Well it definitely is summer time .... chaotic over planned weekends, running all over the state of MN for events, trying to get all outside activity done before and after peak sun hours... etc. I shouldn't complain though as I know in mid January I will be dreaming of this time of year again. Lately we've been able to get quite a bit of usage of our triple stroller (and lots of looks and comments from onlookers). I try to take the kiddos out most morning for a nice long walk and then to go play at the park at the end of our block. And most nights (weather permitting) we try to get all of us out for a quick walk after dinner and before getting the kids ready for bed. You'd think with that amount of exercise and starting my diet that I would be losing weight like crazy, but not so. Just waiting for the results to show - trying to be patient :) But it is so nice to have that ability to get out of the house often like that, before having that wonderful stroller (thanks Mom) I was pretty confined to the house with the kiddos. They really seem to enjoy our walks too. Evie just babbles the entire time and tries to play with her brothers (who usually bat her away).... and the boys always look forward to that point in our evening walk where we take them out and let them walk part of the way home. At first it was a struggle to get them to comprehend that they had to stay on the side of the road...but they get it now and often stop in their tracks when they see cars coming. They enjoy being on the lookout for oncoming cars too and making sure we know they are coming (even if from about a half mile away) :) Now we just need to work on getting them on the same pace.... it's the same almost every time, Oscar jets ahead (with Daddy and Angus) and I am left lagging behind with our little lolly gagger, MacKay who wants to take his own sweet time and drag his feet. But like I said - just happy to be getting out of the house regularly.
Last week/weekend we were up at Island Lake just north of Duluth - Gpa Gary and Gma Terri's summer lake home. We were there from Wednesday - Sunday and had SUCH a nice relaxing visit. Gpa and Gma are quite active and like to take nice long walks 1-2 times a day so we joined in on a lot of those and got lots of fresh air, including Angus who I think pooped himself out after quite a few of them. The lake water was down about 5 feet from where it usually is (dam controlled) which barely made it past the end of my dad's dock, so we didn't get to swim in the lake... but Gma and Gpa got a pool for the kiddos to play in so we got some use out of that. Gpa also had a load of sand hauled in for his beach area (for the boys to play in) and was going to grade it out before we got there, but thankfully thought better and figured that the boys would LOVE playing on and climbing around in this huge pile of sand.... which they thoroughly enjoyed (MANY pictures). They got incredibly dirty (like little boys should) every time they got near it, and then we would just rinse them off in the pool before eventually going in and giving them a quick bath - they were just filthy every day :) Especially considering the first 2-3 days we were up there were very windy... poor guys would get sand in their faces and in their eyes every time a gust would blow the sand right in their faces - but they never let that get them down and just kept at it. The wind was also nice for when we brought out the bubbles - they didn't even have to work to blow or anything... just hold the wand up in the air and bubbles galore - man was that a hit. They had so much fun with those bubbles and trying to barrage Gpa with them... they were chasing him around with the bubble gun we had trying to get him and had a blast. They exhausted themselves EVERY day having fun ... and when it was time for bed they conked out quickly in the double bed that they shared - we just put a bed gate on one side and they loved sleeping together. I would check on them in the night and they usually were all cuddled up together - quite cute.
Evie just had a blast showing off her walking prowess. She tried to walk every chance she got... and when she would fall she would quickly crawl to her destination or to the nearest thing she could pull herself up on to start walking again. And by now... she is truly what I would call a walker... buzzing around the house on her two chubby little legs as much as she can. She also enjoyed doing a lot of babbling.... now is saying Da Da and Mom quite clearly, and even knows who we are. When we ask her to say those names she always looks in the direction of that person. Evie really took a shining to Gma Terri as well ..... many times reaching out for her to pick her up or out of another person's arms (even mine - sniff sniff) :) She especially loved being outside on the deck and scooting around on there.... mainly in the direction of the deck stairs every time she got loose from us. And man did she love the wind blowing on her and through her hair ... she would just squeal when it would blow and get the most hilarious smiles on her face. Even caught a few on film.
During our stay we got to visit with tons of family too. Many of my Duluth relatives (which is pretty much my entire family) hadn't seen the boys since they were little babies and had never met Evie at this point. Thursday morning my uncle Denny (my mom's brother) came out to visit for a few hours. And amazingly Evie went right to him and let him hold her right when he walked in the door - not typical for Evie as she is so leery of men. But she really liked Denny - what's not to like huh? He had a fun time watching the boys with their mound of sand and playing in their pool... I think maybe he was getting a bit of an image of what life was going to be like for him in about 2 years as he recently became a Gpa last September - my cousin Shannon had a little boy named Cameron. And we're excited to head back up there in mid September to meet him when they come back for a visit from AZ where they live - he'll be back for his 1st birthday. Then on Friday morning we went over to my Gma and Gpa Kamp's (Bev and George) for a visit. Was so great to see them as it has been far too long since we were last together. My aunt Sherry also showed up as she wasn't going to be able to make it later that weekend - she also has a set of twins, though hers have graduated high school. She's my inspiration - if she can survive, so can I. :) Evie took a bit to warm up when we got there, but eventually was scooting around their place and feeling right at home... as were the boys as they spent almost the entire visit making themselves comfortable in my Gpa's HoverRound chair. They even turned it on a couple times which could have been interesting if we hadn't caught them doing it each time. And I think it thoroughly entertained my Gpa when the boys took pride in helping to push him in his wheelchair to the dining room for lunch when we were leaving. Such little helpers they are. Lastly, on Saturday afternoon/evening my dad had a "open house" for the rest of the family to come over and visit and see the kids. My aunts and uncles were there (Greg & Claudia, Dan & Muffett, and Jon and Lisa), and my cousins Sarah, Becky (and her daughter Lexi), and Samantha (and her daughter Addison). Was sooo great to see all of them again - they are such a fun bunch to hang out with. Muffett and Claudia were especially getting a kick out of the boys and their little personalities... or as I call them, attitudes. They were in prime form for everyone and we had a fantastic time.
Now we're back and getting back into our routines... had our last ECFE class for the summer session for the boys. ECFE Plus (twice a week) starts in mid/late September so we have about a month and a half before that starts up. Though there might be a chance that I might be going back to work in the near future as well... and if the kiddos end up going to daycare while I am working, then we might forgo ECFE as they will get enough socialization and "preschool" material there. It would just be part time (2+ days a week) to get my feet back in the door, get out of the house and among adults a bit, and make some extra money. I'll know more later once all of it irons out.
New things with the kids..... well I already mentioned Evie walking. She's quite the walking machine lately, just waddling all over the house. And she can go for very long distances now and stand for long periods. She really has a handle on her balance for the most part... really only falling when she trips over something or gets a little over excited and isn't concentrating on her footwork. She's pretty stable on those chubby little legs. And in the last week she's been standing up in the middle of the room (nothing to pull up on) and walking. She's gotten so good at it that just tonight she was did it a ton of times out on the driveway while we were playing outside. And apparently the other night, Chris informed me that she can crawl up on the couch/furniture. GREAT. Luckily this hasn't really caught on with her... though she does like to climb on the boys toddler beds in the mornings while I am getting everyone changed and ready for the day.... jumping up an down on them while holding onto the head rail... unnnngh. Her new thing is to give kisses (into the air) when we tell her we love her - she's associated the two. She's very busy now too... into everything, blazing all over the house, making messes everywhere she hits - constantly on the move. The boys are still their little chatter box selves... cracking me up all day long. I made some bars the other day (Toffee Bars, my favorite) and since then all MacKay wants to eat is bars. "What do you want for lunch?" MacKay: "I need a bar". At one time our best eater... he has now become quite picky and only wants treats and sweets. Even with pizza (which he would shovel in) he picks off a few things and won't eat the rest. Another funny... just the other day Angus started barking wildly at the window (a regular occurrence every time a car simply drives down our street), and Oscar ran to the window and said "Who's here? No one is here... Angus. Be quiet." And most recently..... we were at the park the other day after a walk and I was super hot so I took my shirt off to cool down. Oscar came over to me and poked me in the side (waist area), pointing at my stretch marks and said "Mommy, you got scratched?"... very concerned like. I giggled and agreed that they were scratches... and the next thing I know I feel his lips on my skin... he was kissing my stretch marks (scratches) as if they were an owie. Sweet... but yet so embarrassing :) Oscar is especially vocal lately. He so wants to join the conversations and be a part of everything, so I think he tries a lot harder to start and be involved in conversations. It's quite entertaining. MacKay lately has been a little spit fire too..... some mornings he just wakes in a fowl mood and just is intolerable to deal with. He screams and throws tantrums for hours.... and then the next thing you know it is afternoon and he is just a little angel and in the best of moods. It takes every ounces of my sanity and patience when he is like that .... he even did it up at Gpa Gary's one morning. Gpa was just in awe.... but he pulled through eventually and became his fun, humorous, fun loving little self after a few hours of completely wearing us out. :) Hoping this is a phase..... please be a phase.
Well that is about it for updates. Have a ton of pictures to share from our visit up north.... and will have even more in the next coming weeks as 1.) Evie will be turning ONE soon (still can't believe it) 2.) We're taking the boys to "A Day Out With Thomas [the Train]" - it should be a hit & 3.) there is a huge Hoglund Family Reunion coming up. So enjoy the barrage of pictures... and come back again soon for yet some more.
Just a ton of pictures of the boys and their big pile of sand Gpa Gary brought in for his beach. They kept themselves very busy on this thing and got completely filthy. Afterwards we stripped them down and put them in the pool to get most of it off before giving them a thorough bath.
Our visit with Great Gma Bev and Gpa George Kamp - the boys had fun on his HoverRound chair, and Gma got to hold Evie a few times when she waddled over to her. Lastly.... a very tuckered out Oscar who fell asleep on the floor watching cartoons right before dinner one day.
BUBBLE TIME: Just a barrage of fun pictures (just couldn't pare them down any further than this) of the boys trying to pummel Gpa Gary with as many as they could (hence the pictures of them running)
MacKay and Oscar helping Gpa Gary water his trees .... or more like, Gpa Gary trying to find something constructive for them to do with the hose they insisted upon using. And just a fun picture I caught of MacKay running down the pathway to the lake.
Evie: another barrage of pictures, this time of Evie... hanging out on the deck and enjoying the wind in her hair. And inside playing with her brothers and the much coveted flashlight (what a great toy). Note: the last picture is of her doing "So big" but was reluctant to let go of the flashlight for fear her brothers would take it.
Lastly, a couple pictures from the 'open house" with the Kamp side of the family. The boys playing with their cousins Sarah and Lexi (pictured)..... and my cousin Samantha and her little princess Addison (1.5 yrs) - LOVE those curls.
Come back again soon...... one year "cake in the face" pictures of Evie, and the boys with Thomas the Train. Can't wait.