Monday, February 11, 2013

Christmas 2012

Two days before we were supposed to head to Colorado for Christmas, we got hit with a big storm.  I can't remember at this time how much snow we got, but school got canceled here and travel was not advised on all the roads and interstates.  Actually, I guess the storm occurred Wednesday night, and our plan was to leave Friday morning.  We got up with the intent to leave home around 7:00 a.m., but travel was still not advised, so we waited around a while.  Finally we decided to either had to just go for it or make the decision to wait until the next day, so we went for it.  It was slow-going; I think we went about 35 on the interstate for the first couple of hours.  From our house to Lincoln, which is about 200 miles (I think), we counted over 80 cars in the ditch, including one seriously totaled semi-truck.  The normally 10 hour drive took us about 12 hours.  Once we got to about the middle of Nebraska, we were able to go the speed limit without concern.  Oh, and we got rear-ended somewhere in Omaha, but there was no damage, thank goodness.  We also had one stressful moment (or more like 20 stressful minutes) where Mike missed the exit to Julesburg, the eastern most town in Colorado before a LONG stretch of nothing, and we were really in need of gas.  We anxiously watched our estimated miles left until empty gauge, comparing it to the mileage signs until Sterling, which we knew was the next chance for a gas station.  The green mileage sign would say 26 miles, and our gauge would say 27.  Mileage sign 15; our gauge 16.  Then the last one was dead on; both at 8 miles or something.  As we pulled off the interstate our car said it had 0 miles left until empty.  Thankfully, we made it to the gas station without anybody having to get out and walk.  Good thing, because we'd already been in the car 11 hours and had at least an hour to go.   

For some reason I can't get this picture I took in our car to center.  DTE = Distance 'Til Empty.

It was a very long day, but the kids actually did really well.  We did let them watch more movies than normal.  About the last 45 minutes or so, Jake was really done being in the car, and I couldn't blame him.  Here he is at an earlier point in the day, getting ready for a nap, I think.  Unfortunately, it was a short nap.

We were all so happy to arrive at Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Dick's house.  I can't really remember what happened next, because it was 6 or so weeks ago.  Oh!  Becky and I met up early the next morning to run a 10k (6.1 miles) in City Park.  It was chilly, but not bad weather.  I could definitely tell I wasn't used to the altitude, but I still felt happy with my race.  We went from the race to meet the family at a parade in Golden, and then we all went out for a delicious lunch at the Spaghetti Factory.   However, first we stopped by the Railroad Museum to see if we'd be able to ride the Christmas train.  The place was packed, so we decided to skip it, but not before Jake got it firmly planted in his head that we were going to ride a train.  He just could not let that idea go.  That night, Drew and Zach got to spend the night at Myles and Cam's house, and Mike and I had a holiday party to go to with some of my high school friends, so Grandma and Grandpa got some special time with their youngest grandson.  They took Jake to the nearby mall and he got to ride on a train and a carousel, and he still talks about riding the train with Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Dick.

This is a picture I took as the boys were walking into the Spaghetti Factory.  I like how they're all holding hands and the city is the backdrop.

On Sunday, Mike and I got to go to our first Jewish brit chayim, or baby naming ceremony, for our friends' Ana and Keith's baby girl Gabriela.  It was very interesting and similar to a baptism.  It was a small ceremony, and we were so honored to be invited.  Isn't Gabriela just a doll??

Sunday night we all went out to the Botanical Center to walk around and look at the amazing Christmas lights display.  It was gorgeous, but COLD!

On Monday, since Becky and Tom both had to work, Cam and Myles came to spend the day with us.  Mike and I felt like we just had to get out of the house, so we took the boys bowling.  It was fun and interesting.  I like this picture best because of the look Myles is giving me.  Not thrilled to be having his picture taken, I guess!

There was definitely lots of drumming happening on Grandpa's drum set throughout the visit.

That was Christmas Eve, so that night Becky and Tom came over and we all went to church at my parents' church.  Here are the hilarious before church photos.  I wish Anders was in the photo; I am sure he would have added some extra hilarity, though I'm not sure anyone could top Myles and his faces.  It's especially funny when I look at them in iPhoto and quickly scroll through them, because then  I see Myles' face in sort of a stop-animation effect.

Here is Becky, Tom, Cam, and Myles before church.

A quick photo of the 2 youngest cousins.

The best family photo we got.

Church was good, and I was thankful for the shorter service compared to what I'm used to at our church.  We took up a whole aisle, which was kinda funny, and pretty much had the only kids in the entire service.

Here are some pictures from Christmas morning.

This is while we were doing FaceTime with Sandy, Will, and Anders.  It was tough because the kids were noisy and the wifi seemed spotty, so there were some technical issues.  And it was hard for us all to be together without Sandy, Will, and Anders.

After a delicious steak dinner grilled by Tom, we celebrated Jesus's birthday with the birthday cake I had made.  We let the boys decide the details about the cake, and they picked a rainbow cake (on the inside) with a manger for the decoration.  The rainbow part was no problem, but I really wasn't sure how I was going to do the manger.  And once Drew asked for a camel, I knew there was no way I could do that.  I didn't have my normal cake-decorating tools or a lot of time (it was Christmas Eve, for Pete's sake), so this was about as good as it was going to get.

The boys patiently waiting for their cake...

In this picture, if you enlarge it, you can kinda see the fun colors inside the cake.

By this point in the evening, everyone was wiped out.  The kids were exhausted, whiny, and short-tempered, and the parents and grandparents pretty much were, too.  There was a hilarious moment, though, when Cam stabbed his entire piece of cake with his fork and held it up for Grandpa, and then, of course, the entire piece fell on the floor.  Cam, as you can imagine, wasn't happy.  And neither was Becky.  So later, when Cam was still whining about it and Becky told him to "drop it," I seized the moment with a "He already did" joke that I thought was pretty clever.  Thankfully Becky saw the humor in it, too.

Anyway,  we had to head back home on the 26th, so it wasn't a very long trip.  It was busy and fun and crazy and wonderful, though.  And, lucky for us, the drive home was only about 9.5 hours long.  Somehow Jake was sick of the car about 45 minutes before we got home again.  I don't know how he lasted so long on the way out to Colorado.

I'm one post closer to being caught up!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Drew's Christmas Program

Just before Christmas Drew had his preschool music program.  The program included all of the 3 year-old classes (3 classes of 12 kids each, I think, or maybe 4 classes) and both of the pre-k classes (which is what Drew is is) of 16 4/5 year-olds each.  

Drew is towards the bottom right of this picture in the green sweater.  His best buddy Clay, who is not in his class this year but was last year, is the other little guy in green on the lefthand side of the picture.  Clay's grandma is actually Drew's teacher this year.

This shot shows some of the kids.  The little guy in the red, black, and gray argyle sweater in the front is the son of a friend of ours.  He is in one of the 3 year-old classes and seems to be really enjoying his time on stage.

This is Drew right after he noticed us in the audience, I think.  He was excited to see Mike, Jake, me, Aunt Katherine, and Grandpa Kevin there waving at him.

These next two pictures kind of make me laugh, because Drew and his friend Dustin, who is next to him in the white argyle sweater vest, seem to really be into the song.  Drew told us they call Dustin "Dustin the Ghost," but he didn't really seem to have an explanation as to why.

It's hard to tell who is more into this song- Drew or Dustin the Ghost.

I think this must be We Wish You a Merry Christmas, which has a big hand motion and a lot of emphasis on the wish part.

Here is Drew with his "girlfriend" and other best friend Carly.  He still doesn't know that he and Carly won't be at the same school next year, and I'm not sure how he's going to take that when he figures it out.

As always, it was a cute program, and we loved watching Drew and all the cute kiddos sing!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Jake's Second Birthday

Here are some pictures from Jake's second birthday party, which was held a few days late (one day before my own birthday) because I was traveling on his actual birthday.

Jake really enjoyed opening his presents this year.

What do you get the third of 3 boys whose birthday is 2 weeks before Christmas?  Since we figured we had enough toys already, Mike and I decided to get Jake his own real putter.  He was definitely excited about it, and wanted to head downstairs to the putting green to practice right away.  In fact, it took A LOT of convincing to get Jake to come back upstairs for cake.  He must be his father's kid!

Jake decided he wanted an Elmo cake for his second birthday.  Amazingly, I have never done an Elmo cake before.  I didn't want to do the entire cake in red frosting, and I found this great YouTube video that showed an alternate way to do cakes that allowed me to just do Elmo's face on a regular 9x13 cake.  It worked very well and I was happy with how it turned out.  Jake was thrilled with it and still talks about it, so I'd consider it a success.

Really, though, can somebody please explain how we went so quickly from this

to this????

Is it possible that 2 years have already flown by??  My little guy is so big now.  I just can't believe it.

In fact, at his doctor's appointment (which was about a month after his birthday, due to a big winter storm and the holidays) we found out that Jake is 26 lbs 6 oz. (Drew was the same weight at 2 years; Zach was 4 oz. more), which is just the 27th percentile for weight.  That is the highest percentile he's been in since 4 months, though, so I guess that's good.  He also is 36 inches tall, which puts him in the 82nd percentile for height.  That is 2 whole inches taller than Zach was at 2 and one inch taller than Drew was, and it means that Jake grew 3 inches in 7 months!  Maybe we will have one tall kid afterall.

As far as what Jake is doing these days, hmmm, that's hard to say.  He talks all the time, knows some of his colors (green, blue, brown, sometimes red, though usually he calls it blue), a few numbers and letters (but can't actually count beyond 3 or clearly say the entire alphabet from start to finish), loves Mickey Mouse, the Avengers, sports, and whatever his brothers are playing with.  Usually when you ask Jake how old he is, he either happily replies with either "Three!" or "Nine!"  I'm not sure where he got those two ideas in his head, but it's especially funny when he tells random strangers that he's nine.

Jake is also still quite opinionated.  He gets mad at Drew most often, and probably me a close second (it's probably no coincidence that he spends most of his time with Drew and me), and can often be heard saying, "Bad Drew!" or "Bad Mommy!" although yesterday he did say, "Mommy, you awesome."  That makes up for him calling me bad, or, like he did today, telling me, "I not yike you, Mommy!" (Thank you, Drew, for teaching him that one.)

Jake has also gotten the hang of time-outs on the steps and no longer needs to sit on the barstool (where I used to put him because he couldn't get down).  He sits there for his 2 minutes and usually apologizes for his crimes upon my return.  He probably deserves more time-outs than his brothers ever got at this age, because it seems like he is often hitting, pushing, pinching, or doing something to Drew (seriously, I have only seen him go after Zach a couple of times, whereas Drew is a couple of times every hour, it seems), but Drew usually deserves it, so I admit that I sometimes admit I saw nothing and just let the two of them work it out.  Drew and Jake also play together really nicely a lot of the time, honestly.  Sometimes Drew is a great helper with Jake for things like washing hands before meals and entertaining him so I can prepare meals.

Speaking of meals, Jake is a pretty good eater, though sometimes he just doesn't feel like eating whatever I've given him, and for some reason, Zach and Drew encouraging him to take a bite before the monster comes seems to get him eating.  Am I the monster?  I'm not really sure.  His favorite foods are frozen blueberries and pomegranate seeds, and he loves toast with peanut butter.  For some reason at the table he likes to lounge back in his chair or push away from the table, and he often complains that his knees hurt, even though they don't even touch the underside of the table.  It's kind of his go-to complaint, just like Drew used to always complain (and still does sometimes) about his seatbelt being too tight.  It's gotten better, but it used to be pretty much every meal we'd hear, "Knees hurt, knees hurt."

Jake still is a great napper and often asks to take his nap right after lunch.  He never fights it, which is nice.  He still uses his binky and wants his blanket for sleeping, though he recently switched to wanting me to lay out his blanket on his sheet so he can put his head on it.  That is funny to me because I used to make my parents fold my blanket and put it on my pillow so the pillow wouldn't make my head itch. I figure we'll move him to a big boy bed this summer and get rid of the binky either then or by his third birthday.

We also aren't really tackling potty-training yet, though he does think wearing underwear (or underpants, as he calls them) is pretty neat.  He still poops on the potty 98% of the time rather than in his diaper, but he is much better about telling me that he needs to poop than he is about telling anyone else.  Which, works out pretty well for me, because it means I pretty much never have to change a poopy diaper.  I think I could work with him on potty training, but I think it might still be a lot of work at this point, and I just don't really feel like dealing with it.  I kinda figure in the next couple of months we'll tackle it, as my goal is to be diaper-free (except at night, I guess) by summertime.

I got totally sidetracked in a way that seems to happen a lot when I blog.  Mike is always griping at me about not writing down enough stuff about Jake (despite my arguments that at least Jake has something, anything, written about him at all, because as I've said before, my mom once told me that "third children don't usually get baby books, blog posts, or new clothes." Okay, maybe that's not an exact quote, but pretty close.), so I want to make sure I get some stuff written before we forget everything.

Back to the birthday party- Jake got to sit by Uncle Sam for cake.  We are pretty lucky to have all of Mike's family so close by and able to to celebrate the boys' birthdays with us.

And that was it.  A wonderful second birthday for my littlest boy.  And I got this post done just in time to prepare for Drew's birthday in a month.  I have a lot more to post before then!