It's been a while since the last post - MAN, do I have a TON of pictures to post this time too. Trying to think of all that has gone on since my last post. Where to start...
The house... our big project. Getting close to being finished, but still lots to do. A couple weeks ago we had our cement (colored and stamped) walkways poured - they look FANTASTIC. The black top drive way is going in this coming Tuesday after Memorial Day - YAY. Cannot wait!!! Our yard has been cleaned out (tress cut, stumps pulled out, land graded) and is ready for landscaping, but they aren't able to start on that portion until June 7th or so. At that point they will do all the landscaping (shrubs, trees, rock beds and mulch), then put down a couple inches of black dirt, put in the underground sprinkling system and then we finally get to see. We also got our detached garage changed over so there is a single garage door in the front (vs double on the side like we used to use it before we had the attached garage) and resided... so now all it needs is a new coat of paint to match the house and that should be done. A lot changing in the next month or so - like I promised, once it is done will take some pictures so y'all can see the major transformation it all went through.
Let's start with updates on the kiddos...... I'll start with Evie as she has changed the most. I cannot believe all that she has done in the last month or so. It's like she took a big pause a while back in growing up .... and then BAM she just reached milestone after milestone with each passing day. She now pulls up on EVERYTHING and scales furniture walking along things. She also uses her walking push toy and will walk behind it - not totally sturdy yet as I don't think she really trusts it, but she's doing it. I think walking is a while off though. She's got a total of 3 teeth (2 bottom, one top)..... but I see three more budding up on top so we should have a few more to report on soon. Our little princess also seems to be weaning herself from formula/the bottle as well - it's like wrestling a greased up pig trying to hold her down for a bottle. She just doesn't want it anymore other than that first one of the day when she must be really hungry - though she totally loves her solid/puree foods. We've even started her on some finger/table foods - fresh pears, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, muffins, french fries, potatoes (mashed and roasted), cooked carrots and even meatloaf. It's like she knows she's progressing with this cuz she gets SO excited when we offer this stuff to her. She's also very good at independent play though she hates being left alone or being left out so she is constantly following us all around. I will leave the room shortly to do a diaper change on the boys down the hall, and next thing I know she is coming around the corner all proud with this look on her face like "Found Ya!" She likes being around the boys SOOOOO much, you can tell she totally adores and looks up to them.... I just wish the feeling was mutual. It breaks my heart a lot of the time, but those little boys aren't especially liking Evie's new found freedom in mobility. Most of the time they enjoy her, making her laugh, giving her things, helping her.... but there just are those times where you can tell their world has been turned upside down having her around. She now gets into "their" things, and they are NOT liking it. We're trying to nip it in the bud very quickly so they stop this as they are very quick to push her away or grab things away from her. We're trying to explain they need to be gentle.... but it is going to take some time as this is all very new to them as well. Before they only had to share with each other. And it seems like everything she does just gets at their last nerve (and therefore they get at mine too)..... while the boys are eating at the table Evie wants to join in and will pull up on their chairs and that about sends them into outer space "Move Evie.... Move Evie". She's not even bothering them or touching them but for some reason it just pushes the limit with them. So I'm trying to change schedules around so she is eating at the EXACT same time as them so we avoid this situation as much as possible... but again, they need to learn to live with this, she's only going to get more and more mobile and sturdy. :) See.... I told you there was a lot changing with her.
The boys..... pretty much the same, though they are still learning so much daily. They just soak it all in. They will spout out words or phrases that I have NO idea where they got them from cuz I don't remember saying them or pointing those items out. They love going out for walks in our new triple stroller (thanks to Gma Chris who bought this as a way for me to get out of the house with all three). Still not taking naps, but I have to say there is a benefit... they go STRAIGHT to bed every night. No more running around or staying up - they are konked out within minutes. So that part is nice... once all the kiddos go to bed around 8:30pm every night we can actually relax and spend some time together. We usually try to work in some down time in the afternoon though which usually ends up being a movie - sometimes coloring or reading books though too. And WOW are they independent now. They have to do EVERYTHING for themselves. They want to shut this, open that, get up, get down.... all by themselves, NO help from us. Every once in a while someone (even one of us who should know better) will help them down from their chairs after dinner and they will have a royal fit and crawl back up and then get back down by themselves - it's pretty humorous most of the time. And along with that, they want to help with SO much. They help me match socks when I do laundry, swiffer the floors daily (DANG Angus is shedding SO much right now), dusting, putting things in the dishwasher, opening and closing the fridge and other doors for me... and they especially love to help us unload groceries and such from shopping trips. Hilarious to watch them carry a big box of diapers down the hall by themselves - they just don't give up easily. Now if I could just get them interested in potty training.....
Specifically I need to mention MacKay lately though. WOW .... he's been a challenge. And I think it is largely due to some behaviors I/we need to change as well. He's started talking back to us and throwing mini tantrums as well. No matter how we tell him to stop doing something, whether it be stern voices or even soft friendly voices but stating to basically stop something (ie "Oh honey, please get down. I don't want you to fall" etc) he will react the same way and point at you or hold his hand up (like stop) and say angrily "Stop It, Honey" or something of the like. I should also note, he calls everyone "Honey" lately. :) I was initially ignoring it, hoping it was yet another passing phase. But I put my foot down and realized something needed to be done when he one day told me to "Shut Up" on two different occasions. On the first occasion I wasn't quite sure he had actually said that, tho my mom and I were pretty sure. So I just said "We don't say that, that isn't nice". Looking back, I have NEVER said that to my children.... but unfortunately we do say it to Angus when he incessantly barks (usually when people pull in the drive way). Wasn't realizing the boys were paying that much attention. oooops. So later on that day he said it again during dinner and when I asked him what he just said he said it again to me so I quickly took him and put him in his room and told it "How sad, that was a mean thing to say, you stay in your room until you can be nice" (something I am learning from Love and Logic - GREAT series).... all the while he kept saying "No Mommy, I needa eat... I needa eat" :). When he settled down and came back out I gave him a hug and just said "Please don't say that, isn't nice". Amazingly though about 5 minutes later he looked at me and said "MacKay was in room". And I told him yes and asked him if he knew why he was in there. Shockingly he said "I say Shut Up". So it was nice to see him learning what is okay, and what isn't. We still are dealing with the tempers, the "Stop It" comments, and more importantly the aggressiveness they both sometimes show to Evie.... but it taught us a VERY good lesson that we need to be watching ourselves even more than we were before. It's gonna be a long road if this isn't a passing phase, but I am bound and determined to curb these behaviors cuz they are both such nice and loving little boys, that is easy to see. But in the comfort of our home they sometimes seem to think THEY run the house. :)
Gotta mention this quickly too before we move onto the pictures ..... we took the boys to the Como Zoo on Friday May 21st. Turned out to be a perfect day too as it was very overcast (no need for sunblock), and a bit cooler than they had called for - which meant us having to scramble and buy a couple of sweatshirts at the Como Gift Shop as I hadn't brought anything other than shorts and tshirts due to the forecast. We started out the whole event by driving down the night before and stopping at Bonnie and Dean's to have dinner and drop Evie off with them for the night, then drove down to my mom's in time to put the boys to bed and get ready for the next day. Woke up early and got the boys breakfast and pretty much headed out right after that to get there when it would open (10am). The place was literally a zoo when we got there with about 20 bus loads of kids on field trips etc but got a really good parking spot near the entrance but also right across from the park we could go picnic at for lunch. Will have to remember that place again for next time. After we got them their new Como Zoo hoodie sweatshirts we headed out to see all the animals. You could tell they were SO overwhelmed, they wouldn't even talk and just seemed stunned. But they warmed up quickly and enjoyed taking in seeing all these animals they have seen in books and on TV. They liked being held up so they could see better but then quickly wanted to be back in the stroller which I found shocking - again, I think they were overwhelmed at the amount of people around and felt safer in the stroller for the first part of it all. After we saw all there was to see (we were bummed as the polar bears weren't there yet - we were a week early, the bird exhibit was closed, the giraffe wouldn't come out of it's building, the butterfly tent wasn't open yet etc) we went to Como Town to see if they would like the rides - which they did of course. They rode the cars (the green car was the highlight as Oscar had seen it on commercials for Como Town and talked about it often), the horse and buggy ride, the train ride (twice)... and we even got MacKay on the Frog Hopper. It was hilarious to see his reaction on that. He was dying in fits of laughter watching the big kids on the bigger version of the ride, so we decided to give it a try.... he had no fear loading himself up onto it and going for a ride. He squealed with enjoyment the ENTIRE time - it was a hoot. Then we had a picnic out in the park which they did surprisingly well at too and then hit the zoo and park again for a little bit longer before heading out. Although not before we took the boys on the carousel. This was the highlight of the trip as they were grinning from ear to ear the entire time. I stood next to MacKay on his horse, and my mom was with Oscar. I just remember asking MacKay "Are you having fun?" and he would always answer with such delight "Yes... YES!" All in all we spent just over 4 hours there which seemed to be perfect. Thought the boys would fall asleep on the car ride home to drop Gma Chris off and get our things packed back up... but I think they were on such a high from the either day that they just couldn't manage to close their eyes and miss out on anything. Dropped off Gma Chris and took off for Annandale to have dinner yet again with Dean and Bonnie (Oscar grabbed a VERY quick cat nap on the way to their house at least - no dozing off for MacKay though). Had some pizza and hung out.... got the kiddos in their PJs and headed back up to Brainerd right about bedtime thinking they would sleep on the way home - proven wrong again as Evie was the only one who fell asleep. I think MacKay might have nodded off for a few winks right before we got home... but luckily we walked right in and put them all to bed and never heard a peep. So a very long and stressful 36+ hours for mom and dad..... but it seemed to pay off cuz all of our kiddos had a blast - even Evie with Gma Bonnie and Gpa Dean.
Okay Okay Okay..... I know this one was long winded, but here are all the pictures. (again, my apologies as I couldn't bring myself to whittle down the batch any more than this).
Evie donning her new hat from Gpa Gary and Gma Terri from Santa Fe ... and just some cute pics of her on her riding toy wearing a SUPER adorable hand me down top from my friend Nicki Flesner.
Oscar just HAS to help me swiffer daily .... funny enough the boys argue about it. Oscar says it is a broom and MacKay calls it a mop - I guess they sorta are both right. And MacKay with his bud, Angus - poor Angus, he tolerates so much from these boys. Lastly a very rare moment catching both together, in close proximity, in a picture where they are both happy or not fighting.
More of Evie: sporting a cute pair of PJs from my mom's friends Marcia Sharp (Seemann) and Barb Martin. Evie making out with our patio door... :) And a picture of a common scene in our house - the boys trying to eat and Evie just needing to be a part of it - again wearing Nicki's hand me down shirt - which Daddy said looked a little risque without a shirt underneath, too much skin for Daddy (the future is going to be a rough road for him I think) :)
Trying to get the boys to smile for the camera. Obviously Oscar cooperated (although not before giving his standard eyes tight shut and every tooth in his mouth showing - what he thinks smiling is).... but MacKay kept telling me to "Go away", though I was able to snap one quick picture where he wasn't scowling.
Another moment caught with the boys hanging out together - probably watching a movie with dinosaurs in it (they totally zone on dinosaurs)... and Mr. Cool wearing a pair of my sunglasses.
Evie in a cute outfit Gma Chris got her (prior to her birth) that Gma has been dying to see her in... and just a funny moment where MacKay and Evie are playing the piano together.
LOVE this picture of 3 out of 4 of my children (Angus included) are staring out the window watching Daddy cut the grass quick before we left for the whole zoo extravaganza.
Evie playing with grass at Gma Bonnie and Gpa Dean's .... this is the cutest outfit, again one from Gma Chris's friends Marcia and Barb.
MacKay and his beloved horsie tire swing at Gma Bonnie's and Gpa Dean's. This is something they got recently that is a major hit. Oscar isn't daring enough to get on it (it IS pretty high up off the ground) but MacKay LOVES this thing.
And here is MY proud moment, as hopefully the future mother to soccer players. :) They both loved playing with the soccer ball...... and MacKay was a kickin' machine.
Lastly, Grandpa Dean with Evie... and sitting with Oscar and Evie on the front stoop. (Love how "matchy matchy" Oscar and his buppa are).
COMO ZOO 5/21/2010
Daddy with MacKay, and Gma Chris with Oscar.... watching the seals swim around. And Daddy trying to help MacKay see a very tiny part of the giraffe who was hiding in the building and wouldn't come out to play.
The car ride and the horse and buggy ride ....and Daddy leading two very bummed boys out of a ride they had just finished.
MacKay and Oscar's first train ride (can't wait til they ride Thomas later this summer). Note: MacKay often enjoyed waving back at us.
Our picnic .... Oscar and Daddy sharing a special moment laughing over some sandwiches. ... and MacKay sharing a special moment with his sugar cookie (that he wore traces of for the remainder of the day) :)
Oscar and MacKay on a bronze turtle - MacKay wasn't all about the "posing" for the camera stuff - so not the greatest picture of him. But Oscar loved this turtle.
Ooohhhh - what a hoot. MacKay on the Frog Hopper. We told him to hold onto the bar and instead he put his arms up in the air like he was a professional amusement park rider. :) We tried to get Oscar on. After watching MacKay it looked like he wanted to do it, but as soon as we sat him on the ride he scooted right off and wanted nothing to do with it.
MacKay and Oscar's 2nd ride on the train.... this time in a car where it was a little easier to photograph them. They were laughing almost the entire time (tho can't see in photos) at the older teens in the caboose behind them. Not sure what was going on, but they were having fun.
Back at home with all the kiddos in the bath together which was a first... as well as it being Evie's first time in the big bath tub. Thankfully the boys were well behaved while she was in there as usually their baths entail dumping water over each others' heads.
My newest prized possession.... my triple jogging stroller, compliments of my wonderful mother who recognized this as the ONLY way I could get out of the house and get some exercise. I love it - it glides so easilly. Gonna put some miles on this baby.
Wow - this might be my biggest, longest, wordiest post EVER huh? Check back again soon for more. Take care