Crisp Autumn Eve 3 Column from TCBOTB

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Underwater World & Nickelodeon-land @ MOA

First off let me start out saying that the soup I talked about in one of my previous posts (my Dad and Terri's Bean/Ham/Chorizo soup) .... it was FANTASTIC. Turns out, after making it, that it is much easier to make than I was expecting.... and SO utterly delicious. Definitely plan on making that one again. And more recently I even made my mom's pumpkin bars (something I haven't had since I was about 7) ... and though I undercooked them a bit and had to throw away the middle of the entire pan.... they are delicious too. Even the kids keep asking about having more.
Let's see ... where to start. Last week was MEA which meant no school for the kiddos on Thursday... so I packed them up and after school on Tuesday we met Daddy at McDonalds for some lunch and to let the kiddos play in the big play gym they have there (they had a blast). After that, we headed down to the twin cities to go to Gma Chris's for the rest of the week/weekend. While we were there uncle Dennis and his friend, Danielle, came out to visit us.... I got Dennis to do a much needed coloring on my hair (it had been a year) .... and I got to get out for lunch with a few of my old coworkers (JayT, Linda and Shonna). It was so great to see that crew again and I was looking forward to seeing a lot of other familiar faces as we dined in the cafeteria there, but the place was like a dead zone.... I only saw a few people I knew from my old "LB/Thrivent" days. We'll definitely have to plan another one of those up soon. Then Thursday afternoon I left and went back up to Brainerd to spend a "child-free" night with Chris. We went out for dinner and a few drinks, came back to a very quiet house and popped a bottle of wine and I schooled his ars in "Scene It: Movie Edition." It was like old times. Then we got up the next morning (tried to sleep in - that just didn't pan out) and took our time getting ready and packed up ourselves and Angus and headed back down to Gma Chris's. Got there and the boys were begging to go outside so we took them to a local park (Lions) to get some fresh air and burn off some steam. Wait til you see those pictures... lots of fun ones, but specifically the picture of my "fear-less" son, MacKay, who just HAS to try everything, even though it is not for his age group. He actually scaled this big climbing thing and got so high he was towering a foot or two above Chris who was spotting him. I swear that child will give me a heart attack ... my palms were sweating watching him do that the entire time. Then Chris and I went out for yet another dinner at one of my favorite places.... Bennihana. MMMMM. I forgot how great that place was. We were SO stuffed - totally didn't need the sushi appetizer we got, but HEY, I don't get a lot of chances to eat sushi so I had to nab that one.
The highlight of that weekend was getting up Saturday morning and heading to the MOA to meet Gma Bonnie and Gpa Dean to take the kiddos to Underwater World.... or Underwater Adventure Aquarium... whatever they are calling it now. (btw, soon it will be changing names yet again to Minnesota Sea Life.... come on, it will always just be Underwater World). The kids LOVED Underwater World. And just when they thought they had seen it all we hit the shark exhibit ..... they had been talking about seeing sharks for days leading up to that and they were in awe. At one point MacKay even said "Get me DOWN" when Gma Chris was holding him to to get closer to this HUGE shark that was looming overhead. They had so much fun pointing at things and naming them ... even Evie was getting a kick out of it. The highlight in there was the saw fish .... there was even one perched over the walkway arch on the exit out of the shark exhibit that was neat to just walk under. After that it was onto the jellyfish exhibit and that was quite amazing. They kept running from tube to tube (where all the different jellyfish were) pointing them out. They also liked the different varieties of sea horses ..... at one point MacKay was pointing at them saying "Look, they are stuck to the grass" (referring to how they wrap their tails around underwater foliage). How cute. I was even more amazed when MacKay stood at an aquarium full of coral and different plants etc.... and kept saying over and over again "Look Mommy, isss a sea 'enemy". Just the day before I was reading them a book that asked him to find a clown fish (which he also pointed out at the aquarium) behind a sea anemone .... and he REMEMBERED that from that ONE time talking about it in that book and was able to point it out in the aquarium. They are such little sponges now. Then we went out to the area where you can touch different things in the wading pool .... the key is that you can TOUCH them.... not man handle them (like MacKay did). Oscar had been apprehensively building up the courage to touch a star fish that a woman working there was holding in front of him to check out.... and up comes MacKay who leans in and totally disses the starfish the lady was holding right in front of his nose and spied one past Oscar that was attached to the rock wall there..... he paid no attention to the one she held out and reached right across Oscar and snatched up (with no hesitation) that bigger starfish and held it out for all of us to see all excited he had nabbed this starfish for himself. unnnghhh. He's something else, I tell ya.
After all the fun at Underwater World we decided to hit Legoland (which we quickly found was under construction) and Nickelodeon-land (or whatever it is called) for some rides. I initially just thought a couple rides ..... and then Gpa Dean came back with 35 pts worth of tickets - good ole Gpa Dean. So the boys rode the Semi-Trucks, Diego's Looping School Bus, the "Whip It" cars (or so I like to call them cuz they really whip you around those corners), and all three kids got to ride the carousel with their grandparents by their side - which actually ended up being Evie's first ride ever. It was getting late so we had some lunch at The Cantina and then headed back home to crash after a fun filled day at the MOA.
Some updates on the boys ..... they are saying some of the funniest things lately. Oscar constantly follows up his comments with "...isn't it?" (ie... that's funny, Mommy... isn't it?). He's also started talking about his feelings more... telling me when he, or a character we are watching or reading about is sad or angry etc. He's completely obsessed with his new Bulldozer book (came in a pack of 6 Tonka truck related books) .... which made for a good bday gift idea for Gma Bonnie and Gpa Dean. He wants to help with everything .... mostly when it comes to cooking or doing things in the kitchen. Now they both HAVE to fill their own sippy cups with water and ice from the dispenser in our fridge. And they are always wanting to clip themselves into their car seats by themselves... so far all they can get is the chest clip and I have to do the crotch one ... but I give it another month and they will be strapping themselves in and out all by themselves. "I want to do it MYSELF" is a common phrase around this house lately. MacKay ALWAYS says it as he is getting out of the car as he wants to crawl out by himself AND shut the door (which makes me nervous for his little fingers ... so far so good though). He still wants to learn more and more about dinosaurs ... and I'm even amazed at the facts he already knows. Just the other day he cracked me up .... Oscar had stolen a toy from Evie and made her cry, so I had taken it back and pulled Oscar aside... held his hands and got his attention and started to talk to him about how we don't TAKE things, we can ASK for them but cannot take them. At that point Evie came walking over with the toy offering it up to Oscar and I used that as an example and pointed out how Evie will almost ALWAYS give them whatever they want if they ASK NICELY ... and how here she was, giving it to him cuz she knew he wanted it. Again reiterating we DO NOT TAKE. All of a sudden MacKay comes barreling over and squirms his way between Oscar and myself saying over and over again "He's my buh-dee ..... he's my buh-dee" (buddy). I didn't realize what he was really saying or doing (I thought he was coming over wanting a hug from me) and then MacKay said, "Don't touch him, Mommy. Don't talk to Oscar. He's my buddy..... MY buddy." MacKay totally had Oscar's back and was protecting him from his horrible mom who was trying to teach him a valuable lesson. Cracks me up. MacKay also has a new Tonka obsession (related to the Tonka books) and that is the Crane .... he even knows about all the different kinds of cranes and what they are used for - again, this sparked a good idea for a bday gift for Gma Bonnie and Gpa Dean who were more that happy to go pick one up. I can't wait to see his face when he sees it (and Oscar with his bulldozer). And I have to mention... as the boys are quite proud of themselves (as am I) - but the boys took their first shower last night. They were wavering back and forth about if they wanted to jump in the shower while I was in there earlier on the day, and when I finally got out they were so upset as they wanted to go in the shower. So when Chris got home he found out the good news that he was going to be taking the kids into the shower that night as they wanted to take a shower so badly. And they loved it ... went so much slicker than bathing. I gave Evie a bath in the ole sink (had been a while since we'd done that - she made a complete mess splashing all over the place) while Chris took them in the shower. They talked about the water falling down and loved playing in it... and how they washed themselves. What big boys they are becoming. They still are both doing quite well in school ..... with each day I see them doing better and better at following direction and paying attention - makes me so proud. This Thursday they have their school pictures (yep, those LifeTouch ones you get in public schools) AND they get to dress in their Halloween costumes. Don't know how well thought out that was as they put school pictures and Halloween costumes together... and even worse, on the day where the parents aren't there (drop off day). So Gma Chris is coming up (was coming up this weekend for the boys' birthday anyway) and will take Evie to her Thursday class so I can help out the teachers with all the costumes and school pictures .... which made the other parents happy to know someone would be there to make sure their kid didn't have a milk mustache or food all over their faces :)
Evie .... our little princess .... she's definitely got that princess complex. Doesn't help that Daddy gives into her on everything (that's going to stop soon right?) :) But no, she sure has attitude lately. She can hold her own with the boys too and always wants to join in their rough play and wrestling ... but knows how to TRY get her way with her temper tantrums. She's really trying to talk more too - uses so much inflection and points at things like she is talking about them and asking questions. Lots of "this" and "that." She knows to say "Ow" "Ouch" or "Whoa" when she falls down or hurts herself. She's also like her brother in that she has NO fear ..... she's become quite the climber lately. Just the other day I found her on top of Angus's wire kennel.. she had used our sub-woofer to get up there. She's constantly climbing up on bins and tables and couches .... and the few falls she's taken haven't really deterred her going forward. Even at the park.... the suspension bridge that the boys were tentative to go across at first (then it was back and forth and back and forth the rest of the time there).... she just blazed right onto it, chest out, chin up, arms flailing around. She almost even teetered off the side one time cuz she is just SO overly sure of her own footing and was just running across back and forth. I think we left shortly after she found that suspension bridge cuz none of us could handle her running back and forth with such gusto and wild abandon. Just a little ball of energy. Maybe it would help if I just limited her food intake... cuz I swear she eats more than the boys lately. Anytime we make something it is a crap shoot on whether or not the boys will eat it.... but with Evie, she eats EVERYTHING, and is quite passionate about it .... flailing her arms around and squealing if you don't pile it into her mouth fast enough.
Well... this week is going to be a busy one for us with all the Halloween events and the boys THIRD birthday coming up. Thursday we are taking the boys Trick or Treating at Cub .....then Friday we are taking them to the Halloween Carnival at the YMCA. Saturday we're taking them to a local water park for a romp in the pool (and maybe even down one of the slides if they are up for it - MacKay definitely will be) with some family and friends. And then just a quaint little birthday dinner and cake later on that night. I cannot believe they are already three... where has the time gone? Better yet... three and not potty trained... :) We're definitely going to be starting that up once all this Halloween/Birthday excitement is over ..... and bribery (toys) will be used this time around. As well as pull-ups/diapers OVER the underwear ..... more so for my sanity than anything else.
Well, just wanted to get a quick post in to share all the fun we had last week and the big load of pictures .... seeing as there will probably be a ton more after Halloween and the boys' birthday. So enjoy.....
The boys watching a movie with their Uncle Dennis

Silly Evie hanging out at Gma Chris's new play table she brought out for the kids

Oscar on the naughty chair at Gma Chris's ... bored staring into the corner so looking up into the loft.

Fun at Lions Park in Coon Rapids
MacKay my little climber .... this is NOTHING compared to what you will see down further in this post


Evie trying to crawl up the tube slide and perching (can't sit) on a park toy

The boys trying to work together to work the back-hoe digger


Oscar getting ready to enjoy a ride on one of the many slides

UNNNGHH. MacKay..... MacKay.... MacKay - going to be the death of me. (Note: I could barely take these pictures as my hands were sweating so badly watching him)


The boys on the grip slide ..... MacKay with looks of sheer terror (tho he kept wanting to go back for more) and Oscar full of smiles.

The kiddos on the suspension bridge .... the boys a little apprehensive (Oscar being urged against his will here) and Evie who just barreled right on through.

UNDERWATER ADVENTURE AQUARIUM (aka Underwater World) - 10/23/10
The kiddos pointing out all sorts of things with Gma Chris, Gma Bonnie, Gpa Dean and Daddy

One of our favorites.... the saw fish

MacKay with his "sea 'enemy," and Oscar and Evie checking out the jelly fish

Oscar and MacKay catching a ride on Gpa Dean and Daddy's shoulders

Miscellaneous: Evie up close and personal against the glass checking out the fish, the intriguing jellyfish ... and silly Daddy donning a shark hat from the gift shop.

Oscar and MacKay checking out the starfish in the petting pool ..... picture with MacKay was just seconds before he reached past Oscar for the starfish he had his eyes on.

Our family photo at Underwater Adventure Aquarium..... worth the $8+ ???? :)

The boys pretty excited to ride on the Semi Trucks
Walking with Gma Bonnie and Gpa Dean - checking out all the rides (pretty interested in all the rollercoasters overhead)

The kiddos on the carousel with their grandparents. Poor Evie (who I think eventually enjoyed it), had a tear going down her face as she was getting freaked out waiting for the ride to start, but didn't want to cry for Gpa Dean.

The boys (and Daddy) on Diego's Looping Bus ride

The boys took Mommy and Gma Bonnie for a wild ride on the cars .... I heard Oscar was giggling the entire time, yet MacKay kept telling me to "Stop It" when I would squeal after going around the corners .... :)

Finally back home at Gma Chris's to unwind: Oscar wanting me to take a picture of his fish tatoo on his arm, MacKay being silly... and Evie loving being all girly in her Matilda Jane dress and ruffled leggings.

Check back after next weekend when the boys will enter into THREE-dom .... will probably have a bunch more pictures and news to share. 'Til then....