Crisp Autumn Eve 3 Column from TCBOTB

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter 2011

Not much to update on as far as milestones with the kids and their development (other than Evie just learning more and more EVERY day)… but we’ve been quite busy all the same. We colored eggs for the first time with the kids this year…. And Evie’s reaction was enough to justify for me why we hadn’t done it in the past. She just really didn’t get the “careful” aspect of it and was like a bull in a china shop sitting around the table swatting and grabbing at things and bawling about not being able to do what she wanted. So unfortunately she had to be pulled back from the table and just watch as the four of us worked on the eggs… and even at that I am being generous as Chris and I had to do everything aside from stir the eggs around in the cups to rotate them…. The one job we were able to trust the boys with. BUT, our eggs turned out vibrant and colorful … Chris even wrote our names on some of them so they could see that show through when they pulled them out – our only mistake was putting one of those in the yellow which didn’t show enough contrast for the name (Evie) to show up… lesson learned for next year. Saturday we got up early and headed down to Annandale for an Easter Egg Hunt down there. The hunt was a bit of a misfire for the Hoglund family... ours specifically. Evie didn't want to have anything to do with it and stuck REAL close to Daddy. MacKay and Oscar definitely had their game faces on and were ready and willing to go into the ring and get themselves some treats ..... cousin Taylor was there giving them the pep talk and telling them what to do, giving them strategies, pointing out "gems" hidden in the grass. Oscar spied this green plastic egg out there and he was set to get that one... and stood a good chance as it was very close. But when the siren went off to start the chaos Oscar sort of froze and didn't know what to do... and seconds later when he regained his composure he turned around to see that little green egg being snatched up by another kid. The water works started and there was no turning back for him.. he was crushed and couldn't be coaxed into going out there to get all the candy that was out there for the grabbing. Meanwhile MacKay raked in a ton of goodies, even an orange egg that he redeamed for a coupon for a free kiddie treat at DQ. So MacKay had a blast and really got into it .... and while Evie and Oscar took more to the sidelines they were happy to get some Easter mylar balloons to play with back at the house. The kids had a blast seeing and playing with their cousins too: Taylor, Sophia, Jack and Stella. The kids wrangled in some gems in their Easter baskets: the boys got bug contraptions (bug houses, butterfly nets etc) and some new summer outfits, & Evie got a new dolly, tutu and flower/headband. All three of them conked out on the way home … which made for crabby kids for the rest of the night. We explained to them that the Easter bunny would come that night and hide all their eggs and bring them treats if they were good. We had to go in the boys’ room about 10+ times that night to get them to go to bed… they were jumping on their beds (something they NEVER do and know better on), climbing into bed with each other, playing with toys (again, something they never do usually)… etc. You name it, they were doing everything OTHER than falling asleep. I finally walked in there around 10:30pm with the phone in hand and told them that the Easter Bunny cannot stop by a house where the kids are still awake. And I asked them if they wanted me to call the Easter Bunny to tell him not to come as they were not sleeping… they begged and pleaded for me to NOT call the Easter Bunny. There were a lot of “Please”s and “Don’t”s …. I don’t know how long it took them to fall asleep, but from that moment on we didn’t hear another peep from that room. The next morning they awoke to their Easter baskets filled with books (saved up from earlier Scholastic book orders), candy, treats and a present for each. Evie got a stuffed bunny and the boys got two more Imaginext dinosaurs from their loot (big box from the Wilson family). They then ran around the house looking for their hidden plastic eggs. Evie’s were pink and purple, MacKay got blue and orange …. And surprise surprise, Oscar got GREEN and yellow. They actually did quite well at getting their own colors and understanding that concept… though when they would find one that wasn’t theirs they still picked it up and gave it to the right person vs just leaving it for them to find. Eventually we got them to just point it out for that person with some prodding… but all in all they had fun scrounging around for their eggs. They were all filled with money (bills and coins) and some candy… so we got out their piggy banks and they had a blast filling those up. Even Evie dove right into stowing away her cash without me needing to give her any direction on it. Later that afternoon, Gma Diane stopped in for a visit on her way back home. She had the kids’ cousin, Tyler, along as he had come up to go turkey hunting with the Hehirs…. So we had a nice visit with them and the kids got to put some more money into their piggy banks.

Evie is talking up a storm. Every day she comes out with new words… and not even ones we’ve tried to work on or point out for her. The other day we were reading a book and she pointed out a “tree” and a “house.” Didn’t even know she knew those but obviously is paying close attention when we read stories and talk with her. She knows window, door, floor, drawer, outside, car, bus etc and the names of almost every toy… so it makes it very easy for her to understand when we ask her to go get things or put certain things away – not to mention she knows WHERE each thing belongs and will put things in their place. She’s learning so many more animals too – she seems really interested in those and constantly brings books about animals to me asking “Whas dis?” to everything in there. She loves pointing out “be-bahs” [zebras] as that one is her new favorite, and is getting more and more of the sounds down… you should hear her imitation of a monkey with the “oooh oooh oohh ahhh ahh ahh.” She’s very good at it. And just the other day she was pointing out the window and yelling “Mouse.. Mouse… MOUSE!” at a squirrel out in the yard… and seeing as we have a TON of squirrel here, she’s constantly yelling out mouse mouse mouse while looking out the window. I think the cutest thing she is doing lately is her counting. I do a lot of counting with her while dressing/undressing her (and changing diapers)… I will count “one.. two… THREE” as I rip off her pants, shirt or put them on. Well now she walks around saying “unnn….. twooooo…. Treeeee” all the time. She also seems to get the fact that it is “counting” that she is doing cuz she will point to multiple items grouped together and TRY to count them with her un, twoo, tree's. The girl still has quite the attitude and diva complex… still won’t let me touch her hair or put anything in it (piggy tails etc)…. BUT she just recently let me (and wanted me to when I asked her..) paint her finger nails! You should have seen her reaction to it. She practically ran Daddy down when he came home showing him her pretty nails. She admired them while he was changing her into her PJs that night and kept showing her fingers to him. And just the other night she wanted me to paint her toe nails after I cut them… so she now has painted finger and toe nails. She very much likes being a girl with her tutus, nail polish, and shoe collection ….. now I just need to get her to let me tame that fly-away hair she has with some piggy and pony tails…. Though I don’t think I will be winning that battle any time soon.

The boys continue to frustrate me with their incessant fighting, wrestling and tormenting of each other. They really know how to push each other’s (and my) buttons, and enjoy doing so …. Genetically they got that from their father. But they also entertain me SO often with the things they say and understand … and when it comes down to it, they are little love bugs and love to cuddle and be so affectionate. Two moments come to mind recently where they have said the funniest things. Often when Evie goes down for a nap I open up the door to the basement and the boys and I go downstairs to play. I check my email for a bit and then we play restaurant with the kitchen stuff, or try fixing things with all their toy tools they have … they make a ROYAL mess of the downstairs and we now have a deal where I won’t clean ANY of it up for them. I usually help in the cleaning process but with the downstairs, it is all theirs and they’ve been doing pretty well with cleaning up – though I would really love for them to get the concept of cleaning up as they go, or at least not DUMPING everything out just to get at one item they want…. Unnnghhh. But I have to remind myself, they are only 3. Anyway…. The other day while I was checking my email they were fighting and must have been beating on each other quite a bit as all I kept hearing were squeals and screams and crying out… never caught them in the act. Oscar went upstairs (unsure if it was to get away, to go potty or just for no real reason at all) and MacKay wanted him downstairs and I found MacKay at the bottom of the stairs with a hammer and his light sabre yelling, “Come back down here Oscar ….. I gonna PRE-tect you with this…. I not gonna hit you…. I gonna be nice!” Trying not to laugh I asked MacKay if he had been hitting Oscar with that, and if THAT was why Oscar went upstairs… again reminding him that no one wants to play with someone who hits or plays meanly. And he was adamant that he was going to PRE-tect Oscar with those “weapons” …. He took the 5th on admitting whether or not he had ALREADY used them to hit (like he commented earlier).

And just today Oscar amazed me yet again with his recollection of something – they do this quite often where I have to stop and think and BAM it hits me that I know what they are talking about, and it is usually in reference to something they saw or learned (or listened to that I wasn’t aware of) from months prior. Just a week or so ago I read this book “Good Night Minnesota” to MacKay. It is a book that closely resembles Good Night Moon… but talks all about pertinent items dealing with MN. Specifically one page says something about “Good night Minneapolis Sky Line” and it shows an illustration of the Mpls sky line. I pointed at one of the buildings (Thrivent Financial) and told MacKay, “THAT is where Mommy used to work before you guys came along.” I figured he wouldn’t really “get” what I meant about that entirely … and he had a hard time with the past tense as well as “work” vs “live”. He kept saying back “..and that is where you LIVE?” and I would have to correct him and say it is where I USED to WORK. I think we went over that about 15-20 times before we were able to flip the page and continue on with the book…. Not to mention I also was able to point out the building (Hennepin County Gov’t Center – which is right next door to Thrivent) that Gpa Gary USED to WORK at… this also became a conversation about where Gpa Gary lived …. Broken record. But since then, out of the blue MacKay will just mention “I know where you work/ed, Mommy.” and will mention the book that we read with the picture of the building. Little did I know that Oscar was listening and letting that bit of information brew ….. as just this morning after MacKay again brought up the place I used to work at, Oscar said “I know where you work/ed too, Mommy.” Seeing as he wasn’t there when I read the book to MacKay I just said “Really?” and sorta wrote off what he was saying thinking he was just, like always, wanting to be part of the conversation. He then said “Yeah, I saw it in Daddy’s car!” I just laughed again thinking he was just trying to find a way into the conversation and responded with “Hmmmm… really?” thinking the conversation was now over….. but it wasn’t. He then said, “Yeah, Mommy…. When we went to Underwater World… I saw where you work.” Then it hit me. I knew exactly what he was talking about. Over a month ago when we went to Underwater World (now MN Sea Life) as the boys’ reward for being potty trained we took the Honda (now Daddy’s car) and we drove past Mpls on the way…. And I think I usually point out some of the buildings to them, one being the Thrivent building as it is easily seen when coming from the southern direction on 35W. Here I was thinking he was talking silly talk about my work in Daddy’s car… but he was talking about seeing it during a ride in Daddy’s car over a month ago. The stuff that soaks into their little brains just amazes me …. They retain so much, and I love when it comes out in situations like this… fully showing me that they really do understand so much more than I think they do on most occasions.

Well, this turned out to be a much longer post than I had originally planned (which seems to always be the case)… so I’ll refrain from bragging any more about my kids and instead let the pictures brag for themselves. Enjoy

First off, I finally got around to getting the kiddos "Old Tyme" photo out here. My scanner is on the fritz so I was going to send it into work with Chris to do for me... but then I had this CRAZY idea (duh) to just take a picture OF the picture. So here it is .... as good as a picture of a picture can be.

Evie now likes to drink out of a cup (as of a week ago). I accidentally placed MacKay's milk cup in front of her and quickly realized I had done that and grabbed it before she could to give to MacKay... and that got the ball a'rollin' with her. She didn't want that lame old sippy anymore, she wanted to drink like the big boys do and was adamant she too needed a cup. She did well.... considering I would only put the tiniest bit in there and had to keep refilling it about 10+ times during the meal because she wanted more... more ... more (she signed that to me too).

Evie in her cute new striped tights.... you could tell she felt different, girlish in these so I had to snap a few pictures of her wanting to pose and show them off

Evie's 1st manicure.... (pedicure was soon to follow)

Dying Easter Eggs.... the boys anxiously watching their eggs take on colors

Our Easter Eggs - see if you can find the 5 with our names on them (hint: Evie's doesn't show up well as it is yellow and there isn't enough contrast)

Easter in Annandale at Gpa Dean's & Gma Bonnie's
The Easter Egg Hunt.... ran into the Middendorf/Rasset family & Chris's good friend from high school, Shannon Bishop, and family (Seth and Ryan - pictured).

Oscar back at the house.... again content with his mylar balloon

Evie getting a lot of attention from her cousins: Taylor, Sophia (sporting their flower headbands), and Stella who liked playing hair dresser to Evie

Another fashion statement from diva-extraordinaire, Evie ..... cute Matilda Jane outfit that got accessoriezed with newly acquired (Easter presents) tutu and matching flower headband. Classic.

MacKay and Oscar having a blast with their new butterfly/bug nets

Silly Evie .....getting pushed around in a doll stroller by her cousins (and clutching onto her newest doll she got for Easter as well)

MacKay and Oscar watching big cousin Jack playing with his Nintendo DS.

Hoglund Easter:
Daddy and his beloved Jelly Bellies. I got him three boxes with 50 assorted flavors. A while back my mom got one of these (smaller version) as a gift and Chris completely demolished it and thoroughly enjoyed that they have "recipes" for combining various flavors to make other flavors. For example: 2 blueberry + 1 popcorn = blueberry muffin. So Chris was like a kid in a candy shop sitting there with his jelly beans (and Coors Light) and his smart phone... browsing the internet for Jelly Belly "recipes" to try.

Our threesome working together to find all the eggs we had hidden around the house.

Now these are MY kids.... savers (for now at least.... until they figure out that money can buy you things that you want). Putting their coins and cash into their piggy banks.

The boys with their newest Imaginext creatures: Oscar with his Wolly Mammoth, and MacKay with his Apatosaurus/Supersaurus/Sauroposeidon (switches each time you ask him). Thanks Wilsons!

Hope you all had a fun Easter like we did.... come back again soon!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spring Hasn't Quite Sprung ... So SPRING Already!

So with the seasons always seems to come the wonderful head cold… or should I say head colds. Seems like everyone, other than Chris, got hit by it this time …. Though I seemed to have it the worst. And with such horrible timing. Just days after I ran my 4 mile run in preparation for training for Gmas Half Marathon, I came down with this horrid stuff that has lingered ever since. So needless to say, my training/running has taken a huge nose dive and I haven’t been running since. Hoping it clears up soon so I can get back to running …. But it seems to have travelled down into my lungs now and I am incessantly hacking, especially at night when desperately trying to go to sleep after a long and drawn out day. And so goes the battle….
A little over a week ago I had two interviews setup, on the same day nonetheless, that both went quite well. By well, I mean that I now have two more follow up interviews scheduled for this week. I’m still hoping and pushing (as far as I can without shooting myself in the foot) for part time as I am SO ready to rejoin the working population for both social and mental health reasons, BUT I am not ready to give up total control in the upbringing of my kids. More so, I just don’t know that I am ready to go from full time stay at home mom, to hard core 40 hrs/week workaholic again … nor do I want that. I really would love the best of both worlds, 3 days/week working out of the home for some additional feeling of self worth and conversations with other adults about adult topics (vs potty talk, disciplining, constant nagging etc) … and 2 days back with my kids to ground me a bit. Part time would also help in that Gma Chris agreed to be our “free” [virtually] child care if it were only 2-3 days a week. And one of the potential employers is down in the twin cities (where she lives) so potentially I would periodically come down there to work in the office here and there so she wouldn’t even have to travel those weeks to watch the kids. It would be such an ideal situation for everyone…. But ideal is seldom reality, but I’m holding out hope that this still could work in my favor. Wish me luck this week and hopefully I’ll have more to share on the subject on my next post.
Not much else has happened with us. At least not much that I care to share out here. :) But our little Evie, though still an attitude ridden little diva, has given in a tad bit with her relentless refusal to say “Yes.” Mind you, she is not SAYING “Yes,” but is indicating it now. [I’m calling this a win for me all the same] She now will nod her head and/or say “Uh huh” when she means to say “Yes” but still won’t parrot us when we try to get her to say “Yes.” She will repeat almost ANY other word we try to get her to say and does quite well at saying some pretty difficult words and sounds… but is standing her ground [a little less firmly these days] and still refuses to actually say “Yes” and instead follows it up with a very quick, and in her eyes comical, “No!” She definitely knows the difference between MacKay and Oscar (can point them out and never gets them mixed up) and continues to learn more words, items, animals/sounds etc. She’s a little sponge. She even now says “Ida know” [I don’t know] when we ask her a question … even if she does know the answer, which she will quickly answer after first spouting out her “Ida know.” She wants to do so many things for herself too… which is great to see, yet frustrating as things take MUCH longer to accomplish this way, and there are so many of these things she just cannot do and I have to just wait and wait and wait for her to finally realize that before she will even begin to entertain the idea of letting me help or do it for her. Putting on her socks is one of these things … heck, even the boys can’t get their socks on yet, at least not well. But she gives it a good go and tries for the longest time before allowing me to come even remotely near her to help her out. On the flip side, she’s an absolute pro at taking OFF items. Within minutes of getting in the car she has both her shoes and socks off … never fails, EVERY time we’re in the car. And the minute you mention going to take a shower, she’s running for our room with her shirt over her head and ripping down her pants and diaper – she just loves showers.
The boys have been entertaining lately with how they play together. If they aren’t beating the living day lights out of each other over a stupid toy… they are playing together SO nicely and the things that they say while playing/pretending are entirely comical. They make up names for things and work together, telling each other how it’s all going to go etc. They are just BOYS to the hilt. I love it. They are quite proud of themselves recently as they’ve been empowered to do more for themselves lately. They are now required to brush their own teeth every morning (they do a pretty bang up job of it, so we do their nightly brushing for them to make up for it), and I’m slowly backing away more and more in aiding them in dressing themselves each morning. They are good with their underwear and pants, and usually their shirts end up going on the right way… but socks are still a mystery to them no matter how many tricks I show them. They have been putting on their own shoes and jackets for a while now…. BUT they recently have started tackling the zipper on their jackets – or as they refer to it, putting the banana in the monkey’s mouth – something they learned at preschool. They always used to ask me to help them “put the banana in the monkey’s mouth” (then the monkey climbs the tree/zipper goes up).. but now they make a valiant effort to do it themselves, and just the other day MacKay did it all completely by himself. Usually they get the “banana” in … but not in far enough that it will start to zip. But this time he got it all on his own, which really irked Oscar as he refused to let me help him with his immediately after that,…. He wasn’t about to be shown up by his brother.
Just this morning I had the boys’ preschool conferences. Got a lot of good feedback about how they are doing…. Average on most skills, above on quite a few and needing some additional work on some others. They are doing good with their ABCs, cutting, drawing/coloring, counting, shapes, colors and feelings (they identify feelings by facial gestures). They grasp the basic concepts but need some more work on concepts like more/less/equal, patterns, and number association. She said they both counted to around 11 or 12 for her, though I know they both can count to 20 – though they usually skip 15 and repeat 14 a couple times in its place. So all in all I was pleased with how they were doing as were they. I asked if there were any behavioral concerns with either and they said absolutely not, that they are sweet, pleasant and happy little boys….. WHAT? Well I guess I have to say I am glad that they are not a problem for them or displaying some of the behaviors that I am privy to at home … but on the same chord, I sorta wish they had displayed a bit of them so they would understand what I am sometimes dealing with and give me some ideas on how to handle them. Don’t get me wrong… I always said that I didn’t want my kids growing up like many do these days with a complete lack of respect for elders. Even I could see that in the very few years I taught in the schools… kids are just different these days and I don’t know exactly what that is attributed to, but they aren’t fearful of teachers/adult figures and talk back, where kids in my day wouldn’t DARE to do something like that… we cowered when a teacher/elder got on us about something. So I am glad to hear that they are better behaved outside of the home … I guess if they gotta get some naughty-ness out of their systems it is better left with me at home. They were also both very surprised at how independent the two of them are, specifically in relation to each other. They really don’t feel the need to be tied to each other during class and really are pretty much oblivious to what the other is doing most of the time. I guess the first couple weeks of class they would ask to be seated by each other during snack … mostly MacKay asking to be seated by Oscar, but he quickly accepted it when they told them that they had to sit where their place mat was, and since then they haven’t given a hoot where the other is during class time. I totally see that at home too, though I also get to witness those sweet moments where they are completely drawn to each other and have great concern over what is going on with the other – whether it be during the disciplining of one of them (usually MacKay getting upset if Oscar has to be removed from a situation or sit on the naughty bench) or when one of them gets hurt – just the other day we were at the Williams’ house for a play date and Wyatt (I believe) hit MacKay and Oscar’s reaction to that was “Hey, that’s my friend!” I love it… his friend. I gotta say, twins are hard work … but it’s those moments when they bond together like that and play nicely that make all the extra work and craziness all worth it and make it so enjoyable.
Well enough of all of that…. Let’s get onto the good stuff, the pictures.

Here’s little miss Evie (Attitude) in a new sassy zebra print outfit. The 2nd picture explains Evie to a “T”

Fun Outside: the other weekend we were out for the greater part of the day, burning scrap wood and picking up some of the yard
Silly Boys

ALL my silly boys

Throwing wood on the fire

The boys and their big black dope of a pal, Angus

Evie joined us outside when she got up from her nap

Big hug for Evie’s “doggie woof woof”

Evie had fun being the “shagger” for MacKay who was practicing his T-ball skills

The boys in heaven, back on their ‘Gator while Evie reunited herself with her favorite “rock-a-rock-a-rock-a” toy

For being such good helpers outside, the boys were surprised with two new dinosaur toys. [Note: the red one MacKay is holding is the coveted Imaginext TRex dinosaur that his cousin had a few weeks ago at a family function that MacKay went ape over and wanted so badly…. Won this bad boy off of ebay. And the one Oscar is holding is from my lovely friend, Jen (Marinoff) Wilson, who saw pictures from my last blog post about MacKay and this coveted dinosaur and sent me up a whole BOX of Imaginext dinosaurs, and then some, that her son had and no longer plays with… isn’t she a GEM? So little by little we’ll surprise them with more and more of them to reward good behavior.]

MacKay & Oscar’s 4th set of completed Potty Sticker Charts – these charts lasted a little longer than the last couple as we eased up on the frequency of sticker giving. This time around they got stickers for 1. Being dry in the AM (mainly Oscar), 2. Being accident free all day long (both) and 3. Poops (which MacKay gets far more stickers for as he is WAY more regular than Oscar)

MacKay & Oscar’s NEW 5th set of Sticker Charts – I say just sticker (not potty) charts as we’re going to be integrating some other “chores” worthy of giving stickers for with this one: brushing teeth, getting self completely dressed, cleaning up, making bed etc. I wasn’t feeling too creative for this one… so just made a night sky-scape for them to put star stickers on. I’ll try be more creative with the next ones… especially considering Evie is getting a bit of “sticker chart envy” and wants in on this whole shin-dig.

Evie put these on all by herself after Daddy came home with some new packs of undies

Love this outfit so just had to take a picture for posterity … yet another deal I found on

Evie with her dear Daddy …. She is quite the Daddy’s girl.

Come on back soon as I’m sure I’ll have lots to post (pictures) after Easter festivities.