime soon, though I wish it would.  Jake holds his own pretty well, though.  Just yesterday Drew did something annoying for about the 3rd time in a row, and I looked up right as Jake shoved Drew hard enough to knock him down.  A part of me, as the youngest kid in my own family, definitely thought, "Yeah, Jake! You show him!"

Speaking of the youngest, I like to think this is how our family would look were we to have one more kid (which is definitely not going to happen).  Notice the pink pants on that little cutie??

That's little Lucy, our friend BJ and Carey's newest little one.  Somehow Charlie, their almost 3 year-old son, managed to stay out of the picture.  Aside from being almost 2 years younger than Drew yet being only an inch shorter, Charlie looks like he fits right in with our family- blonde hair and fair skin.  Lucy, on the other hand, has a head full of dark hair.  

All the boys wanted to hold Lucy, and BJ and Carey were kind enough to let them.  Even Jake felt he needed a turn, so I helped him out.

And one last picture of Jake before I call it a night and decide to publish this not-quite-caught-up post.   Man, I can't believe this little guy will be 2 in about 6 weeks.  He is so fun and so opinionated and can be such a challenge, too.  Though we aren't necessarily "working on" potty training, we do encourage Jake to potty on the potty and we do have him sit on the toilet at a few regular times each day, like when he wakes up in the morning, before/after naps, before baths, and before bed.  And Jake is really quite good about pooping on the potty.  Unless he is alone in his room (like right after waking up), he always tells me when he needs to poop, and we head to the bathroom and take care of business.  Honestly, I don't remember the last time I actually changed a poopy diaper- it's quite nice!  I should probably work harder at actual potty training, but I'm not sure he gets the feeling of needing to pee yet, so I don't know if it's worth all the hassle right now.  I guess I'm being lazy about it.  Maybe this winter on a snow day or something, I'll just crank the heat up and strip him down to his birthday suit and we'll see if we can get it worked out.

Jake is picking up so many words every day.  It's so amazing.  Today he kept saying, "Jinkies!" which is from watching A Pup Named Scooby Doo with his brothers.  He still calls Zach "Aa-aa" (short a sound), and sometimes "Eee-aa" (long e, short a), and Drew is "Dew".  He sounds like an east coast kid whenever he wants my attention (which is a lot), because he says, "MA!" or "Hup MA!" which translates to "Help, Mom!"  It can be quite annoying, because we might be in the car, and Drew is telling me about something that happened at school, and Jake suddenly just starts in with his east coast accent, "Ma! Ma! MAAA!!!"  And Mike is "Da"- like dad without the ending d.  One of the sweetest things is when Mike gets home and Jake so sweetly and happily says, "Hi Da!"  He also cracks me up when he sees me with my hair in a ponytail and says, "Weh-ee?" which means "Sweaty?"

Jake is working on his colors.  His favorite colors seem to be red and blue (ba-loo).  He does pretty well with yellow (lellow), but most other colors he's not real good at identifying yet.  As I said before, he likes to write and color, and if you ask him what he's writing, he'll tell you random letters, most often D or A.  Or he'll say he wrote his name (Dake) or one of his brothers' names.

A few weeks ago, Jake and I were baking, and as I poured in the first of a couple teaspoons of something, I said, "One..." Jake said, "Two, tee, tor, tive!"  It took me a split second to realize he was counting.  I grabbed my phone to video him, but he wouldn't do it again, and as far as I know, he hasn't done it since.  Today, when Drew was counting by 10's in the car, Jake wanted to do his counting, too. So he would say, over and over again, "Tee! Tive! Tee! Tive!"  So he likes 3 and 5, I guess.

Jake still uses his binky and his blanket at bedtime and nap time.  Not sure what our plan/timeline is to get rid of the binky.  Zach and Drew's were long gone at this point, but Jake is the last baby, so I guess we're getting lazy or something.  I don't know.  He loves reading books, singing songs, and playing soccer and basketball.  He also loves playing golf and gets incredibly mad when he is trying to putt on Mike's putting green in the basement and can't get the ball in the hole.  Maybe he'll be our ultra-competitive kid.  He seems to have the hottest temper when it comes to things not going his way, and I'm not sure if that's just because the other two have grown out of it some, or if Jake's just always going to be the hot-head of the 3 boys.

Speaking of the three boys, I guess I haven't said much about Zach.  He's doing well, enjoying second grade.  There are definitely more expectations this year than there were last year.  He has spelling tests and therefore words he has to study weekly.  This is probably the biggest downfall of second grade for Zach.  Spelling just does not come naturally to him, so we have to study a lot.  There are 20 words each week, and the teacher ends up testing them on 10 of them, but they don't know which 10 it will be until they take the test.  They have to spell those 10 correctly and put them in the right category.  So this week his words start with sp, sn, or sw.  Last week's list had quite a few challenging words for Zach, so we ended up spending at least an hour on spelling alone a couple of nights.  It's tough because he'll spell a word correctly one day and we'll think he's got it, and then he will spell it incorrectly the next.  It can be very frustrating for Zach, Mike, and me.

Other than spelling, though, things are going well.  He has really gotten into reading chapter books this year, which is great.  For a while there, I think he thought he just couldn't read chapter books; that they surely were just too hard.  But his goal for October was to read 20 chapters, and so far he's read over 70.  I now set his alarm clock in the morning for 7:15, and he knows that at 6:50 he can start reading, but when the alarm beeps, it's time to get to a good stopping point (end of the page or chapter or whatever), get dressed, and head downstairs for breakfast.  I think he loves that he gets a little bit earlier wake-up time than his brothers (or at least Drew, who can't be up until 7:00), and he really gets into his books.  I still worry about knowing if a book is just right for him or not, but I hope he is able to recognize when it's not making sense and is comfortable enough to tell me that it's too hard.  I try to ask him lots of questions about his books so I can kind of gauge his comprehension.

Ok, it's after 11:00 now and I have to get to bed.  I am making it my goal to do a post a week until Christmas.  You read it here (all 6 of you), so please hold me to it!