Crisp Autumn Eve 3 Column from TCBOTB

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Our finished project .... play area

A very short post.... SERIOUSLY. Just wanted to share that we are FINALLY done with our "play area" project for the kids. Chris pulled it off and finished the sandbox frame for the kids yesterday evening 6' x 8' with a seating plank all around), and the crew was here bright and early this morning to help install the sandbox frame, dig out the pit, & put down the porous liner, pea rock and sand. The boys and Evie were pretty interested in watching the men work out there and can't wait to get out there and "walk in the rocks" like the boys are currently saying. As soon as Evie wakes up from her nap and the boys are done watching their DVR'd show (Jake and the Neverland Pirates, of course) we'll head back out there and let them have at it and see if we can get them to comprehend the concept that the sand stays in the sandbox and the pea rock stays in the swing set area. (Expectations are low). And I guess I shouldn't say this is entirely finished as we would have liked to have stained the sand box frame, but due to us using treated wood we need to wait a year for it to dry out fully. And I guess we still need to get the "pest" fogger/sprayer to help with the mosquito and tick problems. But still.... close enough.

Monday, May 30, 2011

New Swing Set Arrives, Accident Prone Evie & Oscar Learns a Lesson

Well, we got our Rainbow play system and the kids seem to love it. I think we need to have the ladder replaced as it has a crack that goes down one of the legs that eventually could render it unsafe… but for it being one year old and a floor model it is in excellent condition. I immediately took down one of the swings and put Evie’s infant/toddler swing up there (we used to have it attached to a tree that no longer exists after all the renovations and yard work) and she had a blast in that…. But now prefers the normal sling swing. It also has the rope disc swing that the boys LOVE. After no time at all they quickly figured out how to get on and off of it and it’s definitely a favorite for them. They also love the telescope that is screwed into the upper deck of the clubhouse – they pretend they are pirates and tell us what they can see out of it. They also all love going under the picnic table which is attached to the frame under the upper level clubhouse… they love digging in the dirt down there with their multitude of digging tools and tractors (front end loaders, bulldozers, dump trucks, back hoes etc). I sure hope they still enjoy it when there isn’t any dirty anymore and just pea rock – which is scheduled to come Tuesday (5/31) sometime. MacKay really likes the rock wall too and prefers that way of getting up to the clubhouse vs the ladder. Oscar likes it too but more wants to try figure out how to use the rope part to climb up. And we had our first accident the first day we got our set…. Evie fell down the ladder/stairs. She was going down them backwards (with her back to the ladder like they were stairs she was walking down…. Very STEEP stairs) and as I turned around to deal with Oscar, who was trying to go up while she was coming down) she flipped over and fell down practically the entire ladder, minus the two steps she had already gotten down before she fell. She face planted in the dirt and screamed and cried for a little bit but was fine…. Although walked away from it a little timid of the set. Which didn’t help matters as she was already shying away from the slide as the first time she went down it she flew right off the end and landed on her butt about 1-2 feet from the end of the slide. It was quite slick and needed to be propped up a little more at the end to prevent them always going off the end like that. So after that I couldn’t coax her down the slide for a couple days. But I am happy to report that she must have blocked all that out now because just yesterday she was going up the stairs and down the slide like a champ. Eventually we would like to add on to the set by getting some other accessories, specifically a glider and a tire swing… something we can use for birthday/Xmas presents in the future.

Our current project …. As I type Chris is putting together a pretty nice little frame for a sand box to fit in the play area as well. Since the pea rock is coming tomorrow he’s sorta in a pinch to get it done ASAP. That’s how he rolls though. I’m the planner and have to beat a plan to death before I move on it… whereas he works best on a whim. So hopefully he can get that done by end of day today. We also decided to invest in some mosquito/tick control products. Our lawn specialist was able to get us a deal on a backpack sprayer/fogger and the solution to spray. So that way we can REALLY enjoy our yard, play set, patio, deck etc. So far the mosquito situation hasn’t been horrible, but you can tell it’s gearing up … and next week with all the rain we’re supposed to get and the humid conditions they will be out in full force.

Other than that, not much going on other than going to our weekly (Tues and Fri) park play dates. I went out to drinks and a movie (Bridesmaids) with some friends and had a blast. The movie ended up being okay… in so much as I think all the hype, trailers and outtakes made for some pretty high expectations. I was thinking this would be yet another classic comedy like Old School, Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary etc… I had heard you laugh for hours even after the movie is over. And it was definitely a cute and good movie… just not what I was expecting with all the hype around it. But I had a blast with the ladies before hand.

Some updates on the kiddos…. MacKay and Oscar are just constantly begging for two things. 1) Go outside and 2.) Watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates (Disney Junior channel). They cannot get enough of either one. They love giving Evie rides in the Gator – especially now that they are flying around in 2nd gear – but are also getting SO good at their trikes. Until recently they did well on flat terrain or going at a downward angle… but when they came to an incline they couldn’t (more probably WOULDN’T) continue. I find that they give up pretty easily and admit defeat – hoping that changes with time. But now they have the leg power and the confidence to pedal all over the place. We’re thinking about getting them some 14” bikes this year for taking walks down the street after dinner and letting them ride their bikes alongside us. But part of me wants to wait til next year as well and just get the 16” bikes that will last them a bit longer. So we’ll see how that one goes. I also have to share a Love & Logic tactic that I used recently that helped to curb Oscar’s terrible eating habits. He has many: whines and crabs until food is cold and everyone is already done eating to finally pick at his food (thinking of instituting the “timer” idea on this and when dinner is over, it is OVER), takes forever to eat just generally speaking, shoves tons of food in his mouth and then chews it forever til it is mush and hard to swallow (gross), and just generally picky. Before he even tries something he says he doesn’t like it, finds things in his food that he says he doesn’t like (“I don’t like those green things” etc) and just refuses to eat sometimes. Meanwhile MacKay and Evie just shovel most things in. I try to remind him about “Green Eggs and Ham”, a favorite book of theirs… and how once he TRIED it, he liked it. How he should do the same etc. Rarely ever works. And we’re not members of the “clean plate” club either, we don’t demand it all gets eaten, but we do request that it gets TRIED. I always tell them I want them to have two bites: the first to try it, the second to really taste it. And if they don’t want it after that, I’m fine with that as long as they are willing to eat a majority of something else in the meal/on their plate. SOOOOO.. the other night MacKay was championing the meal and just shoveling in 2nds and 3rds like crazy. Evie was doing pretty well too, and as per usual Oscar was sitting there with his chin in his hands pouting saying he didn’t want to eat or didn’t like it. Chris tried holding food up for him to eat and I told Chris we just weren’t going to do that anymore, that he needs to SELF feed and take the initiative…. And that I was going to try something new that night and that he was going to learn a lesson the hard way. I kept praising MacKay (and Evie) on how well they were eating and saying things like “Wow, MacKay you are doing so good, you sure are eating well and going to grow up big and strong like Daddy if you keep that up ….. boys who eat well like this deserve a reward… a TREAT. Let me think what we could do for that.” Oscar of course keeps chiming in that he wants a treat and we tell him that treats are only for people that eat their meals, to which I think we got 1-2 bites TOPS from the entire plate from him, and it wasn’t without a lot of complaining. So when dinner was over I cleaned up Evie and MacKay and told them to go put their shoes on cuz I was going to take them to Dairy Queen, which put quite the little pep in their steps as they ran to go get ready to go. I had thought about going to DQ myself and bringing stuff back for everyone BUT Oscar, but I figured the “trip” was worth something too… him being left behind. Oscar looked SO disappointed and sad but was trying to be composed and not show it… his bottom lip would quiver here and there and he would say “I’m not going to Dairy McQueen?... but I want Dairy McQueen.” But Chris and I just calmly kept telling him that only MacKay and Evie were going because they were being rewarded for eating so well… and would ask him “Did you eat well?” to which he would say No in a very ashamed and bummed sort of way. As we were leaving the house I could hear him screaming and crying a bit.. and when we pulled out of the driveway there was Oscar at the big picture window just staring out at us driving away which both broke my heart and also gave me a sense of accomplishment like this might actually work. (Which it did) Although I was informed by Chris that within minutes of us leaving that Oscar got over it and was very matter of fact about it. “Daddy, I’m not going to Dairy McQueen, I sit here with you and watch baseball.” Meanwhile I had a very nice time with Evie and MacKay at DQ eating our dipped cones. Evie and I shared one and MacKay scarfed his kiddie cone down all by himself with minimal mess actually. When we got home MacKay was so excited to see Oscar and tell him about his ice cream cone and Oscar didn’t seem too phased about the ice cream but was more focused on that he didn’t get to join us. “Maybe next time I eat and I can come sit with you… but I sit here with Daddy and watch baseball.” Cracks me up. But the very next day we decided to go out to Pizza Ranch (pizza being something that Oscar does okay with, but not one of his favorites) for dinner before heading to a friend of our’s baseball game. Oscar had two pieces of pizza down before MacKay even had one gone which is SOOO not normal. I kept telling him how proud I was of him and making a big deal about how well he was eating. I think we were even able to talk him into having one more piece before we rewarded him with ice cream. He was so proud of himself, telling us over and over again how he was getting ice cream cuz he ate so well. So at least we now know that it somewhat works and we just need to keep at it. Although I’m not wanting to always have to have a treat at the end of every meal. We rarely ever do. We more treat fruit as the treat after a meal. But I think in these special occasions where they eat really well we can use something special as a reward …. And on the flip side, when Oscar is being defiant about eating, reward the opposite behavior as a reminder for him.

Evie…. Our little accident prone diva. As some of you out on Facebook might have already seen, Evie had a rough 3 days in a row and I am hoping that that rule of 3 (bad things happen in 3s) applies here and that we’re done for a while. Thursday, like I said before, she fell down the ladder of the swing set. Friday, I was checking email downstairs and Chris opened the basement door to yell down to be about something and left the door open, which normally isn’t a problem as Evie can go up and down stairs quite well. But this time she was holding her sippy cup on the way down (we have a rule that no toys, nothing in hand while going up/down the stairs) and I all of a sudden heard this BUMP… THUMP…. THUD… BA-BUMP!” and turned around to see Evie at the bottom of the stairs in yet another face plant. Again, she wasn’t hurt… more frightened than anything. And then the very next day (Saturday) she got her hand slammed into a door. We had told the boys we were going shopping and that they needed to go potty before we left, so they ran into the bathroom and as per usual Evie wasn’t close behind… wanting to be with her big brothers. They aren’t so keen on having her around in the bathroom, and even though we have a rule about shutting/slamming doors in our house (exactly for this reason), they slammed the door on Evie… who just happened to have her whole hand in the gap where the door hinges onto the frame. I heard the worst blood curdling cry and then gasping for breath … it was like she was in such pain she couldn’t even cry or make a sound after that. I came running down the hall to find MacKay hugging Evie and repeatedly saying “I’m sorry Evie… I’m sorry!” She had her whole hand in there so it slammed on her palm area and you could immediately see the mark and bruising. So we iced it while she continued to cry and scream. You could tell MacKay felt so bad, he couldn’t even look me in the eye. So I tried not to come down on him too badly, just instead reminded him that this was EXACTLY why we had the rule about not shutting doors when Evie is around. She eventually calmed down and was almost proud to show off her “Owie” and could move her hand completely so we knew everything was fine. But SHEEEESH. I sure hope this is over now. 3 accidents in 3 days. That’s enough. And I am happy to report that there were no mishaps or accidents on Sunday. So the rule of 3 must have some merit to it. Although…. Evie actually hit a milestone of sorts on Sunday. So she traded in a milestone for a mishap. She wants so much to be like her brothers and copy what they do – which I feel bad about because it makes me get on the boys about doing things that probably are quite normal for boys their age to do (mischievous things that don’t hurt anyone but just cause a mess etc), asking them to stop because if Evie sees them do it then she will try it. I have to stop doing that … squelching them just to save me some headache with Evie. That’s not fair to them. But anyway …. In another example of Evie wanting to be like her big brothers, the boys interrupted their lunch on Sunday by saying they had to go potty (really selling it to us that they would pee their pants if they didn’t go right then), so they both ran off to the bathroom mid-lunch to take care of business. Evie was hell bent on doing the same and ripped off her bib, refused to put it back on and pushed herself away from the table chanting “Potty TOO, …. Potty TOO!” So to humor her I asked Chris to just take her to the bathroom (oh the games we have to play with her to get her back on track… I tell ya) and just let her sit there for a stint. Once on the potty (fully clothed) she told Chris to “GO!” So a few minutes later I went in there to try get her out and said “You’re all done?” in a leading sort of way. She was adamant she was not done and wanted to “Potty TOO!” So I stripped down her pants and diaper and put her on the toilet and told her to go. She sat there singing and talking about the potty. I kept asking her if she was done… “NO!” Then eventually she started pushing and a few little toots came out which really amused her. Tell me “Poop… Toot!” Then I heard this tiny little noise and the look on her face was classic – her eye brows raised and her eyes got all twinkly and she was grinning from ear to ear. So I got her down and we checked the toilet….. and low n behold there was the TINIEST little turd I have ever seen. Seriously, the size of a pea…. But to her it was like she laid down a 10 pounder or something. (Sorry, gross I know). She was so proud, yelling “Poop…. POOP!” and yelling for Daddy. So I brought her into her room to clean her up and put on a new diaper, and she met Daddy in the bathroom to point out her little accomplishment. Daddy had to hold back the laughter at it and just praised her over and over. From the kitchen we could hear the boys yelling “I want to see it!” So we let Evie flush and told her to run to the kitchen to tell the boys what she did. She ran up to them (in their chairs eating) and looked up at them and proudly proclaimed “POOP!” It was so cute cuz we didn’t have to coach the boys on what to say or anything but they were both going on and on to her “Wow, Evie… Way to go…. You’re a BIG girl!” It was quite the moment. So lunch was resumed and I considered that our first sign that she might be getting ready to try out this whole potty training thing. Not that it will happen any time soon – I need more signs than just this. But I figure that is a good sign, showing the desire to want to be like her brothers and go potty in the bathroom etc. I’m sure she probably doesn’t even know what going potty entails or what it means… but she wants to do it. Since then she’s done this quite a few more times. At dinner out last night she demanded to “Potty TOO!” after I had to bring both the boys to the bathroom in the middle of dinner. Luckily I was able to distract her with things at the table to get her mind on something else cuz she is relentless and doesn’t give up or in easily. Then just today when I could tell she had soiled her diaper she came to me and said “Go Potty Too!” instead of her usual “Uckies… Change… Uckies.” So there might be something to this…. There might not. But I’m gonna keep an eye on her and see if she holds this interest or loses it.

Well, not many pictures this time… but thought I better post an update before I had a backlog of pictures like I had last post. They get a little too long when I let them go like that.

MacKay and Evie being treated to Dairy Queen (sans Oscar)

Yes… Victorious …. Oscar being rewarded with an ice cream treat after learning his lesson about eating well at dinner time

The kids on their new Rainbow play system
The boys on the rope disc swing… holding on for dear life

Pirate Oscar on the lookout with his telescope…. Arrrggg. And MacKay championing his rock wall

Evie who is just happy to swing (“Wing… Wing… “Wing” – she sings as she swings back and forth)

Not a great picture, but LOVING the little picnic table we got for the kids and the nice weather we’ve had lately to get out for lunch most days.

Evie has a new passion…. Jewelry. I recently came from upstairs one day to find her wearing all of the nipple rings from her old bottles on her arms like they were a ton of bangles. So I wrangled up some old costume jewelry I no longer wear and let her have at it. Gonna have to get her some kiddie costume jewelry of her own. P.S. I think the spider tattoo pairs nicely with the jewelry.

Hope you all had a fantastic and restful Memorial Day Weekend…. Stop by again soon.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Preschool Graduates....

My boys are Preschool Graduates! I know that doesn’t sound like such a big thing, but it really was. They really did the whole event up and made it a very special and emotional occasion. I was able to keep myself composed for the most part (which I found shocking), but on numerous occasions I was fighting back tears as it was just so cute. Miss Peggy (adult educator) started it all out bringing all of us parents up for special recognition and “gag” gifts that were applicable to each. For me, she had two pieces of yarn that were tied together and said it was symbolic of how I needed continue to and remember to “keep it together” and mentioned how I was a busy mom with twin preschoolers as well as a 2 year old following close in their steps…. But as she was about to hand me my gift the pieces of yarn broke and disconnected which made it all that more humorous as she gasped and said “Oh no… they just broke and came untied…. I hope that doesn’t mean anything.” It got a good laugh and I found it completely appropriate because those two little broken pieces of yarn that were supposed to be “held together” are completely symbolic of me SO much of the time. Each of the other parents got similar humorous tokens and when that was done they got all the kids up on stage to sing a few songs for us. The hit of the set was this Mosquito song I’ve never heard before where they itch themselves in different places etc. It was adorable and I’m glad I was able to capture it all on video. Surprisingly MacKay was the one who really got into it and was following the lead of Miss Mary who was standing to the side reminding them all of the actions that accompanied the songs. He was groovin’ and movin’ up there… while Oscar (who is usually the one more apt to join in dancing) more tried to hide behind others up on the stage and seemed distracted. Cute all the same. Just another example of how they switch roles and shock me all the time. Next was commencement and they got all the kids lined up with their graduation caps on and played “Pomp & Circumstance” while they walked in a nice line around the gym for all to see. They then lined up on the stage again to receive their diplomas and when that was done they did the classic cap toss into the air. Immediately after the commencements they showed a tear jerker of a slide show that showed several pictures of each of the children followed by some answers to some questions/statements, specifically "When I grow up I want to _____." To which Oscar's answer was "look like Daddy," and MacKay's was "be Diesel 10." After that it was a social hour where we enjoyed chatting with other parents, admiring their art work which was on display all over the gym and having cupcakes and juice. Gma Chris, Gma Bonnie and Gpa Dean were all there to take this all in as well and initially we were going to go out for lunch afterwards but it ended earlier than we thought, so a few of the families decided to meet at a local park for a while to blow off some time. Gma Chris got a taste of Evie’s daring nature as she climbed up to the top of the playground equipment to play with the big kids and try everything out… she has no fear, I swear. Then we headed off to Buffalo Wild Wings for some lunch to round off a very fun morning. I’m so sad that the boys won’t have Miss Mary and Miss Michele as teachers again next year. There is a class they could take with them, but it is an afternoon class (12:30 – 2:30) three days a week which wouldn’t leave a lot of room for me to bring Evie to her classes without spending practically the entire day at the ECFE building. So instead they are going to go to a true preschool class (no parent days, all drop off) twice a week in the mornings… that way I can take Evie to a Mommy ‘n Me class one of those days while they are at class. But hopefully I will get to take Evie through this program in a couple years and hood back up with Miss Mary and Michele. They truly were fantastic, calm, loving and understanding teachers and my boys are better people for knowing them. Miss Peggy will continue to be someone I still get to work with when we split in Evie’s classes so I’m excited I will still get to see her.

Well I thought I would lead off with the big news… but now I need to back track a little bit. The other big event was taking the boys to the Edgewater Water Park in Duluth last Sunday – Monday. I bought a deal on Groupon which was $99 for 1 nights stay, 5 water park passes, 1 pizza, 4 sodas, and $10 in arcade tokens. We ended up upgrading to a suite for an additional $30 – but that included getting another water park pass ($15) which we needed for Gpa Gary and Terri who were going to be joining us there. The boys were pretty stoked about it and were talking about it for a couple days prior… and the entire drive there kept asking if we were there yet. We got there shortly before noon (when we could start using the water park) so we had some lunch at Perkins quickly (MacKay scarfed down his pancakes and started digging into my lunch as well – think he is going through a growth spurt) before heading over to check in and head to the water park. Both the boys were pretty outgoing from the get go and were going on all the equipment in the little kids area and trying it all out…. But about 20 minutes into it all of a sudden MacKay developed this fixation/fear of “The Big Bucket.” The Big Bucket was this huge bucket that would dump tons of water over the whole kids area every 4-5 minutes. He had already gotten doused a couple times while running around on the apparatuses so I don’t know why it all of a sudden started bothering him later but we couldn’t coax him back into the area for the life of us. I tried OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN to explain right after it would dump that we had some time to go on some slides before it would dump again but he would just sit on the edge completely content just watching it. It was like he loved it and hated it at the same time…. Before it would dump it would give this little signal that sounded like dinging and the minute you would hear that his eyes would get wide and just watch the Big Bucket. He always enjoyed watching it … just from afar. Meanwhile Oscar was always dragging me out there to stand right in the middle of where the brunt of it came out so we could get blasted by it. Polar opposites I tell ya…. But every once in a while you would see him bust his hump (right after it dumped) to run up one of the sides of the apparatus to go down one of the slides VERY quickly. He then would get up and quickly run to the edges of the pool and stare back up at the Big Bucket waiting. The one thing MacKay loved that Oscar wasn’t a fan of was the tube slide. I bet we brought him down that about 20+ times during our stay. It is basically a big tube slide that you ride on tubes down it. So we used the double tubes to take the kids down it. First time I went down it my heart was just racing as it was a PITCH BLACK ride all the way down minus a short little span of it where the slide went out of the building and you could see a little bit of day light shining through the tubes. Otherwise you were flying blindly down this water slide the entire time. Oscar went down a couple times but then said “It’s too dark” and didn’t want to go down it anymore….. meanwhile MacKay LOVED it and kept screaming “Let’s Go AGAIN!” as soon as we would come shooting out of the end of it. He would just race up the stairs to get up there and go for another ride. So I found it interesting that they both had things they were apprehensive about …. And just happened to be the complete opposite of each other as to which they liked and feared. The one thing they both loved were the floaties they had in one of the pools that you walked across while using the ropes above for leverage. They begged us to help them across that so many times and when Gpa Gary and Gma Terri showed up they were the perfect suckers to do just that with them and give Chris and I a break from that. MacKay just wanted to be in the deep pool (about 4 feet… so deep for them) the whole time as he wanted to “swim” and SERIOUSLY thinks he CAN swim. He was constantly barking at Chris and I to let go of him in the pool so he could swim…. He’d sink every time but he desperately wanted to be swimming and thought he could do it completely on his own. They enjoyed jumping off the edge to us too but really liked practicing the things they learned in swimming lessons (kicking, scooping with hands/arms and monkey cheeks). Toward the end of our swimming on that first day MacKay started getting a bit more adventurous ….. maybe it was showing off for Gpa and Gma, but when I would look back to see him on the edge of the pool he wouldn’t be there and I would find him up on the apparatuses trying to catch up with Gpa and/or Oscar for rides down the slides quickly before the bucket would dump again.

After about 5+ hours of pruning up our finger tips in the pools we decided it was time to go dry off and head out for some dinner. We went to Blackwoods which is just across London Road from the hotel where we had to wait in the bar for 30 minutes for our table. The boys were troopers and just drank their Sprites at a high top with us while we adults got to chat and catch up as I hadn’t seen my Dad since last September when they left for AZ for the winter. At one point we looked over and MacKay had his head on the table and I think he had caught a few “Z”s there… poor guy. It was shortly after that we pointed out the train that goes all around the restaurant and they would anxiously wait for it to come back into our room to watch it go by. Finally we got seated … although it was a bummer as our seats didn’t allow us to have ANY view of the trains which the boys were dying to see. So we spent a lot of our “waiting” time taking the boys for a walk around the dining room to see the train when it would come around. But all in all they did really well there and ate pretty decently and were well behaved. We headed back to the hotel around 8:00 (their normal bedtime) where Gpa and Gpa said their good-byes and we took the boys down to the arcade to blow their $10. They loved playing their version of “Whack a Mole”. They earned enough tickets to each get 3 different little plastic insects…. Fly, praying mantis, scorpion, dragon fly, spider etc. We went back to the room to watch a little bit of TV (end of a movie) to wind down and then got the boys ready for bed. They had the hardest time falling asleep and just kept giggling and talking and playing in there while Chris and I cracked a bottle of wine that we had brought along. I don’t think the boys fell asleep until well after 10:30 …. And it was probably only minutes after they were asleep so was I. It was quite the long and eventful day.

The next day we got up and had some quick breakfast and hit the pool again. Same as the day before MacKay was leery of the kids area and the Big Bucket but LOVED going down the big tube slide with us….. and Oscar couldn’t be lured onto the big tube slide but was ALL OVER the kids area, just loving getting doused by the Big Bucket. We ordered up our free pizza and pop for lunch, scarfed that up and then headed back to our room to pack up and check out. We quickly stopped into Canal Park to go see the Aerial Lift Bridge and the Lighthouse which the kids were pretty interested in. The Lift Bridge even went up and down a couple times while we were down there but there was no sign of any boats so we were unsure why it was doing that. Would have been great to catch a big tanker going through, BUT earlier that morning the boys did get to see a big tanker pulling into the bay that just parked outside of the park for the rest of the time we were there.
Since getting back from that trip poor little MacKay has brought up the Big Bucket on numerous occasions as if it were his favorite part of the water park. Like I said, I think it was a love/hate relationship he had with that Big Bucket…. He loved it, was in awe of it, loved watching it…. But it freaked him out to no end as well. I’m hoping the next time we go that it won’t be so novel to him and he’ll be more adventurous. Even in the shower I’ve been dumping water over his head (like we always do to get the shampoo out) but I’ve been associating it to the Big Bucket and making the dinging sound that it made prior to dumping on it… in the hopes that he’ll find more fun in it by the next time we go… which we definitely plan on doing again. It was a great water park and a great experience. And the suites there work perfectly for being able to put the kids to bed and still be able to stay up a bit later. Hoping Evie can accompany us next time too as she would love this place… just needs probably another year before I think it would be worth it for her.

What else…. We took the kids to a local “farm” the other day after their Tuesday ECFE class. 4-5 other parents/families from ECFE accompanied us. It was at the Crow Wing County Fair Grounds and a bunch of 4H kids were there showing their farm animals (rabbits, horses, ponies, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, donkey etc) and the highlight for Oscar… the big John Deere Tractor. I had to practically drag him over to see the animals as all he wanted to do was stare at that tractor. They did a nice job putting this on… all the kids were very informative about the animals they had there and at the end they had this little “scavenger hunt” thing they put on. The kids put on aprons had to go through little mini buildings and do certain things ….. they started out getting feed (corn) in their bucket and then went to the hen house to give some of their feed to the chickens (not real) and gather an egg (again, none of this being real). Another was to feed the house with the sheep in it and gather some wool (they had some divied out in baggies)…. Feed and milk the cows (again fake but very realistic) and gather milk (empty cartons). They picked some vegetation as well as planted etc. And then at the end they had to sort their “crop” or “goods” into the appropriate buckets (as if going to market) and they were “paid” for their goods with some fake money which they used in the store to buy a snack. It was all very cute and well put on. Will definitely have to do that again when they put it on.

Other than all of that, it’s been a bit busy around here with other miscellaneous events. Namely, we FINALLY bought a swing set for the kids. After loafing for too long on this Chris finally did a little research online and found a forum that discussed Rainbow Systems where he found an entry that recommended looking into getting last year’s/floor models from the retailers. So that next morning I called the St. Cloud Rainbow retailer that I’d talked to many times before and asked if they had any of last year’s or floor models available for purchase. Just so happened that they had one that was EXACTLY what we wanted that was both last year’s model as well as their floor model. Because they were willing to give a deal on it (took about $1000 off new price) we were also able to get more features than we were going to be able to afford if we would have bought brand new. We got the upgraded scoop slide we really wanted and a rock wall that we normally wouldn’t have gotten with the budget we were working on. Another bonus… he informed me that last year’s model had a bigger deck on the clubhouse (6’ x 6’) whereas this year’s model is only 5’2” squared. YAY. It will be delivered and assembled this coming Thursday and I am just counting the days. The area it will go in is already dug out and prepped and hopefully on Friday our landscaper will be able to squeeze in putting in all the pea rock around it. Now the only thing I’m looking into is pest control as we’re probably going to be spending QUITE a bit of time outside and on this play set this summer. I was more concerned with Mosquitoes, but then last night at 4am I found a tick crawling around on my leg and I want them all gone. Was looking into Mosquito Squad but now have been given a tip about a natural agent that can be used that is 1/5 the price of Mosquito Squad. So that will be the next thing I tackle once this is all up and running.

I feel the need to quickly touch on Evie as well as so much of this was all about the boys. Like I said before Evie is a little dare devil and wants to be just like her brothers and able to do all the same things they do. Going to local parks makes it difficult as even though I can trust the boys to somewhat take care of themselves, they really want and beg for my attention there… wanting me to go down slides with them, follow them, chase them etc. And I have to devote almost all my time to Evie as she’s not content just playing on the smaller sets, but wants to be up as high as she can go and try out EVERY piece of equipment at the park. She watches her buddies (brothers, Jack & Wyatt, older ECFE kids) doing certain things and just watches with this look like “I can do that…. So let’s see here, I put my foot here and then grab this…” Unnghh. It’s just constant heart palpitations for me during our times at the parks…. She has got quite a few more words and sayings now. The most humorous one to date is her “HEYYYY!” that she does when she thinks she’s been unjustly treated. And she says it with the right inflection and tone… with that undertone of disgust and unfairness etc. I don’t know where she got it as I don’t think I say it THAT often… but it’s cute. I think she’s verging on needing a haircut as well. I’m still holding out that it is going to spike in growth and length over night, but it is now starting to hang over her eyes so even a bang trim would be good at this point. She still refuses to let me do anything with it as well. I’m dying to get some pig tails or barrettes in there but she won’t have it. And she’s even got enough to do something like that with but the minute I even try to put my fingers through it to do anything she gets all upset and swats at me. It’s starting to get curlier in the back now too. Right after a shower her hair is all crazy and curly in the back (top and front is stick straight) … that is until she goes to bed or sits in her car seat where it gets smacked down. And nothing has changed with her attitude and flare… she’s still quite the diva. Yelling back at me one minute and hugging me the next. We’re in trouble with this one.

Well I have about 70 pictures to load up now so let’s get on with the show….. enjoy.

Just some miscellaneous pictures to start it out – a picnic we had in the living room when it wasn’t nice out, Oscar wanting a picture taken of his incredibly bruised knees … AND [drum roll…] our new play system for the kids

Edgewater Water Park – Sun May 15th & Mon May 16th
Oscar and the “Big Bucket” – love the pictures of him waiting for it, preparing to get doused and finally getting doused.

Floating down the lazy river with Daddy – love MacKay’s monkey cheeks in preparation for the water falls

Gpa Gary and Gma Terri helping the boys across the floaties

Swimming with Gma Terri

Swimming (and splashing in MacKay’s case) with Gpa Gary – MacKay made a valiant effort to help clean Gpa Gary’s glasses off after splashing him

Back in the kiddie area sliding with Gpa. Even a few of MacKay squeezing in a quick run down the slide before the Big Bucket tipped yet again… love the monkey cheeks as he nears the end of the water slide

Fun with the water jets/fountains … not sure what comment to make about MacKay here.

Oscar and Gpa Gary, followed by a solo MacKay (with monkey cheeks) going down one of the tube slides in the kiddie area.

Trip to the “Farm”
MacKay and Oscar riding around toy tractors

Evie along for the ride, having a blast being pushed around in her stroller

Oscar and MacKay milking a [fake] cow – yet another task in their scavenger hunt

Making some money at market with their “goods”

The boys and their friends from ECFE – Hailey, Landon, Cole, Taylor, and Braeden

Just some fun outside …. Evie and her golf caddie, Oscar’s impression of “The Flash” (or just Mommy with the wrong shutter speed settings), and MacKay taking Evie for a ‘Gator ride. There is something just sweet about that last picture

MacKay & Oscar’s Preschool Graduation – Thursday May 19th 2011
Their artwork on display

Evie with Daddy and Gpa Dean

Oscar and MacKay during the processional [Pomp & Circumstance]

Taking their place up on the stage with their friends

Getting their diplomas

The traditional cap toss

My Preschool Grads - polar opposites, one annoyed by the tassle, the other obsessed with it

Gma Bonnie, Gpa Dean and Gma Chris with their grandchildren (I don’t have a single picture where EVERYONE is cooperating so these are the best of what I could get)

SUPER SOAKERS – graduation gifts from Gma Bonnie and Gpa Dean
The boys with their Super Soakers – with a couple pictures of the cute shirts they made in their last weeks at preschool with all the names of their friends (and teachers) on the back. The front has thumbprint bees on it (made and decorated by them) with the saying “We’ll always BEE friends!”

MacKay after shooting Oscar with his Super Soaker….. and a very disgusted Oscar trying to get the water out of his hair

Lastly, just some pictures taken just today of Evie right after a shower – proof to the crazy curls she gets.

Come back again soon – the Rainbow play system will be here later this week and I’m sure I’ll have tons of pictures to post of the kids on their new toy.