Crisp Autumn Eve 3 Column from TCBOTB

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Big Boy Beds, Sledding and Bouncers...

Well a lot has been going on at the Hoglund household since last post. Chris found out quickly after his NV trip that he passed the Nevada licensure test. YAY. Gma Chris came up Vday weekend to help take care of the kids so Chris and I could get out for some dinner (and drinks out with friends) and even an afternoon movie too. I can't remember the last time Chris and I went to a movie together - I think it might have been Iron Man - and THAT was a long time ago. :) And I have been taking a photography class - one that goes over how to use your camera on manual mode (vs auto) and composition etc. It's very interesting and I am learning a lot, so much so that I shot over 600 photos last weekend while we were visiting Gma Bonnie and Gpa Dean. Was just playing around with it... and they have SUCH great natural light coming into their house that it made it really easy to get some fantastic photos of the kids which I am very excited to share below. .... now the bummer of it all. Right after we got back my camera broke and was showing an error that basically meant I needed to send it in for repairs.... so I now I am without a camera for about TWO WEEKS. I feel naked... I use that camera so much, I don't even know what to do with myself. Not to mention, sorta hard to take a photography class without a camera... but luckily there is one other woman in class that has a camera similar to mine (what are the odds.. she is a mother to twin boys as well - 3 yrs old) so I am just pairing up with her to keep learning. I also have found a new addiction.... Matilda Jane boutique clothing ( Unnghhh. I've got probably 10-20 pieces I've bought from trunk sales and eBay ranging from 18 months to size 6. Yes... size 6.. for a 6 year old. So if any of you know of a support group or detox facility for this... please let me know. :) Lastly, I am super excited as we just bought tickets to go to "A Day Out With Thomas" at the Tumbleweed Express ( in Lakeville. We bought tickets to go Saturday July 31st and I cannot WAIT to go now. The boys are going to FREAK OUT when they see him. They still are just so obsessed with Thomas and all his friends. We cannot watch a show/movie without them screaming out each character as they appear on the screen. And we're definitely going to plan a couple weekends to come down to go to the Como and MN Zoos as they are learning all the different animals and the sounds they make. They will get such a kick out of that. We've already mentioned it to the grandparents so we can work out both a.) who is going to stay back and watch Evie and more importantly, b.) who gets to come with for each of the trips to help out. It's going to be such a fun summer with how old they are getting and all the things they can do now. Evie too... she should be walking and mobile come summer... can't wait.
Onto Evie.... she is growing so much. Already in her 12 month clothes for the most part, and getting so much stronger. I swear I could stand her up at the couch (holding on) and she could balance herself for a bit before falling... she's just so sturdy lately. Rarely ever (if even ever) falls over unintentionally while sitting... her balance has gotten so good in the last month or so. And her little legs are ALWAYS moving and kicking... so we thought we might as well give her something to do with them, so we put away her swing (which we hadn't used for about a month) and brought up the boys' old Horsie Jumper. She seriously took about 15 seconds to figure the whole thing out and now is just a bouncing machine. And her hair is getting so much longer and thicker ... we've noticed it is very much like MacKay's in both shape (hair line and direction) and in coarseness. So on the positive side of it, MacKay's hair is VERY thick and grows like a weed so she should have enough for piggy/pony tails quickly..... but it is stick straight and very coarse as I mentioned. Last time we were at the doctor she weighed in a 16 lbs 6 oz... which is the 60+ percentile. Which is shocking as this little one eats like a bird.... for the life of me I cannot get her to get the recommended amount of formula in, especially now after starting solids... in fact she won't even take her last bottle of the night (right before bed)... but it doesn't seem to phase her as she still sleeps through the night very soundly. Goes to bed around 8:30 pm (sometimes earlier if she gets ornery) and wakes around 8 am the next morning. We were definitely blessed with good sleepers. But she seems to love the solids.. especially veggies. We've gone through all of them and are now on the Stage 2 foods (a little more fun as they mix flavors) and she cannot get enough of the veggies. Next weekend we have her 6 month (tho she will be more like 7 months) pictures with Trina Sutton from Luminous Prints ( And my good friend Heidi is gracious enough to lend me some cute hats and tutu/pettiskirts for the shoot...cannot wait to see how this turns out.
The boys.... man are they changing.. even DAILY. They learn so much now... little sponges. They now can count to 10 with some help (sometimes they need a little hint)... tho MacKay likes to skip a lot of numbers and goes 1...4...6..8. We're working on it though. They know a lot of colors and love to point them out on people's clothes, toys etc. They also are starting a new fetish with DINOSAURS. They love dinosaur programs (real and animated) and their little figurines they got for Valentines Day. They know, and more surprisingly can SAY, quite a few of them: TRex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Brachiosaurus, Velociraptor, Ankylosuarus, Allosaurus etc. It is just amazing. They mostly speak in 3-4 word sentences, sometimes even more and are generally pretty easy to understand now. They love ECFE class - I love watching them from the other room (when we separate) to see them participating in the songs and dancing the teachers do with them. I rarely can ever get them to do that - what gives? :) And just this last Friday, Shawna and I took our twins (hers are 1 year younger than the boys) and Evie to the Open Gym at the Franklin Arts Center up here. All the kids had a blast at it... it was just sheer chaos getting them all into the building though as there is no way to maneuver strollers as there are just too many sets of stairs. It was a fiasco getting them in and out, but I think it was well worth it for what they got out of it.
Like I mentioned before, last weekend we took the boys to Gma Bonnie and Gpa Dean's ... and did those boys have a blast there - WOW. They weren't showing signs of wanting to take a nap (they sorta nodded off on the way down that morning) so we got them all dudded up in their winter gear and brought them outside to play. Eventually the sled came out and it was all downhill (pardon the pun) from there.... as all they wanted to do was sled down the hill onto the lake. Dean and Bonnie have the PERFECT set up there, just a gradual slope right out onto the lake right outside their house. Perfect for their age... and I must mention, their first time sledding ever. From that point on it was "Dat FUN" and "AGAIN AGAIN AGAIN". They had a blast and I got to snap a ton of pictures that first day while Daddy and Gpa Dean did all the work hauling them up the hill and sending them down. That night they crashed when they went to bed - they were so tired out from such a fun day. The next day we did it all again, just Chris and I... so no more pictures, but man did we get a work out showing those boys a good time.
But the biggest news..... the boys are now in Toddler beds, or what we call "Big Boy Beds." I can say it was rough the first couple days. Initially I started it at nap time - thinking it would be better if I were awake for it all, vs overnight. But in hindsight, not so good as naps are not their strong suit. Many days they would (and still do) go without a nap and just play in there. But the first two days (of naps) were hard and involved me going in there every 5-10 minutes to put them back in bed. They would finally fall asleep about 10 minutes before nap time was over .... which didn't make for very relaxing "me time" - which is usually what nap time is for me. But we tried it overnight that 2nd day and they went right to bed, never left their beds. And it has been going pretty well ever since. Sure we have a bad day here or there (like last night when they stayed up until midnight and were CONSTANTLY getting out of their beds)... but it is going so much better than I had thought it was going to go. I was losing sleep planning for this... and here they transitioned pretty darn well, like they have with everything else. When am I going to learn to just go with the flow eh? I must note though... Oscar seems to really like sleeping with his head down at the foot of the bed. It is where I find him most mornings. And EVERY night/morning I have found MacKay on the floor. Most of the time it is in the middle of the night, ~4am when I get up to check on them. He will be on the floor wrapped up in his blanket. Once it was like he was kneeling on the floor and leaning over onto his bed.... and just this morning I had checked on them around 7am and was amazed that MacKay was still in his bed... but then came 8am when we woke them up and he was on the floor again :) And Daddy wanted to put them in bunk beds..... ;)
Well, onto the photos. There are a ton...... a lot of them taken with my new found knowledge of shooting on manual (with the help of my class). And then some taken with our back up camera (CoolPix) due to having to send our other one in. But all pretty good pictures capturing what is going on with the kids lately. Hope you enjoy.
Just a fun picture of Evie and her prized veggies - here she is enjoying her Squash, one of her favorites along with peas.

Don't know what the fascination is with our front hall closet but the boys LOVE going in there and hiding .. or worse, emptying it of all the shoes we have stacked in there.

The boys with their dinosaurs. They both love dinosaurs... but MacKay seems to be a bit more obsessed with them. Oscar's obsession lately has been with TrAAA-Kerrs (Tractors).

Some fun in the snow at our house. While Gma Chris was up, it was such nice weather so we got the kiddos outside for a romp in the snow while Daddy raked snow off the roof.

Oh boy.... even Evie is starting to like these Dinosaur things... :)

LOVE these PJs. Thank you Hillmann family (gift for the boys' 2nd birthday). And the boys love them too. Snapped quite a few very colorful pictures of them in these... and surprisingly even have a picture of all three of my kiddos together, thanks to Gma Chris who was getting them to do "If You're Happy And You Know It..." with them.

Evie hanging out in her crib with her bedtime toys..... she, like MacKay, loves her satiny blanket. If all else fails in getting her to go down for a nap, if we give her that she goes right to sleep.

And now ... the pictures I shot on manual setting at Gma Bonnie and Gpa Dean's
Some cute pictures of Evie wearing a super cute outfit from Gma Chris's good friend Sharon Oswalt.

MacKay and Oscar having fun in the snow.. (MacKay loved shovelling while Oscar was more interested in checking out Gpa Dean's "TrAAA-Ker" - his John Deere riding lawn mower)

TONS of pictures of the boys sledding ... note the big smiles on their faces. I wish we could do this EVERY day.

Just some more fun pictures of the boys .... (Note: the concerned look on Oscar's face is as a result of Gpa Dean firing up the lawn mower while Oscar was sitting on it... freaked him out pretty good. He distanced himself from his beloved "TrAAA-Ker" and stood there still staring at it from a safe distance with this concerned look on his face, talking about how it turned "On" and was "Loud")

Some more adorable pictures of Evie at Gma and Gpa's (the next day)... wearing her velvet Juicy Couture hoodie outfit that Gma and Gpa had gotten for her when she was born.. BTW - LOVE LOVE LOVE the last picture as it has fantastic composition to it (with Oscar in the background). Even my photographer/teacher from my class commented on it.

The boys coloring at Gma and Gpas, and the last of the photos I took on manual settings .... Oscar is more into pointing out the different markers/crayons and stating the colors, where as MacKay is our artistic one who LOVES to color.

This is the last picture I got to take on my Nikon D40x camera before having to send it in for service.... but was trying to capture MacKay and Oscar's antics during their naps in their big boy beds.

Just a super cute picture (with my Coolpix.... as all the rest on this post are) of the boys wearing their warm up suits that they got from the Vagts' boys/family. We were chasing each other from family room to the dining room and when they would get cornered like this they had the biggest goofy smiles on their faces... had to grab the camera. This is the kind of picture I need to look at when I am getting frustrated with their whining etc..... just to remind me what wonderful boys they are.

Some pictures of Evie in her Horsie Bouncer...

Lastly... some pictures to show how I commonly find the boys during their naps or in the morning when I go to wake them up .... Note Oscar at the foot of the bed and MacKay on the floor.

Well that is it for now. Hopefully will have my camera back reasonably soon to snap some more pictures. I learned more at this week's class and am anxious to try it out on my camera again. So check back again soon. Take care.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Evie is SIX MONTHS OLD .... wow how the time has flown

I cannot believe it .... my little girl is already six months old. Where has the time gone? And she has changed so much, even in the last few weeks. Sitting up, squealing constantly (likes playing with different noises she can make), complete interest in her hands (fingers together, fingers apart, fingers together.... etc), AND.... finally eating solids. I had put off starting solids until now cuz she wasn't really good at eating the recommended 24 oz daily .... always short of meeting that goal. But in the last months she was getting closer to it, sometimes meeting or surpassing it. And now that we've tried solids (rice cereal only so far), I feel bad for waiting cuz she LOVED IT. She has it down pat... opening her mouth for the spoon, swallowing (after playing with it in her mouth for a while), and giving you that look like "what are you waiting for, gimme more." The only challenge is getting the spoon in her mouth quick enough. She watches so intently as you spoon it out of the bowl, and the minute she sees that spoon coming toward her out of the bowl she opens up for you and quickly shuts it if you don't get it in there quickly.... a little impatient :) And she gasps and squeals the entire time almost like she is eating the most delicious thing she has ever had ... which is questionable considering all she has had is formula, breast milk and rice cereal. I guess out of the three the rice cereal must taste like what would be prime rib to us, in comparison, that is. Our first try was yesterday (Tues 2/2) for breakfast, and it went so well that we decided to just give her another meal of it for dinner as well. Now I can't wait to start the purees (veggies and fruits) with her - hopefully this next weekend. And I must say, I am loving this age with her now that she is sitting up and such .... she's almost outgrown the biggest size you can usually find for sleepers for babies.... so now we're onto OUTFITS, which she has so many of. I'm such a fan of sleepers until they can sit up or become mobile as they are so much easier to work with... but once they can sit up and do so much more I love starting in with the outfits - that's what I did with the boys too. So there will be a ton of cute pictures below of some very cute ones she's been sporting lately.
Well... last Saturday we got back from a visit in the cities (Gma Chris's) .... Chris (hubbie) was away in Reno, Nevada taking yet another test for being a licensed surveyor in that state - so let's all cross fingers that he passes this one and can move onto whatever state is next on the list. He should find out in a few weeks. We had an eventful week down there. Uncle Dennis came out to visit a couple times and MAN do the boys just take to him. They see pictures of him around my mom's house and excitedly point him out and call out his name. They hear a knock at the door and immediately assume and know it is "Den-NIS" and get all excited. He gets down to their level and plays dinosaur with them, roaring all over the place and chasing them around. So that was a ton of fun for them. Heidi Nygren and her kiddos (James and Avery) came over for a quick play date as well and it was great to see how big her kids are getting... her little James is just a mini version of Chuck (his dad) - which I had never fully noticed until this last encounter. And during our visit we took the boys out to get hair cuts AND new shoes. The hair cuts went okay. We went to the same place we went to last time (Kids Kuts), and like last time, Oscar was completely comfortable there and climbed right up on his big frog for his hair cut. Meanwhile, MacKay started sticking out his bottom lip the minute I crawled into the back of our suburban to unbuckle him from his car seat when we got there... it was like he REMEMBERED the place - go figure. So he had to be held the entire time.... even while getting his hair cut. So yet again, I got a cape put on me, and held MacKay who had a cape on as well, so that MacKay could get a simple hair cut. What polar opposites these guys are. Meanwhile Oscar is running around the place wanting to play with their hair dryers (he's obsessed with mine and digs it out if he is able to sneak into our room/bathroom) and pointing out all the different animals pictured on the walls. Now for the shoes... we went to Peterson's shoes in Anoka (GREAT selection for kids) and got the boys all measured up.... which again proved to me I need to get my kids new shoes far more often than I have been. They have both been running around in a pair of size 7 shoes (granted they ran a little big for 7s)... and both of my kids measured at an 8, Oscar even slightly bigger. Makes me feel like such a horrible parent when that happens (which has been twice now already). So we got the boys the cutest pair of Keene canvas shoes, in size NINE... yup, my 2+ yr olds are wearing size NINE shoes already. At least they have quite a bit of room for growth on these though. :) But they did so well at the store, admiring and tromping around in their new shoes. Oscar kept running off into their numerous store rooms... so it was a challenge keeping track of him. My mom couldn't help but laugh at what chaos it is to bring them out in public like this, even when they ARE being SO well behaved. Thank god she was there to help otherwise we would have never made it there.
Other than that, the boys have started a new ECFE class. They are now in the 2 year old room.... main differences from the 1 year old class is that 1.) expected to sit and listen during circle/reading time - we got an "F" on that one. No seriously, we aren't graded or anything, I gave us that grade. MacKay and Oscar are just so excited to get out of the house and play with new things that they cannot contain themselves and want to run around and check EVERYTHING out. We'll have to work on that... how I don't know, but it is quite embarrassing as every other child sits quietly in their parents' laps. :) 2.) expected to handle their own snack - meaning drinking out of real cups (not sippy with caps), and to clean up after themselves when snack is done. 3.) we are separated (adults and kids) during snack time. All in all (besides the sitting during circle/reading time) it went well. They both warmed up quickly to the others (teachers, kids, parents) when usually they are very timid the first couple sessions. They LOVE their new teacher, Jill - I had been told she is PHENOMENAL with kids this age. They did all their crafts that were laid out for them and played very nice with the other kids. And when it came time to separate for snack, they didn't seem to mind. Afterwards I heard that MacKay took it upon himself to pour his own milk (something he has never done) .... and while he got the aim right, he sorta over shot the goal and filled his glass and then some. The teacher, Jill, told me upon doing this both he and Oscar got VERY concerned and kept pointing "Mess, Mess, Mess". I have to laugh cuz one would think that they are learning that from us at home (like we are obsessive compulsive about messes), but that isn't the case .... THEY are showing SO many signs of being creatures of habit and SO OCD about so many things. They HAVE to have their own bib (different colors), their EXACT spot at the table, a certain book to use under their papers when coloring ... and it can't be anything but those exact items either. MacKay will stop in the middle of eating demanding we "clean hands" ... even though he is just going to get dirty again. If the tiniest bit of food or drink gets on the table..... "mess... Mess... MESS". And just the other day MacKay freaked out when I put his blueberries on his plate and they ran into his pizza ...... okay, now he gets that one from Gma Diane. :) (can't have her foods touching each other). Wow ..... I swear we didn't do this to our kids :)
OK OK... enough is enough. I have yet another big bunch of pictures to share.... so on with the show.
Alright, these are actually really old pictures, but I just stumbled onto them recently. I think they are from back in either summer or early fall... one of the trips that Gpa Gary and Gma Terri took to visit us in Brainerd - cuz lately we've tried to take one day/night and take the boys swimming at the pool at their hotel. I just love these little Body Glove outfits they wear each time (from Gpa Gary and Gma Terri too)... their little butts and legs look SO cute in them -- sick I know. But they look like little line backers. And they love swimming each time we go.... splashing around etc. Last time they loved jumping off the side to Chris and Gpa Gary - not something I was fond of them learning, but they had so much fun. And Oscar even floated on his own (with assistance from the floaties in his suit) on his back - he just chills out on his back and seems to be so mellowed out by floating on his back.

Evie playing in Gma Chris's Exersaucer (used to be the boys') and playing with Gma Chris's stackable Sesame Street cups. (Note: wearing a super cute outfit from Monica Nepote and family).

Evie wearing another adorable outfit from Gma Chris's good friend Sharon Oswalt ... styling with Calvin Klein and a cute little hoodie too. (and as usual, chewing on her Sophie the Giraffe).

Oscar and MacKay digging into what is now one of their favorite new snacks.... Handisnacks (cracker sticks and cheese)... and just a little picture of their new Keene sneakers.

Just a cute picture that got snapped of Evie rolling around in the sunlight shining in at Gma Chris's. She loves looking out the window and seeing bright light/things ...

Silly kids..... MacKay with his dinosaur puppet. Upon getting to Gma Chris's he b-lines it to the bin of all the puppets and digs this out.. and from that point on it rarely leaves his hand(s). And Evie goofing off while bouncing on Daddy's knee... again with another adorable hoodie outfit, from my friend Heidi Nygren. She had given me a bin full of gently used and even new clothes that her daughter was done with - this particular one still had the tags on it. Super cute as it has a big flower/daisy on one of her butt cheeks too.

Oscar entertaining Evie on the floor ... both the boys just love her up, but Oscar is really drawn to her and always trying to make her laugh and smile.

Unngh - I posted these on Facebook too and the boys are going to kill me when they get older for doing so... but these are just so cute, have to share them. I gave the boys one of Evie's old bottles (empty) so that they could feed "Baby Evie Doll" while I am feeding the REAL Evie. And they just love doing so.

Speaking of feeding Evie..... here it is, Evie's first solid meal.

K.. had to post these so you could compare to the pictures above of Evie. These are of the boys' first solid meal(s). I even dressed Evie in the same sleeper (lame I know) that they wore for their first solid meal - thought it would be funny for pictures. But wanted to put these out here as I think that the pictures of her look so much like a mix of the pictures of MacKay and Oscar. She truly is a melding of the two of them - tho still leaning toward MacKay. (Left = MacKay, Right = Oscar)

MacKay and Oscar wearing their Thomas the Train shirts from Gpa Gary and Gma Terri (came with whole outfit including pants and winter jackets that they love to wear) while watching one of their new favorite shows on PBS - Dinosaur Train. .... last one is MacKay stretching out to give Oscar a little hug.

Evie sitting up for her baths now .... love the poses she strikes for these. Should note, it is like a tidal wave hit our kitchen every time we give her a bath. She KICKS so much we are literally drenched when we are done. And she is SO amused with herself the entire time.

Lastly, just some neat retro pictures my brother, Dennis, took of the boys on his iPhone (polaroid app) of the boys while they were eating their applesauce.

Stay tuned... will have more to come.