Crisp Autumn Eve 3 Column from TCBOTB

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall Fun

Well we are loving fall in the Hoglund household. It’s my favorite time of year…. As long as I am not suffering from allergies or major sinus infections – which I usually do at this time of year. But I’ve (we’ve all) been lucky this year and I’ve seemed to avoid it so far …. Knock on wood. The kids have been enjoying the leaves, constantly asking us to make a pile for them to roll around in. I just enjoy a time where you aren’t worrying about mosquitoes or sunburn.. .but I have to say, this fall has been TERRIBLE for wasps and bees, so it makes it difficult to get the kiddos out for some fresh air.

The kids are enjoying school for the most part and doing well there. They still go two days a week and then get 3 days at home with Gma Chris, but in the next couple months we are more than likely going to up that to 3 days at school and my mom can have them the other 2. I was so elated to get great reviews back on all of them after that first day. No crying, good moods, listening, good manners, eating all their food and even napping (or at least resting) – all of the teachers telling us how polite and nice they were. Should have known that was too good to be true as that very next day their little report slips said that Oscar didn’t want to participate and that MacKay said “No” to the teacher a lot that day. Unnghhh. Looks like they got comfortable being themselves pretty quickly there. So that next Sunday night we prepared them again for going to school the next morning and I sat down with the boys and reminded them about how we act at school. I took their slips to show them that we get reports back on how they are doing each day and read through each section. Praising them for the portions where it said they ate and napped well. But then showed how they are rated on their manners for the day and how there are three ratings: Excellent, OK and Needs Improvement. Explained that Excellent meant they did REALLY well… that OK means they didn’t do fantastic but it wasn’t bad either… but that Needs Improvement meant that the teachers weren’t very happy with how they were acting that day. They just happened to get “OK”s for that report but we explained how we want to see Excellent circled. Then read the comments and had little discussions with them … “Is that okay to do that/act that way?” …”How should you act?” It was a good little discussion. Then cute little Evie who wants to be such a big girl came running over … “Do me… Do me… My turn!” Wanting me to read her report card. She was just beaming with pride while I read her little slip to her. So cute. Since then we’ve gotten good reviews…. Even some entertaining ones. The other week Oscar’s had a note on it that read “Thought snack today was odd.” I think it is hilarious to picture Oscar scoffing at a snack and calling it odd or weird. Come to find it was apple wedges/slices with peanut butter. If that sounds odd to you as well I implore you to try it… it is actually quite good. My mom used to give that as a snack at the daycare she worked at. She would give them the option of cups of caramel and cups of peanut butter and every kid always preferred the peanut butter to the caramel. Crazy huh? But once Oscar did try it he loved it and now my mom sometimes gives that to them as a snack when she is taking care of them. That’s just Oscar for you – he scoffs at all food… unless it is Mac ‘n Cheese. He just declares he doesn’t like it before even trying it. Then once it has gotten cold and we are nearly finished he finally gives in and begins to eat – but still letting us know that he wasn’t happy with that night’s selection for a meal. But back to school…. One thing that has me worried and a little bummed is that in the last week or so Oscar has made comments about how he is there a LONG time. That he doesn’t want to go, because he is there for a long time. He gets so excited when Gma Chris is there and proclaims “I don’t have to go to school today, do I?” I can tell they are learning a lot there though, they constantly come home with new songs that I have never heard before. Evie talks about school and the “fwenz” she plays with. When she gets picked up she is always waving back at the class “Bye Bye BYE!”

The boys also recently had their Kindergarten screening which they did a good job at. Obviously, I know they could have done more or answered more questions correctly …. But that is the nature of the beast. I was expecting that. MacKay wouldn’t draw a person (which he can – see pictures below) when they asked him to draw a picture of himself. Instead he just kept writing Ms on the page. But he did well with his counting (was spot on), grouping items, doing patterns etc. He even jumped on one foot. He’s really just so coordinated. Gma Chris was watching him during all of this and said it was so humorous to watch him because he was tentative at first and spoke very quietly when answering their questions….. and was just fidgety. Couldn’t sit still in the chair – he’s so “Chris.” He also got all of his opposites correct which we’ve been trying to work with them on. When it came to the sight and hearing portion they gave him the chart with the letters on it for pointing to which one he was seeing… but he didn’t want to do that and just said which letters she was pointing to. I don’t know HOW he knows all the letters but he has them ALL down. I think it might be just all those alphabet books that he loves to read. I mean we’ve only read them about a million times to them and always pointed out the letters as we applied them to the items on each page (usually animals, dinosaurs etc). So his vision was spot on (10/10 as they were only 10 feet away from the board). But then the hearing test came… the only one I would be worried about as both Chris and their Gpa Dean have hearing impairments. Chris has had a couple surgeries to try correct his hearing impairments but neither worked so he lives with 30% hearing in his left ear. So when MacKay isn’t following direction I always wonder if it is that he isn’t paying attention, isn’t focusing or isn’t HEARING. The nurse conducting the test was getting worried because he was instructed to raise his hand and wave at Gma Chris (who was in there with him) when he heard the ringing in the head phones and he wasn’t doing anything. But my mom could see in his eyes that he was hearing something by his reactions… just wasn’t raising his hands. So then she tried something else which again didn’t work. Finally she gave him a cup of little plastic bear figurines, gave my mom and empty cup and told him that every time he heard the tones to put a bear in Gma’s cup. That did it. And THAT is MacKay for you – gotta make everything a game for him. After that he was spot on with the hearing as well. So now he doesn’t have an excuse when he isn’t following directions.

Oscar was a hoot. He isn’t as good at the letter recognition so he needed to use the chart to point at letters when he did the sight test. He only got one wrong out of all the ones that she pointed at, and I think it was more related to being confused vs being able to see… but still she said he was 10/15 which she said was completely normal and no need for concern as far as sight. He was a champ with the hearing test. Immediately took on to the waving at me each time that he heard the tone and had the cutest look on his face. Just this smile like he was doing something right and proud that he could do this. After he got done with his tests we needed to wait to go onto the other portion of the screening and so she invited him to play with some toys at a little table in the room. He was just chatting this lady’s ear off … non-stop just with his incessant babbling about the items on the table and what he could do with them, what they were, what he was going to play with next, what he could play with when he got older. He has the gift of gab…. He’s very “me.” And such imagination in that guy. WOW. He blows me away with his independent imaginary/creative play. But anyway, so then it was Oscar’s turn to go see the woman doing the other portion of the test. He did really well but instead of answering questions right from the get go he would start talking about things related to it – like he was justifying his answer or trying to give a broader picture to his answer. It was hilarious to watch. She had him build some structures with blocks … pyramids basically. And when she got to the last one (more difficult) he said he couldn’t do it… but then proceeded to do it. And when he got done he said “I did it” almost with a shocked undertone. Apparently only half of the kids his age get that one (MacKay didn’t). He did perfect on his opposites and patterning, but his counting was a bit off. He did 1:1 (pointing to counting) but messed up at one point through that threw him off by one with that. And then when she asked him to put a certain number of blocks in her cupped hands he took that as an opportunity to instead try to pile ALL of the blocks in her hands. I wasn’t worried though as I know he can count 1:1 no problem – just probably didn’t understand the task. I also found it amusing that when she asked him relation questions (bigger, smaller, heavier, etc) he wouldn’t pick between the two items, and would instead mention something else. IE. What is bigger? A House or a ball? Oscar’s answer: A Giraffe. What a stitch. All in all, they both passed. Oscar got a 33/48 and MacKay got 40/48. But the real highlight was getting to see Miss Mary, Miss Michelle and Miss Peggy while we were there. I actually got teared up when I went to their room (they had asked that we stop by when we were done with the testing). I was greeted by a big hug from each of them and they were so excited to see the boys…. And it was just surreal being back in that room and seeing all the kids and parents in the room, doing art projects that we were doing in there last year. Those were such great teachers and the boys just loved them… such good times. The boys were a bit shy when they first saw them but they knew who they were and had little shy smirks on their faces when they greeted them and gave them big hugs.

Evie is still a little chatter box. I’m so amazed at these long 6 word sentences that come out of her mouth all the time. She’s so much further verbally than the boys were at this point. I know I’ve said this before….. but she just amazes me. Not sure if it is just that she’s the younger sibling trying to keep up with her big brothers or if she’s just sharp. We do need to work on counting and colors with her though. Now that she hears the boys counting up into the teens to their 20s and on… she has totally forgotten about the lower basic numbers and when she counts she starts at 15…16…17…18..19..20. She so wants to be like them and copies them all the time. It’s cute… but we need to rein her back in and start from the beginning as she’s getting a little ahead of herself. And colors just have her confused. Socially speaking, she’s become quite the little drama queen with some MEGA attitude. She CONSTANTLY fake cries (though squeezes out tears and builds up to actual crying) when she doesn’t get her way or is told No. I’d say she is really sensitive (which she might be) but I’m thinking it’s more that she’s figured us out…. She wants to be in control, wants to do what SHE wants, and isn’t going to put up with us trying to put boundaries around her. And she asserts herself quite well. Just the other weekend Chris took the boys with him to go scope out a place to put his deer stand (friend’s land) and then stayed at their house to watch the Vikes game. The boys had a blast over there playing with their two little boys. At one point one of their boys came to get Chris telling him that one of “the boys” wanted him downstairs. Came down to find MacKay on their elliptical machine just chugging along on it… smiling and full of pride. Hilarious. But while they were doing this I took Evie on a couple of shopping errands. OH MY GOODNESS. I do NOT want to do that again for a very long time if I can help it. I had this vision in my head of how fun and cute this was going to be – just us gals out shopping together. I rarely EVER get to go out with just one kid, and how special this was going to be….. how easy. SO NOT EASY. Evie wants to touch EVERYTHING and won’t stand for being guided away from things she shouldn’t be touching. Just walks at snail’s pace checking everything out and refusing to speed up the pace, or be picked up, or be in a cart. “I walk by SEWF!” I am getting so sick of that word…. SEWF. She also refuses to hold my hand (our rule) when out in the parking lot…. And while in the store doesn’t like to stay near me. At our last destination she wanted to try on some shoes so I had a couple pair for her to try on. She didn’t like either (why, again, am I letting a 2 yr old make decisions like this anyway?) and while I was sitting on the floor on my rump with shopping bags, boxes of shoes, HER shoes and my purse all around me she jumped up in her little socks and ran away from me as far as she could just giggling. I had to scurry to get all my stuff – leaving boxes and shoes sitting in the aisle. The only way I could find her was by listening for her giggling and singing. I physically (literally) had to tackle her to get a hold of her and get her. Almost had her twice before that but she dodged away from me each time. Unnnnghh. I wrangled her down to get her shoes on and that is when she threw that typical tantrum like I had just abused her. It was all I could do to get out of that store as quickly as I could. When we got out into the parking lot I told politely her in a very exhausted and disgusted tone “I am not going to take you shopping with me again Evie. You didn’t listen and you didn’t stay by me…. That is bad!” And this girl SO knows how to play us… she looked at me with this little victorious smirk, though trying to give me the pouty eyes and said….. “I sow-wy Mommy…. I so sow-wy, Mommy.” What a little brat! (said in the most adoring and loving manner) Really though – she looked and sounded like such a little brat when she said that. Didn’t seen even a drop of sincerity in that. But after all that…. I do have to say that when she is not being a little diva she is the biggest sweetheart. She has so much love in her. You just feel the love from her – she gives the BEST hugs (MacKay comes in close second, while Oscar is our best cuddler) and tells you that she loves you all the time. Every night before she goes to bed we go through this same routine. Daddy says good-night to her and has her turn on her music and turn off the light. Then I come in and take over. Thanks to the movie “The Help” I started having Evie stated those adorable little statements to me. “I am Kind… I am Smart….. I am Important!” And she says them to me every night now when I prompt her to start it. Then we further the reinforcing statements with… “You know what else you are? You are _______” and here we fill in things like: Funny, Beautiful, Wonderful, Amazing, Perfect etc. And at that point when I say each one she will point at me and say “You _______, too Mommy!” It’s so sweet. It’s like our little “thing” that we do. Then I lay her down and as I am covering her she always says “I love you Mommy” with absolutely no prompting. It is the best part of my day… the perfect end to it at least. The boys have started a little routine lately as well. They always take turns on turning on their CD player and turning off the light…. But lately after we have put them to bed, and then put Evie to bed they will call out (yelling) from their room not even 5 minutes after we’ve put them to bed. When I go back in it is the same conversation EVERY time. MacKay: “Mommy, I need to talk to you about something. I need to talk to you about the big red robot…. His name is Optimus Prime. He’s a good robot.” Then Oscar chimes in with “And the yellow one is Bumble-Bee. You know what he says? He says “I’m so excited….”” (from the movie where Bumble-Bee plays that to show his support for Sam going away to college while leaking windshield washer fluid from his eyes). Next statement comes from either one: “What is the robot that is black and silver and throws that guy [Sam] onto that thing?” I then explain that that is Megatron and that he is the bad robot that is not nice. Then they both start chattering about how …”the robots turn into cars that turn into robots, that is why they are Transformers….” Then I walk out of the room telling them that next time they go to Gma Chris’s house, Uncle Dennis can take those out and show them to them again. And just the other night as I walked out saying that I heard Oscar gasp and say “MacKay, did you HEAR THAT?” A while back while they were down at Gma Chris’s (while I was traveling) Uncle Dennis came over and brought out the box of old Transformers he had when he was little. The boys were told that they couldn’t play with them but they could watch Dennis show them how they transformed. But they were so gentle with them and SOOOOO interested in them that they eventually started playing with some of them and doing some of the basic transforming. My mom thought that would keep their attention for about 15 minutes but the three of them sat there for 3 hours checking them all out… and since then that is all the boys talk about. Is that when they get bigger they can play with Uncle Dennis’ Transformers. While back on the subject of the boys I do have to mention that MacKay lately has been an inquisitive little thing. Constantly wanting to learn more, to understand more. He’s constantly asking things like “What means different?” among other words that he wants to know what they mean. He hears a word that we say or on TV and wants to knows what it means and how it is used. He’s like a little sponge with stuff like this. He’s always trying to show us how much he knows… but then needs us to validate it by saying he is correct. And when we do, he will then say “Correct means right, Mommy… .right?” It’s so cute. And lately Oscar has been a bit drawn to Evie – which wasn’t the case before. MacKay was always the one that wanted hugs from Evie and such. Oscar barely acknowledged her existence at times. But lately he’s very protective of her. He even got on Gma Chris last week when Gma Chris was sternly telling Evie to get down off of something. Oscar interjected and said “Gma Chris don’t be mean to my girl!” When Gma Chris explained she wasn’t mad or being mean, that she was being stern as Evie wasn’t listening, Oscar again just said “Well don’t be mean to her, …. She’s my girl!” Awwwwwww

Gosh there is so much more to fill you in on with the boys and Evie… really with all of us. Quickly to touch on my work… I am loving it. I hate being away from the kiddos and feel like I miss out on so much, but I am also thinking this is good for them. MacKay constantly tells me that he misses me during the day… which tugs at my heart strings, but on the same note he doesn’t seem bothered about it when he says it to me. He’s very much a Mommy’s boy lately. But I love my coworkers, I really like what I am doing and think I am going to be very good at it. I had my first project assigned to me a bit ago and did my first project kick-off meeting just this last week up in Halstad, MN (on the MN ND border just 1 hour north of Fargo). It went incredibly well and I felt comfortable and relaxed the whole time which I wasn’t expecting. I now have been given another project to start up, this one will be in Kansas just south of Wichita. So will be travelling there sometime in the next couple months again. I’ve learned so much about how electric utilities work, their technology (current transducers, conduits, busses, capacitors, regulators, reclosures etc) WOW. It’s quite interesting actually and I’m enjoying learning more and more. My coworker that came along with me on my first kick off gave me a raving review which made me feel very proud of myself and sorta gave me that validation that going back to work was a good idea – like I have some value to add there. We also had our family photos taken last week and the weather totally cooperated which was good as it was raining on my way to the location and when we got there… but cleared up after we waited a few minutes. I’ve already seen the pictures online and will be buying the CD, so once I get that I will post some of my favorites. Now to get onto making that Xmas card … can’t wait. Lastly, I just said good-bye this morning to 8 of my wonderful friends that drove up here yesterday from the twin cities for a Ladies Night Out up here in Brainerd – Nikki Bjugan, Monica Nepote, Heidi Nygren, Ellie Hughes, Christine (Barbie) Kuntz, Nicki Flesner, Susan Link and Susan Chelte. What a fun bunch. I’d go on about how much fun we had….. but I think I’ll refrain at this point and just get onto the pictures.

Fall Fun – Leaves

Evie didn’t know what to think about all these leaves being thrown in the air and falling down all over her. Here she is all hunched up in defensive mode….. and the culprit (MacKay) of making her cringe

I know there are a lot of these but I just love all the different images I caught (and facial expressions) of Evie in these.

My kiddos

My boys

Had to put in this picture of MacKay…. Not that there is something great about what he is doing, or that he looks great…. But because this picture was taken by Evie. She pointed it, and she pushed the button and this is what she came up with which I think is quite interesting. And of course, just Oscar having a blast in a pile of leaves

A-Maze-n Pumpkin Patch – Saturday 10/08/2011
Playing in the “corn box” (vs sand box)

Oscar and his beloved wheel barrow. When we mentioned going here they remembered it from last year…. Talking about the big scary spider (blow up) and Oscar clearly recalled the wheel barrows they had there that he played with. And MacKay enjoyed playing with the dog they had there that wanted to incessantly play fetch with an ear of corn.

Bouncy Castle

My boys playing MY sport…… YAY – do I see some future soccer players here?

Evie with her little Wooly Bear caterpillar she found

About to enter the Corn Maze

Oscar showing Evie that the big hairy spider isn’t real – he’s so helpful with her lately, very protective.

Walking in the maze, getting lost at times….

The creepy guy. Evie couldn’t quite figure out what that was about, so MacKay tentatively came over to validate that it wasn’t real…..

Evie… the only one willing to sit here and pose with this character. Though we were able to get MacKay to pose with this harmless blow up character

Again, MacKay checking to see that this thing isn’t real and then posing with the skeleton cuz ”…..I have bones like this in MY body too…”

Evie pouting and refusing to go any further

Exiting the maze.

Evie with a gourd and bumpy pumpkins she wanted to take home with her….. and seeing what this wheelbarrow hype is all about

Loving the goats at the petting zoo…. Couldn’t pry MacKay away from the ducks they had there.

Some pictures of some drawings the kiddos did recently. I’m always so amazed at what they can do. It’s not like we’ve worked with them on drawing or practiced… but this is what they drew all by themselves when Gma Chris asked them to draw pictures of themselves. Some good fridge quality artwork.

The kiddos posing with some artwork they did with Gma Chris. They made tree structures with construction paper and drew the branches, then glued on the leaves of their choice. Then they also painted the little gourd/pumpkins we bought at the Pumpkin Patch for them to decorate.

Pictures of my ladies who I miss terribly. Thanks ladies for coming up and visiting. Will have to do this again soon.

Come back again soon…. Will post again when I get our family pictures from our photo shoot with Jon Arentz of Blackline Photo this past week.

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