Sunday, December 18, 2011


In October, Bob's parents departed Jacksonville to go stay with his sister for a while, and for the first time, the boys and I learned what it was like to be just us chickens at home.  Bob broke us in easy with a short five day trip, then he was home for a week.  The following week, he left for an eleven day trip.  I've never run a marathon, but I'm pretty sure that eleven days on your own with triplets is a similar test of endurance.
We did surprisingly well.  The boys did their normal things like ride the horse (although James modified this look - here he is wearing a "helmet" later he added sunglasses for goggles, a fedora, and a drumstick all topped off with his helmet).
They watched a lot of TV.  Our new favorites are Word World and Dinosaur Train.  TV is a wonderful babysitter allowing certain mothers to fix lunch and dinner and clean up without too much interference.
Michael and his blanket snuggle up on the couch.  All the boys love their blankets.  James and Michael carry them everywhere, and Ryan has demolished his tag and now chews on a corner of his blanket.  It is always wet and brown from too much chewing.  I find it disgusting, but it makes him happy.  I do my very best to make sure our blankets take a bath at least once a week.
We spent a lot of time playing with our toys in the play room.  We also video chatted with Daddy and various grandparents to break up the monotony of being on our own.
We painted.  Some of us painted ourselves, others of us painted the papers.
James managed to paint himself some red lips and an unusually impressive eyeliner on one eye.  I think I could take some makeup tips from him.
Ryan enjoyed using his paint brush, but he also perfected the art of finger painting.
We spent lots of time at home, but we also tried to fill up our days with other outings.  We went to the dentist (let's just say it was a wee bit nuts), we went to the library to see Ms. Kim, we went to a multiples club meeting, to the zoo, to the park with some of the other Buffet Crampon families, and we managed to catch ourselves a cold.
Ryan has one love - doing whatever he can to entertain himself.  There is absolutely nothing he won't climb, push around, remove, flip over, or in whatever way necessary manipulate to his advantage.  Although his constant need to be in my business is sometimes frustrating, he is the best helper and an excellent vacuumed.
The king at his post despite my attempts to hide the step stool, he still managed to find a means to play in the water.
TV time in our chairs.  Michael is still attached to his hat.  He's rarely without it, and when it's been a couple of days since it's been out in the open (it sometimes hides) he greets it like a long lost friend.
Michael chomping on some goldfish.  We had to make a couple of grocery store stops, and the boys did great.  Our store of choice is Walmart.  I currently rate my grocery stores by how accommodating the baskets are, and Walmart is by far the winner.  It's a giant basket but there are three seat belts.
As always, we love our corns.  Ryan especially likes to watch the popcorn explode into tasty morsels.  He is most fond of the popcorn popper because you can see the kernels pop, but he'll settle for microwave popcorn if necessary.
One of the favorite hang outs is Mommy and Daddy's bed.  James loves to take me by the hand, crawl in the bed, and demand that I put on "tariat" (Secretariat - his favorite movie - he even watches the parts with the human drama).
For a while, I had the Lion King disc in the bedroom, and we spent quality time watching it.  The boys love to sing along with the songs.  Michael likes to sing Hakuna Matata, James is all about the Circle of Life, and Ryan does a great rendition of the opening Swahili chant.
Perhaps the craziest thing I did while Bob was out of town was do a double header of library time followed by the zoo.  We did really well until the last thirty minutes or so.  We visited the penguins, and the boys remembered the great play area nearby (it's two levels, so I just didn't feel confident letting them loose with only one watcher) and flipped out on me when I refused to let them play.  I ended up pushing the double stroller with Michael and Ryan in it while James sat on the handle and held onto me crying the entire way out of the zoo.  Despite our less than stellar end, it was a great time.
Ryan enjoying the beautiful day and the elephants.
James and Michael checking out the strength of the wires keeping them out of the elephant enclosure.
The boys and I did really well.  We did all kinds of fun and interesting things and even survived a bout of illness thanks to the kindly efforts of Bob's friend Cliff and a bottle of nyquil.  At the end of the trip, I'm not sure who was more excited Bob or the kids and I. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Out and About in Jacksonville

Bob and I recently purchased a membership to the zoo, so the boys and I have made a few forays into the wild.  Our first trip, we went as a family and had a great time.  Then the boys and I went on our own and Daddy met us on his lunch break.  It's so nice to live close to civilization.  After so many years of living in the middle of nowhere, we are really taking advantage of being right in the middle of the action.
One of the challenges of going out with the kids is finding time to go to the restroom with three little helpers.  Sometimes it must be done, and I am very fond of large stalls and seat belts.
My helper pushing the stroller.  The boys all took turns pushing the stroller with me.  I've found that the double stroller works very well for an outing because someone is always willing to walk, and oftentimes, they all walk while I push.  The monkey/dog backpacks work great for keeping everyone together except for at the end of an outing because the kids tend to weave back and forth and get all tangled and it takes a huge amount of time to move just a few steps.
Checking out the silverback gorilla.  The kids were really impressed that he was eating lettuce and carrots.  Now, when you serve carrots, Michael will say he's eating them like a monkey.
Ryan working the sink.  He is always willing to mix it up.
James turns Daddy's trombone stand into a microphone.
The boys are absolutely in love with airplanes, so it just made sense to take them to the air show.  They held it on the NAS Jax base, and I was shocked at how huge it is.  We drove forever to get to the parking lot.  It was a rare cold day in Jacksonville, and we should have dressed the kids much warmer (and Daddy).
In spite of the chill, the boys were so excited to run around and under the planes.  We wanted to take them inside a couple, but the lines were crazy long and our attention span just isn't that great.
We tried to check out the kids area, but it was very, very busy, and Bob and I didn't think that our boys would grasp the concept of waiting in line then only being able to jump for a few minutes before getting back out.  So, we headed over to watch the planes.
It was very loud and cold.  The boys were not so impressed by the noise.  We had some earplugs, but their tiny ears made it almost impossible for us to keep them in place.  The cold combined with the loud planes made us decide to pack up and head to the car before the Blue Angels.
We were able to make it to the car, warm up, get out of the wind, and listen to the announcer on the radio.  We were far enough away that the boys just enjoyed watching the planes and weren't so freaked out by the noise.  Sadly, we waited just a few minutes too long and it took us over an hour to get out of the parking lot.  We forget how much time it takes to get three little men into car seats when they are not ready to sit in them.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pumpkins on Parade

Since it's not quite Thanksgiving, I feel as though this post isn't too overdue (the lies we tell ourselves).  This year, trick or treating was so much fun!  Thanks to an over abundance of Halloween themed episodes of our favorite shows (which were shown over and over and over again), the boys, especially Ryan, were very excited about Trick or Treating.  Here they are posing with their pumpkins before taking off to score a neighborhood's worth of candy.
As always, I wanted to make sure the kids costumes embraced a theme.  We planned on being a rocket, a pirate, and an alligator to embrace the culture of our new home.  Sadly, the rocket was much to easily removed and a substitute fireman was purchased as a back up.  Michael was the alligator.  He like to put the hat on and off, but mostly it was off.
James was our pirate.  We bought this costume from ebay and it was a little small, so James laid claim, and we went with it.
Our trio headed out with their buckets.  It took about two seconds for the kids to realize that if they said trick or treat, they'd get candy.  By the end of the night, they were pros.  We hit all of the houses in our little neighborhood (we live in a cul de sac of cul de sacs), and by the time we made it home, those pumpkins were heavy.
James cracked us up.  Bob took his picture with the flash, and he acted like he'd been shot, throwing his arm over his face and stumbling backwards.  He was so dramatic that the family behind us cracked up.
It was a long walk, and before the night was over, everyone took a little ride.  Ryan's costume was the worst.  Since it was a one piece, he kept slipping all over.
James took a ride with Daddy.  He refused to let go of his pumpkin.  It's behind Bob's back.
Once we made it home, we dug into that candy.  They each had several pieces, and since then it has migrated around the house in a silver bowl that eagle eye Ryan keeps looking for.  I figure in the future, we probably will have to give them more of a cut of their candy, but for now, I'm trying to keep them from making the mistakes of their parents.  I know that fruit is just as sweet as candy but for some reason, I never make the right choice.  Hopefully if I push the fruit and limit the candy, they'll find fruit perfectly satisfying.  One can hope, right?
Ryan eating one of many suckers.  He scoots his step stool all over the house searching for happy halloween candy.  He'd eat the whole bowl in one sitting if I let him.
Note, the sweet tooth has an eye on Michael's candy.  Michael doesn't always like to eat candy.  He prefers things like chicken and yogurt.
Although, the occasional M&M is pretty tasty delicious.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Swashbucklers & Buccaneers

It seems like Sunday after church is our time to do things as a family.  Bob and I like to spend Saturday doing nothing (like mowing the lawn, playing with the kids, and laundry), but on Sunday's we get up and go to church, and once the kids are in the car, the hard part of leaving the house is over.  Last Sunday, Matt & Maggie invited us to come with them and Miss Ella to the Pirate Gathering in St. Augustine.
Having been to St. Augustine recently, Bob and I loaded up two strollers and were ready for action.  It ended up being a small field with lots of stuff for the kids.  The first thing we saw were the bounce houses.  It ended up being a pretty good deal - $5 for all you can jump.  Bob and I were both afraid that  the money would be wasted on Ryan, but after a few in and outs, he decided to bounce.
Ry really liked the Ocean Adventure bounce house.  It was open at the top and had lots of things to climb on, so it was right up his alley.
James, as always, could't be coaxed out of the bounce house for anything, although, when I told him it was time to go and he needed to come with us, he hopped right out.  I was truly impressed at how compliant he was.
After leaving the bouncing houses, we headed over to the ponies.  This is the face of James learning that we would not be riding the ponies.
Miss Maggie made it all better by purchasing some pony feed and passing it out.  The boys and Ella really loved feeding the ponies.
 Ryan kept trying to feed the working ponies as opposed to the two who were sitting in the pens nearby.  I assume it was his shameless ploy to entreat them to give him a free ride.
Michael also enjoyed feeding the ponies.  I was a little concerned about him trying to hop the fence and get some pony action.  This is the hat he must wear when riding his horse at home, so since he was wearing the proper hat, I was concerned he was not going to leave peacefully.
Ella's got her choice of boyfriends, but here Ryan applies for the job.  They are only a couple of months apart in age, but Miss E is already learning how to use the potty.  I keep asking the boys if they want to poopoo in the potty like pirates (I've even bought pirate hats to use like it says to in our book), but so far, our forays onto the potty have been either post peeing in the tub (Ryan mostly) or when they just feel that the toilet needs a good flushing.  I'm sure it'll come in time.  I'm not too worried about it, but since Michael still needs to be taped into his diaper to prevent poop disasters and reckless peeing during nap time, I think we still have a ways to go.
Of the boys, Ryan is by far the most cautious.  He doesn't really approach strangers and is pretty shy.  James, on the opposite end of the spectrum, will go up to just about anyone, grab their hand and try and lead them around.  Usually, he is so cute that he cons whomever he's chosen as a victim pretty easily.
Matt & Maggie got the boys a pirate sword to get them in the mood for some swashbuckling.  They loved them, and before we even made it to the gathering, a couple of swords had their tips and handles well chewed.  Here, the kids paused to watch a three piece pirate band and some very mobile belly dancers.  I wish I could have gotten a picture of the talent, but trying to stage a photo op is just not something that happens very frequently in our on the go family.
After the roving band of musicians, we headed to the tent to watch the pirate band play Scottish tunes.  It made me wish that John & Lainie could have been there.  I enjoyed the band.  I can't speak for the rest of the adults (of the four of us, I'm probably the only one whose musical knowledge is limited to the spectrum of George Strait to U2 and who has only recently been able to identify the specific sounds instruments in a rock band make - don't even attempt to get me past the tubas in other types of music).  I think it ended up being a good thing we only stayed for a couple of songs, because on the next peppy tune, I was going to drag my boys on the dance floor and show them a good time.  Sadly, Bob doesn't even pretend to want to dance with me, so I've got to train the next generation up right.
Ryan and I listening to the music.  He loved watching all the pirates, and the occasional cannon fire didn't seem to bother him.
Michael loved his sword.  He spent lots of time swishing it about in the general direction of his brothers heads.
Michael and Ella show us how to jump, jump.  Michael was fascinated by the mesh doors that kept the kids from falling out of the bounce house.  He might just grow up to be like his Grandpa Robin and spend some time as a bouncer.  Of course, now that I've typed that I might want to reconsider.  It probably would not mean that he had chosen a proper path to stratospheric success if he's a bouncer at some night club despite the added benefit of making his grandpa proud.
Maybe he'll be a trainer at Sea World.  Although, according to the local news, that is a pretty dangerous career path as well.
Perhaps, he'll move to Somalia and become a pirate.  Hmm, not sure I like that option either.  I think those automatic weapons might be too much temptation for my toy terrorist to handle.  Guess that means he's back to lawyer like Uncle Zach or some such "respectable" profession.
Ryan and Miss Maggie check out the pirate atop the bounce house.  The straight up bounce house is so 1990.  Our boys like the ones with the big slide.
Ella struts her stuff down the slide.
Michael sets his cap at a jaunty angle and tackles the slide with panache.
James was a slide maniac.  He kept flying down like a madman and going back for more.  I think he'd still be sliding if at all possible.
Ryan absolutely refused to slide.  He did try a couple of times to go up the ladder but the bigger kids and the movement in the bounce house gave him pause and he climbed back out.  I convinced Michael to help Ryan go up the slide, but by the time we made it back to the bounce house and the staircase, Ryan had fled to the whale and octopus inflatable.
At the end of the day, we had a parking lot picnic complete with juice boxes, granola bars, and costumes.  I love how James and Michael are holding hands.  They caught up with Ryan to hold his hand too, but by that point I was  too busy passing out beverages and costumes to capture it on memory card.