Friday, August 23, 2013

Things We Did This Summer

School started a week ago already, and it's so hard to believe how quickly the summer flew by.  Some days, when the boys seemed to be arguing incessantly or not listening well or both, it felt like summer was too long.  But now that Zach and Drew are in school all day every day, I kinda wonder where the summer went.  Here, not necessarily in order, is a brief snapshot of what our summer consisted of.

First, plenty of walks.  I remember when Mike took this first picture, because this was a much longer walk than normal, and Zach and Drew walked together for much of it, which is pretty unusual, as Zach usually treats Drew like gum on the bottom of his shoe (which is a sad but true thing to have to say), but on this walk, they walked together and discussed video games non-stop.  Again, it makes me a little sad, but it seems that sometimes video games/apps are one of the few ways these two can bond.

Technically, this wasn't summer- it was last week, but I thought it fit perfectly.  On this walk, Zach got to stop to play at a friend's house for a bit, but the 2 superheroes continued on with Mom, Dad, and the dogs.

We had some playdates at various parks.  This particular day we rode bikes to a park we never go to.  It was a great ride on the way there, but incredibly uphill on the way home.  And long, at least by Drew and Zach's standards.  But, we had fun playing and having a picnic lunch, and we all had a popsicle to celebrate actually making it home.

Jake and I picked out some chairs and a little table that were on sale at Target one day, and I feel like I've made pretty good use out of them.  One morning, when Drew was the last one to eat breakfast (because he requested "long oatmeal"), he got to eat breakfast on the front porch while I had some tea and Zach and Drew played in the basement.  The next day, after doing a noon workout, Zach and I got to enjoy some reading time in the new chairs.  Zach couldn't help but laugh out loud and tell me all about his book.  While a part of me just wanted him to be quiet so I could read my book, a bigger part of me was thrilled about how much he was enjoying his book and also happy to get a chance to listen to him read.

Just after the reading picture above was taken, Grandma Linda and Grandpa Curt arrived to take Zach and Drew to a sleepover at the Adventureland Inn and a date at the amusement park the next day.  I had plans with girlfriends, so Jake and Mike got a special father-son date.  What did they do?  One the of the things they both love most- golf!

Jake even learned how big boys go potty on the golf course.

Mike said when they finished playing 9 holes (something I just barely have enough patience/attention span for), Jake asked Mike if he wanted to putt with him on the putting green.  So they putted on the green that is right next to where people eating can sit outside, and Jake got thumbs-ups and claps for the 10 foot putts he was making.

We celebrated Father's Day by playing some badminton in the backyard.  Originally we were going to go for a hike, but the trail we went to had standing water and mud all over it (it was a very wet May/June), and there were about 5 zillion giant mosquitoes, so that plan was thwarted.

Of course, there was plenty of golf, though Mike would probably argue that there wasn't enough.

We got a few family rounds in, and hit the driving range a few times.  We broke down and bought Jake a left-handed putter so the poor kid wouldn't have to keep hitting with the backside of his right-handed one.

One day Grandma Linda took Zach and Drew to Living History Farms, so Jake and I went to play putt-putt.  It was about 100 degrees out that day, not including the heat index.  After Jake and I finished our 18 holes, we stayed and putted on the extra putting green for as long as we could stand, and then we headed home.  Of course, it was one of those times where Jake couldn't decide what he wanted.  He wanted to go home, but the second I turned our balls in, he wanted to stay.  Eventually he calmed down and once we got home, we rode bikes over to a nearby park that has 3 putt-putt holes and played some more.  It was so hot that we didn't stay long, and instead we headed home to putt on the putting green we have in our basement, which is always considerable cooler than the rest of the house.  Some days, the kid can't get enough putting in.  Other days, he isn't that into it.

We participated in a duct-tape boat race at the club.  The judging started at 2:00 on a Sunday with the race starting at 2:30, and we decided at about 12:45 that we'd do it.  Genius.  Zach's boat (the only one we made) won an award for design and barely got beat out in the race.

Drew and Jake got some cool Angry Bird tattoos.  Caution- while putting a tattoo over a kid's belly button is kinda cool looking and easy to do, getting said tattoo out/off of the belly button is not very easy.  

Zach did a Creepy Crawler Camp with a buddy through the parks and rec department.  He even got to hold this snake.

We had some water balloon fun.  On this day we worked on shapes (Jake), math facts (Zach), and sight words (Drew).  I would say the shape/number sentence/word, and the boys would throw their balloons on the appropriate answer.  Then the boys had a water balloon fight.

Mike went to Salt Lake City for a week or so for a conference, so one day after the boys sat very patiently at Crossfit while I worked out, I took them to Cherry Berry as a reward.

Mike played in a couple of golf tournaments this summer.  His favorite was probably the member-guest tournament, because our friend/neighbor Brad plays with him.  This year they won their flight but then lost in the playoffs.  At the end of this tournament there's a big fancy party, which is always fun.  I rarely have any reason to dress up beyond yoga pants and running shorts, so every now and then it's fun to have a reason to dress a little better.  We had a fantastic time with our friends Brad and Molly and Brent and Kim, as well as Kim's brother Lee, who was our photographer.  

And our friend Anna, who joined us girls before the dinner and met her husband at the club.

The boys went to one Fourth of July parade on the third with Grandma Linda and Grandpa Curt.  Drew and Jake even ended up with their picture in the newspaper.

On the Fourth of July we went to another parade with Grandma Cynthia and Grandpa Kevin.  We're still eating that candy and will probably have it until Halloween.  I think we also hit the pool that day, and then had dinner at some friends' house before heading to the club for family fun and fireworks.  This year, Zach made it all the way to the top of the climbing wall for the first time!  He looked at me when he was about halfway up and shook his head as if to say he was done, but I said, "No, you've got it!  Keep going!"  And he did and was so proud.

The wait for fireworks always seems almost unbearably long, because they don't start until around 10:00.  For boys who go to bed between 8 and 8:30, that's pretty late.  At least we had a band and some dancing to help us get by.

Mike and I got to go with our friends back up to Clear Lake for a weekend this summer.  It's so rare that our friends are all able to coordinate a common weekend and get childcare, so we were so glad we could make it work.  We tried some paddle boarding, which was fun.

And I finally was able to get the one-handed handstand I'd been working on at Crossfit.

July was our busiest month.  The boys (Zach and Drew) had VBS, swim lessons for 2 weeks, and Zach had tennis lessons for 2 weeks.  While Zach was in tennis lessons, Drew, Jake, and I sometimes ran errands and sometimes played at the park.  The park is right next to the interstate and there's a pedestrian bridge that goes over the interstate and a pedestrian tunnel that goes parallel to it, so those were two of Jake and Drew's favorite things to do during tennis lessons.  There was also a big hill leading up to the street/ped. bridge, very nice for rolling down, and some big trees to play around in/on.

We went to the library pretty much every Tuesday this summer.  The boys all participated in the summer reading program.  Zach was a reading fiend this summer, sometimes reading multiple hours in one day.  Drew did story time and Jake and I did toddler time.  I love this picture of Jake and Zach reading while we waited for Drew to finish with story time.

 We hit the pool quite a bit, especially during the 2 straight weeks of lessons.  My friend Katie's son had lessons at the same time as Zach and Drew, and we all usually hung out for a while after the lessons were done.  Zach and Katie's daughter, Caroline, who is 18 months old, were best buds.  Zach would get out of the big pool to play in the little pool with Caroline, and once while we were at Katie's house, Caroline went over and plopped down on Zach's lap while they watched a show.  Too bad Zach doesn't have a little sister to love on! ;-)

The biggest thing we did in July was take a trip to Colorado.  That will be it's own post.

Right after we returned from Colorado, we decided it was time (well past time, really) to say good-bye to Jake's binkies for good.  He had already had a pacifier much, much longer than Zach and Drew, who had to give it up at 13-14 months, and we were worried about how it would go.  But one night, when Grandma Linda and Grandpa Curt had asked to take the 2 big boys to the state fair, Mike and I decided we'd make it a special even to take Jake to Build-a-Bear and we'd put the binkies in whatever animal he picked out.  The boys and I had been talking this up for a while, so Jake wasn't blind-sided or anything.  And he handled it like a champ.  No tears, no big deal, really.  He picked a dog that he named Brownie and put his binkies right in (first picture).  He went right to sleep that night and hasn't had any trouble or asked for his pacifiers since.  He's not even particularly that attached to Brownie.  Now, if we took away his blanket, he might have a hard time, but we have no plans to do that until he does it on his own.

Unfortunately, the day after we ditched the binkies, Jake got an ear infection.  I felt pretty bad that he couldn't have one of his main sources of comfort, but he didn't even ask for it, so it must not have been on his mind much.  Thankfully the amoxicillan worked quickly and we were still able to cross one more thing off our bucket list on our last weekend before school started- a trip to the Omaha Zoo.  The Omaha Zoo is pretty amazing, and we had a good day.  It was the Saturday before school started, though, and it was packed.  Walking outside was fine, but walking inside any buildings was a nightmare.  I do not do well sitting in traffic, and that is exactly what it was like, minus the car.  But, we had a great time and 2 of the 3 boys slept on the way home, which was good.

As we got 5 minutes from home, Zach decided he just couldn't wait any more, so we had to pull over on the side of the road.

Jake thought that was kinda cool, so he decided he'd better go, too. When a newly potty-trained 2 and a half year-old tells you he needs to potty, you don't take any chances.

We ended that fun day with homemade pizza and s'mores made on the grill.

The boys have also enjoyed playing in their new Jedi robes that Grandma Ruth made for them.

In addition to all these things, there were also playdates and sleepovers at Grandpa Kevin and Grandma Cynthia's, and a campout with Grandpa Kevin, and Drew participated in Safety City.  Whew, what a summer!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Zach Turned 8

Yesterday was August 8th, which means I'm only 2 months late in posting about Zach's birthday party on June 8th.  Better late than never, right?

Zach started his birthday with balloons in his room and then got to open his present from Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Dick.  He was (and continues to be) pretty excited about his new badminton set.  For some reason I can't get this picture centered.  

Zach also had his party on his actual birthday.  He chose to invite 4 friends- 2 boys and 2 girls.  I kinda wonder what year will be the year he decides he doesn't want to invite girls anymore.  I don't care one way or the other, really, I just think it's interesting that when given the opportunity to invite a small number of friends, he consistently picks a mix of boys and girls.  Anyway, Zach picked 4 friends and we took them all to Incredible Pizza with us for some games.  Incredible Pizza is basically Chuck E. Cheese for an older crowd.  I had purchased a Groupon in May that we were able to use to get each child a game card, and we told them all that when the money on the card was spent, they were done.  I tried to explain that they'd have to consider how much each game cost, because some were more expensive than others, and that would affect how many games they played and tickets they earned.  Right away, all the kids except one opted to try out the new ropes course, which cost $7 or $8, and the kids only had $15 each to spend.  The one kid who didn't do it said he didn't because of its high cost, but I also think he was a little nervous about it.  Anyway, here's Zach's fried Cael on the course.

And Zach on the course.  Zach went much more slowly than the other 3 kids.  He was pretty clearly nervous.  It was kind of endearing.

Zach and one of the girls, who was waiting patiently for Zach to get going so she could continue.

Once the kids were about done spending their money, we let them pick out their prizes with the tickets they had earned.  Those were their party favors, which I felt totally fine with.  We had heard nothing but bad things about the pizza at Incredible Pizza, so we actually ordered pizza and had it delivered to our house.  It arrived right after we got home, and the kids ate and had cake.  We asked that kids not bring presents but instead bring school or toiletry supplies for the victims of the huge Oklahoma tornado.  The kids were all very generous with their donations.

Here is the birthday boy with his friends, Morgan, Cael, Zach, Allie, and ?? It's been 2 months- I can't remember one of the girl's names or which girl is which.  Oops.

Zach wanted a rainbow cake with chocolate frosting and candy on top.  The hardest part about this was Zach standing in the candy aisle trying to decide which candy we should use.  

The day after Zach's birthday, he and Mike got to play in a father-son golf tournament at the club.  Mike didn't do great research before the tournament, though, so he didn't realize that it was 18 full holes and that the youngest age-group was, like 11-12 year-olds.  Mike and Zach played with Mike's buddy Erik and his son Quinn, who just turned 8 in July.  Everybody had fun, and I think the highlight for everyone except Erik was when Quinn got an M&M stuck up his nose.  I wish I could have been there for that, because it sounds pretty hilarious.

After the golf tournament, all of Zach's in-town grandparents and Aunt Katherine came over (Uncle Sam was out of town for basic training) for dessert (this time a giant chocolate chip cookie) and presents.  Because of the golf tournament's timing, we had the boys showered and in pajamas before everyone came over.

Another birthday, another photo of Zach squinting at his candles because they are too bright for his eyes.  What's he going to do when he's, like 20??  We should have special birthday sunglasses for him, maybe.

I can't believe he's 8 already!  It seems like he's making the move from little kid to big kid.  Too fast, way too fast.