Thursday, April 28, 2011

Making My Dad Proud

I grew up the child of two extremely different people. While my mom took us to church and taught us to enjoy musicals, my dad showed us movies we were not mature enough to see and put a rock and roll soundtrack to our lives. I'm pretty sure that my dad loved ZZ Top for the beards as much as the music. He referred to himself as the bearded wonder, but he also loved to dress up and strut his stuff. I think that I knew the words to Sharp Dressed Man before I knew what a sharped dressed man was. I'm pretty sure that my dad would be proud of the "fruit of his loins'"children, and I make a promise to my boys to NEVER refer to them as the fruit of my loins - especially in front of their friends. So here are my three sharp dressed men showing off their Easter duds & what lies beneath.
Michael knows that every top hat needs a necklace or two to balance things out.
James protests his mother's desire to chronicle this sharp dressed moment.
Ryan knows that the truly mysterious never show their eyes, much to the chagrin of his mother.
Fancy cowboy astride his horse.
Two tiny mobsters hanging out at the ice cream shop.
Michael LOVES this hat. He wears it all the time now, and he likes for his brothers to wear their hats, too.
James gives us his best Frank Sinatra impersonation.
Ryan knows how to rock the beads even while taking a break in his chair.
Post picture time, Michael relaxes in the train table. He looks so long here. Everywhere we go, people ask me how old they are and are always surprised that my little men are not even two yet.
James is excited to slide in the nude. I bet that diaper has good sliding potential - not much traction.
Ryan attempts a trick. Thankfully, he decided to turn around prior to going down the slide. He definitely has no fear of cracking his head open unlike his mother.
Godzilla (I mean James) takes a tour of train town.
How many kids will one train table hold?
Michael takes a reading break. The kids still love to read, but now they like to read to themselves more than they like me to read to them. Usually I get a couple of pages in before they take over.

Ryan takes a spin in the train table just so he can keep up with his brothers. I don't think Ryan found the train table a very comfortable seat.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Choo Choo Slam

Ryan has always loved his train (thanks Wharton family!), but lately, he's been a crazier driver than the students in the Sam Houston parking lot. Ryan and James spent the other morning pushing each other around on the train. They slam into walls, the table, humans, dogs, and anything else that gets in their way. Michael also enjoys riding on the toys, but he doesn't seem to go balls to the walls like his brothers.
My three sweet babies about to wreak havoc on my walls and cabinets.

Tragically, this video does not fully demonstrate the wild abandon with which my children ride their train.
James checks out Michael's propeller.  It lights up and spins, very exciting stuff.
Ryan relaxing on his zebra.  He likes to put things in the yellow tray up front and carry it around with him.
James rides on the train sitting proudly atop his pirate booty of necklaces hidden under the seat.
Michael checks the controls on his plane before taking off, he's a good pilot.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sprinkle and Dye

I must admit that I'm a traditionalist. Every year, I always dye Easter Eggs. Last year, the boys weren't really able to participate. This year, we went big and for the first time, we made cookies and decorated them and dyed eggs.
Grandma and Ryan making bunnies.  Ryan was our best cookie cutter.  He loves to be in the kitchen checking things out.  He had quite a bit of dough which might explain why he didn't eat much dinner.  Oh well, it's only Easter once a year.
Mommy and Michael get in on Ryan's cookie action.  Michael wasn't really enjoying life during our Easter preparation extravaganza, so he was a somewhat reluctant participant.
Mr. Grumpus cuts a cookie while Ryan eats a little more dough.  Good times!
A family portrait!  Note - Dad looks grumpy because he has to be in the picture, James has his eyes on Ryan's cookie cutter, Michael hasn't decided if he's gonna cry again or be happy, and there's Mom just hoping for a good picture.
Ryan makes ducks!
Grandma and James start dying eggs.  Since I haven't done eggs with small people in a while, I forgot that eggs are really fragile.  James chunked his egg in to the cup and shattered it.  After said chunking, Mom got a little smarter, and we gently placed the eggs in the cups.
James cheers for his eggs, and Ryan eyes those colorful cups.  He helped me put the vinegar and water in the cups, and Grandma and I had to stop him from drinking the colorful water - I'm pretty sure it wont taste like koolaid.
Master decorators.  James and Ryan start the shaking while Michael starts the screaming.  James and Ryan loved shaking the sprinkles.  I must have swept up three times today, but I'm pretty sure it was worth it.  James licked all of the sprinkles and icing off of his cookies while Ryan took a tiny bite of his cookie, but neither of them actually ate a cookie.
James examines his duck looking for white areas that need sprinkles.
Ryan points to Michael and wonders "why is he so unhappy, we have SPRINKLES!"
Grandpa swoops in to do some Michael control.  He got mad at me for taking his picture.  I'm really hoping we get past these really long and loud fits soon, or I might just get picked up by CPS when I snap.
A neglected pacifier in a wasteland of sprinkles.
Mmmmmmm, these are good sprinkles and the cookie is okay, too.
The Grandmas and Aunt Faith ice the cookies while Michael shows his disdain for the day.  I'm pretty sure I've got some pumpkin pictures of him freaking out, too.  Hmm, this is a pattern we definitely have to break.
No!  I will not look at these beautiful eggs and tasty cookies.
Grandma and Ryan do some sprinkle maintenance before checking on the eggs.
Ryan really loved grabbing the eggs and putting them in other colors.  I have a feeling tie-dye eggs might be in his future.
Aunt Faith gives lessons in proper dying technique.
Champion egg dyers.  Michael finally decided to enjoy himself, and he loved dying the eggs.  He kept trying to pull them out of the dye and look at them.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Let's Play the Ponies

Last weekend was opening weekend for the racetrack, and the Star Telegram was offering free admission, program, soda, and t-shirts for press pass holders.  It was an offer we couldn't refuse, so after church on Sunday (we went to the 11 a.m. service, and for the first time, the boys didn't want to leave the nursery - it made me SOOOOO happy), we grabbed some chicken, met up with Aunt Mellie, and went to see the horses.
Daddy packed lots of stuff to make our time at the race track enjoyable.  We had chairs, Capri Sun, hats, and Aunt Mellie brought us some new sunglasses.  The boys had a little bit of lunch, and then they hit the ground running.
Our posse.  Lately, I've been a bit overwhelmed by the fact that I'm unable to go in public with the kids without help.  I'm sure the four of us could do it, but it's so much work and even in grocery carts they stand up and put themselves in danger, run in different directions, etc.  The other day, James and Ryan came with me into the garage to get a soda, and it took me 10 minutes to herd them back inside.  I can't imagine what I would do if I had all three without some back up.  Anyway, all that is to say, I'm just going to be grateful that we have enough people who love and care about us and who are willing to go do stuff with us.
Grandpa studies the ponies - he must have done a pretty good job since he left the track even.  Poor Lonestar Park didn't make a dime off of the Newhouse clan on Sunday.
Ryan drinks some more Capri Sun.  I was so proud that he kept his hat on for as long as he did.  James is the fairest of our three, but Ryan's cheeks really flush in the heat.
Michael makes his way to the blanket to relax in colorful comfort.  Michael and Aunt Mellie had a blast together.  I'm pretty sure that Melanie did about 1000 laps around the band, and Michael made her take the stairs every time.  These boys sure do help you get in your cardio workout.
The kids absolutely adored the horses.  My papa would have been proud.  James was obsessed with the horses.  We went out to the paddock, and Bob couldn't get him to leave even when all of the horses had disappeared.  Luckily, you can get pretty close to the action on the track, and the boys really liked watching the races.

When the horses weren't on the track, the band was in high demand - especially by Ryan and James.  I was a little concerned that the kids were going to rush the stage or rip down the banner or do any number of non-mom approved things.  James danced like a maniac, and he loves other kids.  He followed this little boy around and by the time we left, he was trying to hug him (much to the chagrin of the little boy - although, if you're gonna show a kid how to play air guitar, you should be willing to receive love and admiration).
Michael also danced his heart out between laps with Aunt Mellie.  He also conned her into carrying him around, hand feeding him french fries, and various other tiny man machinations.  I'm pretty sure she would give him the moon if she could reach it, and Michael is totally okay with that.
About 3:30, the kids had reached their saturation point, and we loaded up and went back to the car.  James helped Daddy pull the wagon the entire way to and from the races.  He is such a helper, and I'm pretty sure the three guys in this picture have a very similar walk.  It was a wonderful (and free) day.  Hopefully we can do it again soon, and maybe next time we'll make it to the petting zoo.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Crawfish in Keller?

A couple of weeks ago while reading the Haslet Harbinger (which has since changed names, but I still prefer to have a Harbinger coming to my door every Wednesday), Grandpa Newhouse found an ad for the Keller Krawfish Krawl. While dubious about the ability of Keller to produce crawfish (really other than my grandpas, I don't have much hope for anyone producing amazing crawfish - since both of them have taken their crawfish boiling skills to heaven, I figure I'll never eat amazing crawfish again, but I digress), we were intrigued by the festival especially the part where it was free. So, on the Saturday that Joseph came for a visit and Kathy was in California, we loaded up the boys and headed out to see how North Texas does crawfish.
We parked in a church parking lot for free, and they gave us all little waters which the boys LOVED, so it started off on a good note. When we actually found the "festival," we were a little underwhelmed. They did have a pay jump house with lots of older kids making quite a ruckus, so we decided to pass on the jumping much to the chagrin of young James. We were mostly looking for live music and a grassy place to sit and enjoy. There was live music, but not much grass.
Since it was hot and sunny out, we lathered the boys up with sunscreen and attempted to put hats on them. James and Ryan did pretty well, but Michael kept tossing his away with a derisive glance and a firm "nope." They looked so grown up in their hats. I can't believe that this time last year, our guys were still crawling and James had just gotten his first tooth.
We took a gander at the crawfish, but I figured since they weren't even boiling them on-site, there was no need to pay $15 for disappointment (there is always the Boiling Point in Sulphur for a decent crawfish dinner). Besides, I couldn't fathom how I could peel enough crawfish fast enough to keep up with the kids (although considering their disdain for shrimp, it probably would have been three mudbugs tossed aside and subsequent wild running about).
It was a very small area, so we let Ryan and James out to walk, but Michael preferred to ride in style as he has become accustomed to his very own stroller. Of all the kids, Michael is the most aggressive. He bites, pulls hair, pushes, and kicks the guy in the front seat, so he has been given his own vehicle for our outings. We have recently instituted TIME OUT. I tried spanking his hand when he pulls hair, but he just looks at me and laughs, so then I tried putting him in the playpen for time out. He crawled out. We put him on the green chair in the living room, and he runs around and attempts to break the crystal in my china cabinet. Recently (yesterday), Kathy and I came up with a plan to strap him into his high chair, and turn him to face the wall. (As Terra told me, no matter where you go, there's a corner, so maybe facing the wall will work for us). We had to use it twice today. It seemed to work the second time, but the hardest part of time out is getting the other two kids not to go check out what is going on with Michael. Strangely, no one else has tested their boundaries - I guess Ryan and James have a "let's see what happens to Michael philosophy."
Uncle Joseph and Grandpa hang out with Ryan while Mom and Dad try to figure out what to do at the somewhat less than fancy Krawfish Krawl.
James and his Daddy survey our situation and decide that we should move closer to the stage and behind the speakers.
Michael agrees with this ruling, and the troops move out. I think we might be getting more incognito during our outings. No one asked me if the kids were triplets, and at dinner after the Krawl, our waitress wanted to know if they were twins. (If James didn't slump in his high chair, I think people would realize they are triplets, but he does like to recline and thus make himself appear shorter than he really is).
Ryan is on a mission. No matter when, where, or how, Ryan brings the energy. He is in constant motion. I wish I had that much energy. I'd use it to clean off the top of my dresser which has become a catchall for random crap that I quickly shove into my top drawer when we have showings.
We found the stage. The boys really enjoy music, and they all love to dance. Ryan and James both do a little hop/skip/jump step that I love while Michael is all about the hand motions (I guess we showed him the Single Ladies video one too many times).
I love this picture. I just wish we would have gotten Michael in the shot - he was on the ground attempting to mount the stage from below while his brothers worked out how to attack the stage from the topside.
The music lovers hang out and hold on while the adults hang on and hold out against the struggles of three young men who have seen enough concert footage on Palladia to know how to rush a stage.
The one man show complete with his "titar" was entertaining but since there was really no place to spread a blanket and enjoy the show, we decided to head out and play on the playground in the church parking lot. It was definitely the hit of the day, and all three kids cried when we made them leave.
James is the first to brave the tunnel. He cracks me up. He hates those swinging bridges, so anytime he is unsure as to whether or not the floor will move, he crawls over it very tentatively. Luckily, this was a solid tunnel, and he was able to move all over it without any issues.
Ryan also enjoyed the tunnel, but he was the last to make it all the way through. He usually turned around and came out the way he went in. He spent a lot of time climbing around on the steps and touching the rocks. He was definitely enamored of the pebbles laid down to cushion falls, and I'm just happy he didn't swallow any.
Ryan checks out the pebbles again. While Ryan and Michael would pick up handfuls of rocks and let them fall, James would grab two big handfuls of rocks, go find Grandpa, wait for him to notice that he was there, then throw the rocks at Grandpa's legs. I was not privy to this exercise, but I am told that Grandpa did not do a good job discouraging this activity as he laughed every time he was pelted by a James inspired rock shower.
Grandpa and Uncle Joseph watch Michael slide. Michael loves playground equipment. He was all over. I had trouble getting good pictures of him since he was always on the move.
Michael shows us the proper way to come down the stairs - with gusto.
Ryan and Uncle Joseph master the slide.
That's a crowded tunnel!
After the big kids showed up, we took our kids (kicking and screaming) to the car then headed to Babes Fried Chicken for dinner. For the first time, they all used their plates and spoons at the restaurant like big boys. Of course we can't mention that James spent the majority of his meal rubbing mashed potatoes into Grandpa's arm hair. Despite the fact that the Krawl was a bit of a dud, it was a fun outing.