Monday, April 26, 2010

A Perfect 10

James, Michael, & Ryan are ten months old. They are always on the move - in opposite directions. This month's photo was only thanks to the efforts of Momo & Aunt Faith. I'm not sure how much longer they will allow me to contain them within the big chair. There are way too many places to go.
Despite their youth, bribery is an option, but you'd better have a quick trigger finger on that camera.
"Mom, why do you look so crazy? I've only tried to jump off this chair 20 times in the last 3 minutes."
No, really, we'd rather be on the floor playing with our toys. Come on guys, let's go. She can't catch us all.
Momo & Aunt Faith use reason and restraint in the quest for the perfect picture.
James, the no longer toothless wonder.
Michael, still the love bug with the good hugs.
Ryan the Red - explorer extraordinaire.
Momo & her main men.
The "handlers" pose for a picture with the stars of our show.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

In the Name of Love

On April 24, 2009, I had a doctor's appointment in Grapevine. I'd been home on bedrest for about 10 days, and I was whining to Bob about being cooped up in the house. He spent most of his time trying to make me follow the doctor's orders, but despite his best efforts, I couldn't just lay around all the time (I tried, I really did, but dishes were in the sink and I was lonely on the couch by myself). I thought since Bob was driving and paid the copays at the doctor's, I'd leave everything at home, including my purse. It was a normal appointment, but while the nether-regions were being probed, I had a couple of contractions. Dr. G asked us to wait out in the waiting room while he talked to Dr. P, and in a matter of moments, I was being wheeled down the hall and admitted to the hospital - without an ID or an insurance card.
I'm pretty sure the next eight and a half weeks were the most frightening and challenging weeks of my life. At 25 weeks, I knew that my babies could not be born yet. They needed to cook a lot longer. So, I did what they told me to do. I sat, got poked and prodded, collected buckets of my own urine, learned to regulate my turb pump (and learned to trust Bob to help me change my site), and spent endless hours with my bare belly covered with jelly and monitors.
This face was worth it. As he gradually moved closer to my left thigh and was so low that they had to look at the top of his head vaginally, I became extremely connected to tiny little Baby A. If I spent too much time on my left side, he'd kick me until I would turn over (quite a feat for a woman the size of a beached whale).
This face was worth it. Michael, Baby B, was known as butt-boy. He'd curl up in a ball and push his bottom against my hand as he moved across my right side. I spent endless hours just patting his tiny little tush.
This face was worth it. My sweet little C-Monkey was very elusive. He sat at the top of my belly right below my chest, right next to my heart - both literally and figuratively. He never stayed on the monitor. I think my fingers still have cramps from trying to keep his little squirmy self on the charts. Ironic that he's still keeping me hopping.
Despite the fact that I'd prefer to pluck my own eyeballs out rather than ever be pregnant again, every single second was worth it. My three little men are absolutely amazing, and I can't even begin to imagine my life without them. It's true that your life experiences shape who you are, and a large part of who I am today was formed in room 213 at Baylor Grapevine. I learned there how to be patient, how to trust others, and that my husband is more amazing than I realized - he's my rock & the best dad in the world.

Monday, April 19, 2010

It's the Small Things

James, Michael, and Ryan have gone mobile. Everyone keeps saying, "Just wait until they start walking." Hmph, I'm pretty sure I'm doing a fair amount of chasing them down now. One of their favorite places to hang out is at the window. Not that there is anything worth looking at, but the windows make great noises when you slap them, and the sills are perfect for attempting to climb.
The boys LOVE the animals' water dish. I think that Ryan might be Ponce de Leon looking for that fountain of youth. That boy has a homing device located in the water bowl. I bought a couple of gates off of Craigslist, but neither of them work, and it's pretty difficult to completely block off the kitchen. I'm currently using baby jail in the gap as I have realized that the baby jail concept is fantastic in theory but horrible for someone who needs large, open spaces free of clutter.
Another source of endless entertainment is the dog bowl. The boys love to spin it around on the tile and make lovely noises with it. While Ryan heads to the water, James goes for the bowl, and Michael is usually stuck holding on to some piece of furniture (he hates to let go and fall, so a lot of times, I have to move him or he'll stay in the same place for hours).
Duke is not so fond of the mobile children. Not only have they invaded his bed, taken charge of his bowl, put their grubby hands in his water, they also invade his personal space. This prompts barking from Duke and yelling at Duke from Bob and I. Despite these inconveniences, Duke still loves cleaning up after meal times and getting good pets from the boys.
Lately, my very well behaved sons have decided that they would rather flip flop in the diaper changer instead of laying in one place and let Mom do clean up. This has made for some creative diapering. Standing, reclining on one side, bottoms up are all new ways of having one's diaper changed. James is by far the squirmiest. I've found that distractions are key. Debi gave us a fantastic lady bug & caterpillar brush & comb set that is very exciting to chew on/bang on the wall. The electrical nasal aspirator that sings is also in high rotation as are the various creams located in the pockets near the wipes. What can I say, I change tons of diapers a day, and I'm desperate to make my life as easy as possible.
While some one is "on deck," usually the other two are hanging out in the playpen below. It's great excitement to jump and make the playpen squeak.
Since Bob has been home for a few days, the boys have taken to escaping from the living room in stealth mode, bypassing the stairs (which all of them are learning to climb - James can make it up 5 steps before he stops), and heading straight for Daddy in the office. Bob says that the smiles on their faces as they round the corner of his desk and see him is just priceless. I'm not sure how much work Bob is able to do, but the boys sure do love spending time with Daddy. I mentioned closing the doors, but no one seemed to find that an appealing idea.In the last few weeks, our schedule has changed a bit. We have gone to three meals a day, and our after lunch time in the jeeps has become very irregular. The boys do love their jeeps, but lately, their favorite thing to do is rip off the mirrors and throw them on the floor. (Note James has completely denuded his jeep). The boys are sleeping until about 7:30 or so, and they are content to stay in their room until 8. They get a bottle, play a little, and then we eat breakfast. Lately, they would rather feed themselves, so I try to keep their trays well stocked with tasty finger foods. After breakfast, they get clean diapers and clothes, and then we play until 10:30 or 11 (during which time they seem to open the poop gates - today, I changed James 3 times between breakfast and lunch, Ryan twice, and Michael once). They usually take a nap in the three playpens that are in our bedroom. I've decided that I'd rather have the boys in the bedroom during the day. It makes it easier to check up on them as I do housework and/or sit on the couch and recover from the morning. After naps, it's time for more bottles and lunch, diapers, playing, and attempting to visit Daddy. Sometime around 3 or 4 they will take another nap, but they are taking such long morning naps that it's rare to get two naps. About 4:30, they have another bottle and we start dinner around 5:30 or 6. Some days we take a bath, and then they are in bed by 7 pm. They are sleeping through the night perfectly. I'm pretty sure I couldn't have asked for better kids.
Our little monkeys keep us hopping, but I sure wouldn't trade it for the world. Strangers always seem to think that we are overwhelmed by our kids, but really, our days are busy but they run pretty smoothly, and I never feel like they are unmanageable. Although I have to admit, some days by 7 pm I'm so tired I can't think, but it's worth it.

The Main Attraction

A couple of Sundays ago, Bob was in Arizona, and I had been cooped up in the house for a while. The longer between outings, the more I talk myself out of them. I just start to think about how much work it is to get things together, get the boys in the car, and all of the challenges that crop up when you are out and about. I decided that I had to go to church - my soul needed a little bit of churching. I woke the boys up early & fed them, brought them all into the bathroom while I showered (where James & Ryan managed to flood the entire bathroom with the dog water), got us all dressed and in the car. About 2/3 of the way through the process, I almost threw in the towel, but we made it out and to church on time. Lori & Arthur were in the nursery, so along with Christy & Eric, we got all of our kids to communion. It made me feel so great to have such good friends who were willing to help without even asking. After church, the boys and I did a little shopping trip to Sams Club. The two seater basket really worked well. James rode in the back with the groceries. The key to a successful shopping trip is food. I got the giant bucket of animal crackers, and we shopped quite successfully if you factor out all of the gawkers and people who stopped us to talk. After our trip, the boys and I headed home to unpack the groceries. We called Grandma & Faith on our ride home to invite them to go with us to the Main Street Arts Festival.
We were really excited to see some art. I have been itching to take the boys to the art museum, but it's never seemed to work out. Main Street was PACKED. It was ridiculous how many people were there. I've been to the Main Street Festival several times, and I never remember having such a hard time seeing things and so many people. Of course, I wasn't pushing a triple decker the last time I went.
The boys loved looking at all the people, and all of the people seemed to love looking at the boys. I couldn't believe how ridiculous it was, and the stupid questions that were asked. We ducked into a gap between tents to check out some booths nearby, and the lady next to us just about had a mental break down watching her stuff. You can see her hand "rescuing" her piece from us. I can't tell you how happy I was to move on from her lackluster art and her eagle eye.
Perhaps the best part of the outing was the food. Gotta love chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick. I want to say we had a good time, but really, I hated every second of having to discuss my reproductive life with strangers. The art was nice, but I think it will be a few years before we return - maybe when the kids can walk and we can pass through the crowd anonymously.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Opening Day

Today was the first Opening Day Bob has missed in something like 20 years. I'm pretty sure that a little piece of his heart died today as he drove to New Mexico for his appointment tomorrow. The boys are much too little to actually go to the games as of yet. Bob has repeatedly emphasized that a boy's first trip to the ballpark must be memorable - it's something he will remember his entire life. Despite this banishment from the park, the boys and I pulled up in front of the tube and watched the game. The first part of the game we spent eating lunch in the kitchen, but from the sound of things it was a pretty good thing that we weren't watching too closely. As Daddy drove, he listened to the game on XM, so we kept in touch (depending on whether or not he was in an area that got a signal). After lunch, we made it back in time to watch the Rangers tie things up.

All that excitement prompted the boys to take a play break, but we were really disappointed when the Blue Jays took the lead.

Ryan spent most of the game glued to the TV. He is his father's son. We were all very excited when the Rangers won the game. I've been trying to teach the boys to say baseball so that their Daddy will be impressed when he comes home, but we might just have to settle for bababababa.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Blessings

The Newhouse Family poses for a picture at church on Easter. Thanks Moore Family for taking our pic. By the time we took pictures, the boys had lost their shoes and hats and were pretty grumpy with Mommy for forgetting their pacifiers at home.
Dressed for church, the boys eagerly anticipate their baskets which the Easter Bunny left on the highest counter in the house to protect their contents from Duke. (Duke had previously sniffed out the chocolate bunnies in the upstairs closet and maimed one, so the Bunny had to be extra careful).
The baskets arrive and the boys are ready to check it out, especially James. I had to move his basket out of reach in order to get this picture.
James looks like he should be in some wacky comedy from 1920.
Ryan attempts to pull the head off of his pinwheel - he has perfected this action. Now he likes to throw the pinwheel part on the ground and try and give himself a tonsillectomy with the stick.
Michael loses his hat and finds his pinwheel.
James checkin' out the goodies up close and personal.
Ryan studies his basket while Michael continues to talk to his pinwheel.
Mommy and her handsome boys - her best Easter Blessings!
After church, we did a video chat with Grandma & Grandpa Newhouse. Michael eagerly anticipates his turn to talk. The boys don't wave bye-bye, but they do wave hello.
James and Mommy. At church, I started stealing his pacifier, and he would laugh, grab it, and put it back in his mouth. Pretty fun game.
James & Michael talk to the grandparents.
Daddy's boys. The kids love to sit on Daddy's lap. They really miss him when he's not home, but we talk about and to Daddy all the time. This morning, Bob called and I put him on speakerphone. As soon as Ryan heard his voice, he said "DaDa" and clapped his hands. It made his mommy tear up just a little. Come home soon Daddy, there are poopy diapers and love awaiting you.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

On the Hunt

Our Easter holiday kicked off on Thursday afternoon when Aunt Faith helped us decorate eggs. She made an egg for everyone in the family and decorated them with stickers. She's got definite egg decor skills.
On Saturday morning, we headed to church for our first egg hunt. (Or egg sit as the case may be). The boys wore their bunny ears from Aunt Mel. Ryan preferred to chew on his, but Michael and James humored Mommy with a picture.
Quinn, Chloe, and Eric met us at church. There was a tasty breakfast (James is using the table cloth to get closer to Daddy's orange juice cup), an egg carton to decorate (Quinn & Chloe did an excellent job decorating a carton for each of the boys), an Easter story play, and the hunt!
Michael hangs with the Gabriels while we all wait for the main event. Our church did the coolest thing - they had the kids collect numbered eggs. It made for a much nicer event - no egg bullies.
Michael finds the "precious."
Yea! The precious is open!
James gets in on the egg chewing action.
Ryan dumps all of his eggs out so he can see them better.
James tries to guess what's inside his egg.
The boys enjoy their eggs which were graciously collected for them by some of the wonderful youth that Bob and I get to teach.
Although he helped hide the eggs, Jason has difficulty finding a number 12. He settled on a 3 because he worked 4x harder than any of the kids looking for it. (One of the little kids brought him a 12 a couple of minutes later). Despite his troubles, we still appreciated his hard work finding eggs for the kids (I certainly wasn't looking forward to hunting eggs for three kids).
The boys enjoy the grass, the weather, and the eggs. Ryan spent most of his time finding things to put in his mouth - bark, leaves, grass, etc.
Ryan finds something tasty on the ground.
Michael enjoys dumping the eggs out of his basket.
Ryan decides he'd like to have Michael's basket.
Quinn and Chloe enjoy posing for a picture with James. It was a beautiful day, and a good time was had by all.