Well, the boys turned 4 last Sunday (10/30). We had a day of fun the day before on Saturday 10/29 with family and friends going to a local waterpark and then back t our house for lunch, cake, ice cream and presents. Our friends the Williams's (Shawna, Marc, Jack, Wyatt and Tucker), as well as Gma Chris, Gma Diane, Devin (cousin), and the Hehir family (Jolene, Kelly and Brandon) all met us at the waterpark for some fun. It was such a blast. The boys were tentative at first but once they went down one of the waterslides with us they warmed up pretty quickly. Before long they were splashing all around and going down the kiddie slides by themselves. Then it was time for some tube slide fun and they couldn't get enough of that... rides with us... rides with their cousins. They were just having a bawl. I think the funniest was watching Oscar floating around on the lazy river (propelled by jets) uncontrollably.... the look on his face as he would float by was classic, he was so entertained by the fact that he wasn't able to do anything about it. Then MacKay got really ambitious after seeing me go down the body slide, he was adamant he wanted to try it. We measured him up and he was about 1/2 an inch shy of the required height but we decided to give it a try. Once up there he was begging me to go down with him.... I was able to talk the girl up there into letting me go with him the first time, which worked out perfectly. He just needed that one time with me and he was off and running. I think he honestly went up those stairs and down that body slide about 20 times that day. He was just non stop. It was funny because I had told him to keep his hands down by his side to keep his balance... which he did the first time on his own. But the next two times he confused "Down by his side" with "on his lap" and after the first turn he flipped over onto his stomach and went down the remainder of the ride feet first on his belly. Did the same thing the very next time..... so when he got back up there again I showed him again how to have his hands down by his side.... ON the slide to help him stay sitting. He was a champ from that time forward and like I said, couldn't get enough. It was sad though because eventually Oscar (who is about an inch or more shorter than MacKay) saw MacKay doing this and wanted in on the fun. One of his cousins took him up there to try it and the lady up there quickly stood him next to the ruler and found that he wasn't tall enough. I tried to go up there with him a bit later and see if she would let it (and him) slide given they were the same age and really the same size, just an inch difference. But she wasn't going to give on the subject so Oscar couldn't go. He took it really well though, just sorta let it roll off his shoulders.... though he still talks about it, the fact that he couldn't go down the body slide until he gets bigger (sad). We even got denied on Evie too. She was apprehensive about the whole tube slide at first when she was watching all of us come down it with the kids, but a bit later she wanted to give it a go. I took her up there and that same girl (Nazi) measured her up and found her 1 inch short of the requirement to go on the tube slide too. Poor thing had gotten so excited to do it... but again, denied and she took it like a champ too and just went about playing in the kiddie pool. We were there a good 3 hours before we started getting the kids all showered up and dried off to go home for the remainder of their party.
Back at home, Uncle Dennis and Uncle John joined us, and we had Porketta sandwiches, chips, salads, jello-whip etc.... and then dug into the presents. As always they got quite the haul, even Evie got some real gems (consolation presents) .... she got a play dress and some more jewelry from Gma Diane, a Tangled/Rapunzel baby doll from Gma Chris, and a Tangled/Rapunzel barbie doll from her brothers. The boys raked in some Transformer T-shirts (which they are dying to wear but are too big for them) and Stage 1 Transformers (Ironhide and Powerglide) from their Uncle Dennis. Immediately they wanted to rip those open and demanded that Uncle Dennis begin transforming them. To Uncle Dennis's surprise, even though he still to this day can remember how to transform all his old (circa '84/'85) transformers.... these were about to do him in. They even came with instructions but yet he and Daddy struggled to figure out how to get these things to transform. They don't make them (sturdy) like they used to.. They also got a 4 chain tire swing for their outdoor play set, tons of clothes, a pirate hat and a pirate jigsaw puzzle from Gma Chris. That jigsaw puzzle is a hit with them, especially MacKay... he's a nut for puzzles. Even at daycare, the times I have dropped them off or picked them up MacKay is almost ALWAYS playing with jigsaw puzzles. Guess we know what to get for Xmas now. They got wheelbarrows and a Deluxe Glider for their playset from Gma Diane.... they had a blast hauling away all the packaging/wrapping paper from their loot with those wheelbarrows. From Gpa Gary and Gma Terri (who were in Italy) they got Walleye Tshirts and some play cars.... and they got a RingToss game and a real football (request from Oscar) from the Hehirs. Lastly..... as a finale to the unwrapping of presents they opened up their Stage 2 Bumble-Bee and Optimus Prime Transformers from Evie (us). It was pretty much all over with at that point... I knew they would like those as they talk about Bumble-Bee and Optimus Prime all the time (usually at bedtime) but I didn't think it was going to take the cake. They haven't put those things down since. Constantly asking us to transform them back and forth. You had to see Uncle Dennis and Daddy figuring THOSE ones out. Before Uncle Dennis left I made him show me how to transform each of them back and forth. You had to see them struggling with the instruction when they were first trying to do it.... but now we're all pros at it. We have to be as they ask you to transform them every 5-10 minutes. Then we dug into the cake and sung Happy Birthday to them. They were pretty stoked to see that it was a Transformers cake (with Bumble-Bee and Optimus Prime figurines)... though in the pictures MacKay is crying because while we were getting them ready to blow out the candles he caught sight of Uncle Dennis and Daddy transforming some of their Transformers and he about had a conniption fit about it.
After cake, Gma Diane, Devin, and the Hehir's had to leave for another family function (baby shower in the family), but about 1.5 hours after they left Gma Bonnie and Gpa Dean arrived. As always, in tow with gifts. Bonnie had told me that the other weekend while they were visiting them (my girls' weekend) she had asked them what they wanted for their birthday... and apparently Oscar said he wanted a back-hoe and MacKay said he wanted a crane (which is what he got from them last birthday). So they got a remote controlled track-hoe and the Thomas TrackMaster Cranky (crane) and Flynn Rescue set. You should have seen them fighting over using that Cranky set.... lowering and lifting the crane with the remote.... and they keep trying like the dickens to pick up the boulders that came with their track-hoe. They also brought... and notice the common theme here..... Tangled/Rapunzel slippers for Evie. She was in Tangled Heaven that day. The rest of the night was spent transforming Transformers, putting together the pirate puzzle (about 15 times) and playing with all the new toys. Such a fun day
The next day, which was their actual birthday (Sun 10/30), we were spent and really didn't do much. Considered bringing the kiddos to some sort of Halloween event but couldn't muster up the energy. So instead we just relaxed at home and worked on our Jack-O-Lanterns. We asked the kids who they each wanted to work with and to our amazement there was no fighting about it... MacKay wanted to work with me, Oscar wanted to work with Daddy, and Evie wanted Gma Chris (big surprise - she's replaced both Chris and I)... so we got to work. OScar pickedo ut a ghost stencil from a book we had, MacKay picked a scary face stencil and Evie wanted Gma Chris to make a face that she pointed out in a book. They weren't at all hesitant about digging in and getting their hands dirty while scooping out all the innards of the pumpkins, they actually really got into it. They sat by us as we cut out the shapes to make their Jack-O-Lanterns.... even MacKay mustered up the ability to throw some attention into it and sat there for the entire hour PLUS that it took me to chisel out that masterpiece of mine...of course he had to pick the most intricate one. They were quite eager to see them all lit up too but didn't have any tea lights. So we improvised and stuck a few of my Aveda candles in there...figured even if we didn't have the best Jack-O-Lanterns on the block, we had the best smelling ones! So we lit them up and turned out all the lights in the house and they were in awe. Just loved them.
The next day (Monday) was Halloween so I got off work early to get the kids ready to hit a couple of local events up here. First we went to the Westgate Mall to go trick or treating at the store there, then to the Brainerd Dispatch. After that we headed home with the promise that the kiddos could keep their costumes on for the rest of the night and help give out Halloween candy to any trick-or-treaters that showed up at our house. We didn't get a lot of them so we ended up taking the kids across the street to a couple neighbors houses to give them the good old fashioned "door to door" experience, and let them dig into their Halloween candy/loot a bit before bed - not something I usually condone.
It's been a week now and they still ask if they can go trick-or-treating again, and are constantly asking us to morph their Transformers back and forth. Meanwhile Evie still wants to watch Tangled EVERY day and HAS to sleep with both of her "A'Punzos" every night (big and little as she refers to them). All of them got spoiled with Gma being up here for so long (staying over for their birthday, so we moved their "school" schedule around to make it more worth her time - basically they went Thursday and Friday this last week so she could stay through their birthday weekend and eliminate a trip up here). So that made it hard getting them back into the routine of going back to school. We're still constantly hearing things like "I don't wanna go to school today"..... "I don't wanna go for a long time"...."I don't want to sleep there"... etc. Hoping the transition to 3 days a week (January?) will be received well by them and that they are a little more accepting of this new way of life by that time. In the past week I also had a birthday... and didn't really feel any different about it until the boys wanted to know how "big" (old) 38 was. So I decided to count it out for them... first counting to 4 to show them how old they were for comparison, then counting up to 38. The looks on their faces when I went past 20 (almost doubled) was priceless... like they were just waiting for me to stop counting. And on my side of things, it made me realize just how many numbers are between 1 and 38... seems like there should be far less than there were when I counted it out that night. But Gma Chris helped them make me a birthday card - the boys are getting so good at writing their names now. And she asked them to say things about me that they could put in the card... things like I love you, you are pretty, thank you, and you are happy. I'm guessing the happy comment is because I tell the boys each night (whispered in their ear) "You make me SOOOO happy!" to which they usually retort with "Yeah, I DO!" But it was so nice to get that card... best present I got. And Evie still has her bedtime routines .. specifically telling us every night that she is Kind, Smart and Important... and then goes on with Amazing, Funny, Beautiful, Special, Perfect, Wonderful etc. It changes every day depending on which ones she happens to remember at the time.
Well that is about it for now.... just biding our time until the chaos of the holiday season sets in. Not sure of our plans for either (Tgiving or Xmas) yet, but I think this is the year we were going to implement our "Xmas at Home" tradition. We want to start a tradition of staying home every other year (vs taking the 4 day tour of MN every year) to give the kids the Xmas @ Home experience.... having Xmas Eve at home (which has always been my favorite of the days) and waking up Xmas morning to presents from Santa under the tree, sitting around opening them in our PJs etc. I can't wait... those were some of my fondest memories as a child. We're also implementing "Elf on a Shelf" this year.... bought it the other day at Target. Wanted to do it last year when I had heard about it, but every store was sold out of the materials by the time I got out to get it. I read the story to the kiddos the other night and we tossed around some names ..... what we were left with was Basil, Doogal, Chicken, Henry, Garbage-Dum-Vee-Wah (Oscar's ramblings), Tiny (MacKay), Buddy (Evie) among some other colorful names. We'll have to give that some more attention when we really get into it. But for now, here is the plethora of pictures.......
WATERPARK FUN - Rapid River Lodge (Comfort Suites) - 10/29/2011
Westgate Mall and Brainerd Dispatch
Evie with her A'Punzos - watching Tangled.... she cannot get enough
Stop by again soon