Bode and Courtney and Family and Kids and Outdoors08 Mar 2009 08:19 pm


Once again, I’m catching up after a big break. January and February are typically slow photo months. By April we should be picking up again. The ones above are from the Denver airport on our way back home after a vacation to Utah. The kids had lots and lots of fun grandmas and grandpa and cousins and an aunt and uncle. They visited the planetarium, aquarium, dinosaur museum, went bowling, to the park and more while Mom and Dad skied. Did the kids ski in Utah? Not this time. Figure there are plenty more chances for that in the future. We did take them out skiing at Welch Village yesterday. Both kids did great. Bode followed Aaron around and was so proud that he skied “green circles, blue squares, and black diamonds.” He said the green circles were his favorite. Their babysitter Nicole was home on spring break and was out skiing. Courtney did so well working with Nicole. She always flopped for me, but Nicole got her skiing by holding onto her hands. She even skied without holding on. Not bad for her second time at age 2. Photos are over in the gallery. I also posted a video of Courtney skiing. Enjoy.

Bode and Courtney and Family and Kids22 Dec 2008 09:15 pm

Courtney opens a present

Want to know a secret? We started opening presents already. We’ll be leaving on Christmas Eve and the kids will be staying at Grandma and Grandpa’s house after we visit for Christmas. We thought it would be better to spread out the opening and give them some time to play with the toys. Maybe some day we’ll wait until Christmas to open all of the presents. One of my favorite memories is getting to open one present on Christmas Eve. You had to think so hard about which one to open. It was always fun when someone would pick the present that you were giving them. We always waited until after church and dinner.

On Sunday, the kids and I played and played with some of the new toys. Courtney received a Barbie zoo doctor toy set. Bode was playing with it and was looking for the doll and cracked me up.

Bode: Where is that barber?

Me: What barber? (really confused)

Bode: That tall barber.

Me: (looking around and pausing) Oh! Barbie? (and I hold her up.)

Bode: Yeah.

Yep. This was our first venture into the world of Barbie. Probably the last time barber and Barbie will be mistaken.

Bode received a book from his school. It was called “School Bus” and is one we checked out from the library before. He had it for a day and I caught him in his room flipping the pages and sounding out the first word on each page to figure out which memorized phrase went with each page. He’s been very into letters, sounds and words lately. We read a lot of books to the kids and yesterday Bode decided he wanted to read the school bus book to Courtney. He sat down on the couch next to her and did a great job. I have a video of the second time he went through it for her. Today Courtney tried to sit on Bode’s lap, like she does for us, when Bode was reading it to her. However, his arms weren’t long enough to hold the book with her there. It’s a lot of fun when they are sweet.

Family22 Dec 2008 04:14 pm

christmas card 2008

Merry Christmas from our family to yours. The 2008 Christmas letter is now available for your enjoyment. Don’t forget that you can post comments regarding these updates. Don’t you always have comments to add to people’s letters?

Bode and Courtney and Family and Kids and Outdoors03 Aug 2008 04:09 pm

The table is kid size.

That was Bode’s comment today after we finished putting the picnic table together. Bode got it last year for his birthday from grandma and grandpa but it took us a while to get that project done. I had started it on Bode’s birthday 2 weeks ago, ran out of time, and then Aaron finished it up today. Courtney rushed over to it and both kids were enjoying it. It’ll be the right size to move into the screen house for eating dinner. Getting bear bait, putting more stones around the fire ring, pushing around gravel and other miscellaneous tasks filled up the weekend.

Two weeks ago when we were up, we didn’t get a lot done at the land, but that was ok. We had gone to Duluth on that Saturday to the air show. Both kids had a good time and Bode really liked getting to sit in the pilot seat of several airplanes. The rain during the Blue Angels performance at the end was a little disappointing, but it was a great show. Afterwards we went to Taste of Saigon with some friends for dinner. One of the guys working there liked to rub the top of Bode’s buzzed head! Bode didn’t seem to mind. Both kids were really well behaved and got to get a treat from the candy store across the hall afterwards. We went and stood under the bridge for moment since Bode loves it so and then we headed home. We picked up pizza and an ice cream cake on the way into town and had a small celebration before bed. As I was getting things ready in Courtney’s room, I told Bode to not bring his skis (his present he had just opened) into Courtney’s room. I turned and saw it was Courtney bringing Bode’s skis into her room! She then started standing on them. I’m hoping that excitement carries through to winter.

Bode and Courtney and Family and Kids12 Jul 2008 08:41 pm


We spent a long 4th of July weekend up in Moose Lake.  We took off after work on Wednesday and stayed up there through Sunday.  That was nice.  However, we spent less time on our property than normal.  We brought up our boat and docked it at Aaron’s aunt and uncle’s place.  It was a beautiful weekend for spending time out on the lake in and behind the boat.  It is a little lake, but it wasn’t very busy.  We got in some needed wakeboarding.  Bode even went for his first ride on the tube behind the boat.  He loved it!!  Courtney fell asleep nearly every time she got in the boat.  It must lull her to sleep.  Aaron’s aunt and uncle took good care of us and the others there, even having picked up DQ treats a couple days ahead so that we could eat Dilly Bars after the fireworks! 

The pictures above are from when we were waiting for the parade to start on the 4th.  We were sitting along the road and the kids kept wanting to go sit by the lake edge, which was just a few feet away.  It made a great background.  We had to walk past the line-up of floats on our way and had received beads from some nice ladies on one.  The kids got the hang of gathering the candy.  Courtney wanted to just eat it as fast as she could grab it.  However, once the candy was out of sight later, they completely forgot about it.

Bode and Courtney and Family and Kids and Outdoors28 May 2008 08:30 pm

Courtney and the treeCourtney loves to be outside.  She spent Memorial weekend enjoying being dirty in the woods.  We headed up to Mille Lacs Kathio State Park on Friday afternoon.  We were the first ones to arrive at the group campsite.  We set up the tent and cooked hotdogs over the campfire.  Natalie and her family and Zach and his family arrived later.  We enjoyed a relaxing night sitting around the campfire catching up with friends.  The kids loved sleeping in the tent and went to bed without too much difficulty.

The next morning we had breakfast and headed out for a 3.2 mile hike with all the kids.  Courtney was in the backpack carrier and Bode was a trooper.  We saw a porcupine waddling through the woods.  Jackson danced across the path when he saw a little snake.  We even saw a bald eagle.  Deer were spotted earlier and ticks were overly abundant.

After lunch, Ryan and Rebecca showed up.  We took the kids to a tree detective program at the park and then enjoyed some time at the playground.  Later we climbed the fire tower.  Most of us went all the way up.  Bode was a trooper again for that.  I think his legs were pretty tired at the end of the day.  Dinner got cut short a bit with an unexpected dog bite  (not our dog), but Jackson is doing well.  Check out Zach’s blog for the healing pictures.  That put a bit of a damper on the evening.

In the morning, we packed up and headed to Moose Lake.  We went to visit Aaron’s aunt and uncle and found his cousin’s family there.  Brent and Aiden came out to help move the camper and go 4-wheeling with Aaron and Bode.  They had a blast.  We got most of the remnants of the nasty old green camper cleaned up.   It’s cleared down to dirt in the area and ready for gravel to be delivered.  The plan is to make a nice gravel pad for the camper in the spot that overlooks the river.

On Monday, we headed home in the afternoon with tired and dirty kids.  They had a blast during the weekend and slept nearly all the way home.  We made it in time to pick up the dogs from the kennel by about 2 minutes.  Now it’s time to keep the laundry going and catch up.  I think I’ll stay home this weekend and relax!

Bode and Family and Outdoors11 Mar 2008 08:09 pm

Bode in a sleeping bagWe just got back from skiing in Utah.  That typically signals our wind-down to winter.  Yet again it’s true.  Although it’s kind of sad to be ending ski season, camping season is coming.  For us that means camper camping up on our land with satellite tv and microwave.  It also means tent camping.  We got a Campmor catalog in the mail last week and now we’re drooling.  Courtney hasn’t experienced a tent yet and it looks like her time is coming.  For the past several years we’ve planned a weekend of camping, usually around Memorial Day weekend with Aaron’s college roommates.  We usually head north and hang out with kids, dogs, marshmallows and college stories.  The talk for this year has started.  Now back to that catalog.  We found a good deal on a nice 20 degree kid’s mummy style sleeping bag.  We ordered it up for Courtney.  Bode has a nice mummy sleeping bag that he got a couple years ago from my cousin Rachel since Alex is waaaaay too big for it now.  Aaron found a good deal on a 6 person (gotta have room for the dogs too) tent that he’d been looking at.  He hasn’t bought it but I can tell he’s tempted.  Right now we’re thinking we might have to set up 2 of our smaller tents to fit us all.  We can’t seem to remember if we bought a 4 person tent or only a 3 person one last.  Either way, I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a lot of extra room last time.  We’ll see what happens.

The stores have started putting out gardening supplies.  Now that Aaron owns a tractor, I think we’ll be farmers.  Ha!  I don’t think he has any implements for it…yet.  I plan to grown my cilantro in a container at home, but we also bought some “shrubs”.  These shrubs are blueberry, raspberry and blackberry.  Yum!  We have some raspberry bushes on our land already but we want to add to them.  Couldn’t resist the package of plants at Sam’s Club. 

Bode and Courtney and Family and Outdoors13 Jan 2008 08:45 pm

Courtney playing

 Who says winter is no fun?  It takes a little longer to bundle up (sometimes longer than we stay outside), but they love it.  We tried to build a snowman with Bode, but the snow wasn’t any good for that.  It had gotten crusty.  Aaron tried anyway and ended up shoveling a snow mound in the middle of our front yard.  Bode called it a snowman.  It was more like a snow blob.

We’ve been trying to get Courtney to walk with us when we take the dogs for a walk.  She’ll do a little bit in her boots outside but usually asks to get carried after a couple of houses.

Bode has been out skiing a few times this season.  I took him out last Sunday.  I didn’t have much luck getting him to try without the harness and leash on, but he enjoyed going down the hills.  We were going down a hill at the end of the night and I could hear him singing up ahead of me.  That surprised me, but I love that he’s that relaxed.  He said he was singing the clock song.  (It goes “ding dong ding dong…”)  He is fun to ski with, but we both get tired fairly easily from the work that it takes.

Bode and Courtney and Family and Kids30 Dec 2007 09:01 pm

This year we decided to try something new.  We booked a trip to Florida with the kids for Christmas.  With no destination in particular in mind, we ended up in Indian Shores, a town along the shore between Clearwater and St Petersburg.  We stayed in a 1 bedroom condo at the Barefoot Beach Resort which was across the street from a beautiful beach.  We had a great time relaxing and enjoying the warm weather.  It was 85 degrees when we left!

The vacation had an interesting start.  On Saturday morning, we got the dogs to the kennel and were finishing up last minute details before heading to the airport when we realized that our flight was on Sunday!  Oops.  A day early is better than a day late and at least we realized before leaving for Minneapolis!  We laughed hard on this one and then called a babysitter and headed to ski patrol for the night since we weren’t gone yet.  We thought maybe Sunday was going to have better weather for a flight out, but we were wrong.  The drive to the airport was super windy and snowy with white-out conditions at times.  We got there with plenty of time, especially considering the flights were all being delayed.  Nothing was going in and out of the airport.  Eventually we got on our flight, but we knew we wouldn’t make our connection at the Dallas Fort Worth airport to get to Tampa.  We had anticipated arriving in Tampa at 12:30 AM but ended up arriving in Dallas at 12:00 AM with a flight to Tampa arranged for 6:25 AM.  We debated going to a hotel for those few hours or to stay at the airport.  Given the limited time, we  chose to stay at the airport.  We grabbed a couple cots and some blankets and tried to get the kids some sleep.  Bode settled in after a while, but Courtney had napped on the flight and was happily playing until nearly 3:00 AM when I finally strolled her to sleep.

    Courtney at DFW

Our flight in the morning went smoothly, but we found that 2 of our bags didn’t make it to Tampa with us.  They were still in Dallas and would be arriving on a later flight and be delivered.  Luckily the car seats made it.  Aaron’s clothes and some of Courtney’s were in the suitcase we had.  We picked up our rental car, a new Taurus X with 6 miles on it, and headed to the resort to check in.  We then headed out to pick up some supplies (a swimsuit for Bode, sunscreen, underwear, some Christmas presents and food).  We also picked up a pack ‘n’ play at Kmart since it was going to cost $75 to rent one for the week.  That’s crazy.  We bought a brand new one for $39. 

Our luggage didn’t arrive until after dinner.  Bode had no clothes to wear and was eating in just his underwear.

Bode dinner in underwear

We got back and hit the beach.  It was nice. Soft sand…like powdered sugar.  Over the next couple of days we went to the beach, to the pool, back to the beach, a couple naps here and there and back to the beach and then maybe to the pool.  Bode absolutely loved going to the beach and playing in the sand.  Mostly we went to the beach area across the street.  We did venture further north and south to check out the beaches in Clearwater and St Petersburg.  They were very similar.  On the last day we had to be checked out of the resort by 10 am but didn’t have a flight out until 7 pm.  We decided to head north to Honeymoon Island state park.  Courtney got a short nap in on the way and we went to the beach there.  It was mostly the same, but we liked this beach better.  There were no resorts lining it…just palm trees and nature.  We had lunch at a picnic table and a seagull swooped in and stole Bode’s sandwich.  He got sad, but at least it wasn’t the cheetos getting taken!  We stopped by the nature center and saw some interesting displays about tortoises and other wildlife and how the island came to be.  We also saw a group of baby sharks in the shallow water nearby.  We weren’t in the water there.

Christmas at the beach

Christmas morning was low key and fun.  We had stockings and opened presents and then headed to the beach!  Lunch was leftover pizza and sandwiches, but we had a nice steak dinner later in the day.

Given all of the excitement getting to Florida, our trip back was rather uneventful.  We had a planned layover in St Louis due to frequent flyer mile availability for travel.  We had a room at the St Louis Airport Marriott booked.  It was a super quick shuttle ride over there.  The first thing Bode noticed when we got to the room was that it didn’t have a kitchen!  We ordered a pizza from room service and the kids got complimentary meals, which they ate voraciously.  It was a nice place to stay.  The night of sleep was way better than staying on a cot at an airport!  We made it home.  No more flights with Courtney on the lap.  She’s a wiggler and will definitely do better if strapped into her car seat. 

Aaron already asked on the way home about where we should go for Christmas next year.  Mexico?

I added lots of pictures over in the photo gallery.

Bode and Courtney and Family and Kids19 Dec 2007 05:16 pm

bode & courtney

Welcome to the Hislop family Christmas letter.  We hope you’re having an enjoyable holiday season so far.  It’s been cold and snowy…just what we love.

We started off the year with a bang.  In January, Aaron went up to Moose Lake to check out a land auction with his uncle.  We’ve always talked about having some land in northern Minnesota some day.  Although Aaron said there was a 98% chance that he was just wasting his time, he went up to get a feel for how these things worked.  He called me later in the day to say we were now the owners of 145 acres of property, including 2 trailer homes, a bridge and 900 feet of river frontage.  In February, we went up with the kids and got to see what we really bought.  We drove 4-wheelers around in the snow and checked out the property.  We parked our camper up there in the spring and spent a lot of weekends there with the kids.  Aaron spent a few more without us working on projects and mowing the lawn.  Bode loved hiking, fishing and stomping through puddlesCourtney rode around in the front carrier and graduated to the backpack.  The camper was a little small with the pack n play, 4 people and 2 dogs, but it was a good time.  Wednesday and Pugsley loved having freedom to run in the woods.  Talk about a couple of dirty dogs!

Ski patrol at Welch Village still fills our Saturday nights during the winter months.  In February, we made a trip out to Utah.  Aaron and I got some skiing while grandma and grandpa watched the kids.  Although he didn’t get to ski in Utah, Bode got 10 days of skiing last season.  He already has 2 days this season.  He loves riding the chair lift and listening to the wheels squeak.  It’s wonderful to have him interested in skiing.  Hopefully, we can get Courtney at least 1 day by the end of the season.  She’s been walking for a few months and should be a little steadier and stronger by then.  It could get really interesting next year with both kids. 

In August, we took a road trip with the kids out to Island Park, Idaho.  We spent a week with Aaron’s family vacationing in the Yellowstone area.  It took a little bit of time, but we eventually saw plenty of animals at the park…grizzly bears, elk, moose, bison, antelope and more.  We visited the popular spots, such as Old Faithful, but one of our favorite memories is a short little hike behind the Roosevelt Lodge where we walked to a waterfall and found wild raspberries along the trail.

Although busy with a lot of projects this summer, Aaron managed to squeeze in 2 days of skydiving for a total of 15 jumps.  That’s not much, but he plans to get serious with a team again next year.  I’ve yet to decide whether I’ll be jumping then or not.  I went to Duluth for the NorthShore Inline Marathon in September.  It was 27 degrees when I headed there that morning.  There was also a vicious headwind the whole way.  It wasn’t the best of conditions, but I finished it and then proceeded to sign up to do it again next year!  Aaron watched the kids while I went and did that and then went hunting as soon as I was back.  Hunting and preparing for hunting was a big activity this fall.  Aaron got a lot of help from his uncle when it came to baiting bears.  He hunted for bear, deer, grouse and woodcock.  No new animals for the walls this year!

It’s been fun to watch the changes in the kids throughout the year.  Courtney has gone from a little pipsqueak who didn’t crawl yet to a walking girl who is starting to talk and let’s her opinion be known even without words.  Bode’s language has been the major change in the past year.  We’re really enjoying having conversations with him now.  He says the funniest things.

Another year has come and gone.  For those of you that we’ve seen this year, I hope we’ll be able to spend time again next year.  For those who it has been a while, maybe the upcoming year will bring us together.  We wish you and your families the happiest of holiday seasons.  Stay warm and enjoy each other!

The Hislops

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