Thursday, October 16, 2014

Since Last Time...

I haven't done so well with my once a week or once a month posting.  Surprise, surprise, huh?

One big thing that's happened is that school started.  We've got a 4th grader, 1st grader, and preschooler on our hands now.  Crazy! It's nice to have about 2 hours to myself twice a week for the first time in 9 years.

This next picture cracks me up.  Upon first look, you might think Jake is mad he isn't starting school with his brothers (preschool started a couple weeks later).  However, he really was mad because he wanted to hold a sword in this picture and I wouldn't let him.

When I asked Jake what he wanted to be when he grows up, he first said a spy, but then he quickly changed his mind and told me the answer below.  Who can blame him??  I want to be her, too!

Mike took the boys to the first Hawkeye game of the season, which was Jake's first game ever.  They had good weather and the boys did great. 

This was Jake's face when he saw Herky come in on the Gator. 

Jake's excitement didn't last the whole game, though, as you can see by this video taken during the last Hawkeye touchdown. 

I got a great pic of them all before the game.  I really love this picture so much.

We also got new appliances in our kitchen, the first step towards a kitchen renovation.  Hopefully countertops and a backsplash will come at some point, but I have no idea when at this point.  Part of the reason we went ahead and got the appliances now is that our dishwasher, which was 11 years old, was not cleaning dishes very well anymore. And our fridge suddenly seemed too small.  I absolutely love the new fridge with more space and built-in water dispenser. But possibly the best thing is the new stove, which has a convection option for baking and an induction stove-top.  We went from it taking probably 10 minutes to boil a large pot of water for making spaghetti to it taking about 3 minutes to boil.  It boils water for the in about 90 seconds.  It's crazy fast and I highly recommend an induction-top stove if you're looking to get something new. 

I did a Crossfit competition one weekend in September.  It was pretty eye-opening and I wasn't real happy with how I did.   But I still had fun, so I guess that's what matters, right?? That's what I'm telling myself, anyway. These are some of the pictures from the competition.  I tend to look pretty stupid when I'm working out, so I'm only putting in the few I approve of, and even in these I know I'm giving my sisters some good material to poke fun at. 

In case you don't know about wall-balls, you have to squat below parallel and then throw this ball (mine was 10#) up to a 10 ft. target. I kept getting no-repped on this portion, meaning my judge would not count a rep because she said I wasn't squatting low enough.  I did not agree with her and was not very happy.  I don't know why it looks like I'm closing my eyes. 

Finally, along with school starting, the biggest thing that happened recently is we got a new dog.  Ginger is a 15 month-old English Cream Golden Retriever.  We got her from her breeder, who was going to use Ginger to breed, but Ginger has a very mild form of retinal dysplasia, which does not affect her sight at all, but isn't something a responsible breeder would want to pass along to future litters.  She is a very calm dog 90% of the time, but she is still young, so every now and then she gets a crazy burst of energy and gets a little wild.  She is so very sweet and loving and wonderful.  We all have really enjoyed having a young dog in the family.  I still think about Foudy many times a day and miss her like crazy, but Ginger has been a great addition to our family.

This was when the boys first met Ginger.  Mike and I had already met her.

Ginger was pretty nervous for our 2 hour car-ride home when we adopted her.  Jake wasn't thrilled with this part.

Here is when Ginger and Maggie met.  Maggie has adapted really well to having Ginger around.  Ginger wants to play with Mags, but has learned that Maggie just can't really play.  We take them on walks together at times, but Maggie can only go a block or two, so usually we do that and drop Maggie off and then take Ginger on a longer walk.

Ginger's breeder wanted some updates on how Ginger was doing, so this was one selfie Ginger and I took and sent to her (the breeder) in those first few days.

We had to buy Ginger a bigger crate (Foudy's wasn't nearly big enough for her), so we got this one and got her a pad for it.  I should have known after we came home and found her this way one day that soon...

we would find her this way.  No more pad in that kennel!

Ginger loves to snuggle, and most of us are always ready and willing to oblige.  Here she is getting in on some dog-pile snuggles.

Zach is in heaven and has been really helpful since we got Ginger.  It's not uncommon for me to have Zach take Ginger on a quick 2 block jog/walk in the morning before he heads to school.  It helps me feel less guilty on mornings when Jake and I will be gone a lot.

Maggie gets more tolerant by the day, which is wonderful,

but she also likes to exert her dominance by taking toys from Ginger.  The interesting part is that Ginger is much stronger and about a thousand times more steady on her feet (poor Mags), but after a few seconds of tug-of-war, she always lets go and lets Maggie have the toy.  We're just happy to see Maggie interested in Ginger at all.

Mike worries that Ginger doesn't want to snuggle him enough.  I think she sees him as the alpha and feels much more submissive around him.  But this picture proves she does cuddle him at times.

She's "comfortable" wearing Halloween decorations.

Ginger's Breeder was having a photo contest for all their former dogs for their 2015 calendar.  This is the picture I took of Ginger that I submitted.  Sadly, it did not win.

A couple of action shots out in the yard.

It's amazing the things Ginger notices!  She loves to look at her reflection in the fireplace and in doors.  She likes to catch leaves that are blowing in the wind, but she doesn't care about bubbles (darn). She notices things on the TV and watches them.  These are all things Maggie and Foudy have never noticed or cared about, at least not that I can remember. 

Until today, Ginger has loved spending time in the backyard.  She quickly learned where the perimeter of our yard is, so she knows where she can go and where she can't.  She normally loves to go out, patrol the outside edge of the yard, and then she settles in and watches.  What she sees, I have no idea, but she does a lot of sitting and watching.  It really reminds me of my dog Ginger from when I was a kid and how she would sit and watch squirrels all day.  Today, however, Ginger went outside, and the next thing I knew, she was barking in a nervous kind of way.  I looked out to see her at the base of the deck, looking up toward the back of the house.  I went out to see what was spooking her, and all I could see in the clear blue sky was an airplane flying over our house, very high up (she has previously noticed low-flying airplanes coming in for landing and was interested but not freaked out), with it's white jet stream flowing behind it.  From our angle, it sort of looked like it was coming out of our roof, and I believe that's what freaked Ginger out.  She immediately came inside and would not leave my side.  She was shaking and whining.  The rest of the afternoon she stuck close to me and when she did go outside, she stuck really close to me.  If I didn't go out with her, she didn't linger out there long.  She definitely didn't patrol the yard and sit and look.  Just now I let her out for her last time for the night, and at first she stepped out onto the deck and just stopped, then turned around to come back in.  So I went out with her, and she went out into the yard, looking back up toward the roof a couple of times, and staying right by me.  After she pottied she quickly headed back to the door.  Poor girl- who knew a dog could get so freaked out by an airplane way high up in the sky?  

Another photo I love.  All my blondies smiling together. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Summer Fun

We did some hiking at Ledges State Park to start the summer off.

We had baby robins on our playground.  That was really cool to see.  I was very sad the day they suddenly weren't there anymore.

We went to the pool a fair amount, though not as much as in past summers because it just wasn't as warm.  Drew conquered his fear of both the slide and the diving board, which was really exciting!

Zach's cannonball!

Drew gets brave!
 Jake went from not wanting to put his face in the water or jump in without holding someone's hands to this video, which was taken at the end of June at one of his swim lessons.

By mid-August, he was doing this.

Becky, Cam, and Myles came to visit.  We did some fun stuff here in Des Moines and went up to Minneapolis for a few days and had fun with Sandy, Will, and Anders, including checking out huge cottonwood trees along the Mississippi, canoeing, silly cousin stuff, and even a nap here and there (though not many).

Can they all reach each other? Nope

Will, Myles, Drew, Anders, and Becky

Drew and Anders

Boat change- Sandy, Anders, Jake, and Drew

Jake and Drew getting creative with their sleeping.

Zach (9), Cam (8), Drew (6), Anders (5), Myles (4), Jake (3)

Silly cousins!

Zach turned 9, and we had his birthday party at a rock climbing place.

Zach (left) and Cam on one rock wall.

We had a bit of a cake malfunction, but it turned out okay, and the Z inside stayed intact.

The boys worked on school stuff (reading, writing, and math), even though they didn't want to.

We got together with our college friends the Supples and Archers for the Heart Walk, and the dads and kids played some football.

Charlie, Jake, Zach, and Drew with some superheroes.

Drew and Jake with Sportacus.

The former Wartburg IM flag football champs teaching the next generation how it's done.

Jake and Mike had a golf date while Zach and Drew went to Adventureland with Grandma Linda and Grandpa Curt.  Jake lasted a whole 9 holes, which is pretty good considering I usually get bored around hole #7.

Mike and I had a fun night out after one of his golf tournaments with some couple friends.  Here are the ladies of the group.

Molly, Sonja, me, Katie, and Kim at CCI.

We had soooooo much rain (like 6 inches in a day) and our sump pump experienced a hiccup, so for the second time in 15 months our basement flooded.  This time we had to get new carpet, so we decided to leave our mark on our concrete basement floor before the new carpet went in.

We tried to hike at Ledges State Park again, but it was flooded and the trails we wanted to do were underwater.

Mike and I squeezed some couples golf in here and there, thanks to grandparents that were willing to hang with the boys so we could go play.

Zach and Drew went to VBS.  Jake and I went for the morning skit and songs portion, and then we'd go back early for the rock concert type ending to each day.  Jake can't wait to go to VBS next year!

Sometimes Jake had some of his own props with him at VBS.

Lots of reading took place.   Drew's reading significantly improved, and Zach read more hours than I can count. 

Drew reads one of Jake's favorite Elephant and Piggie books to him.

I competed in my first ever Crossfit competition, a friendly, small, local one called "The Battle of the Boxes."  It was really fun...

Doing some cleans.
until one of the times I jumped over this wall and landed on that sandbag I had just thrown over the wall, which resulted in...

Jumping the wall was kinda fun.

a fat and ugly sprained ankle.  That made the middle part of the summer no fun at all, as walking was hard, I couldn't wear regular shoes, and rest was my new thing instead of exercise.

Zach and Drew competed in a golf tournament.  Drew got first place, but he was one of 3 kids in his age group and he won by 1 stroke or something.

Making Dad proud with their golf skills. 

We went to Colorado, and Zach went to camp.  He was super excited and not really nervous to be on his own for a week.

Excited for camp.

Myles and Jake got some good cousin time while we were there, as did Anders and Drew, who spent the week with Grandma and Grandpa.

Fun at Confluence Park.

Selfie time!

Cam and I went to pick Zach up at camp at the end of the week.

Zach and Cam at Rainbow Trail.

Of course we went to Beau Jo's for some delicious pizza.

Grandma and Grandpa with their 6 grandsons.

Mike, the boys, and I checked one more item off our summer bucket list by going and biking the High Trestle Trail.  It was pretty cool.

And that was pretty much summer around here!