Sunday, August 14, 2011

Eastbound and Down

It's official, we are down to our last week as Texas residents. The upcoming upheaval is not something I'm looking forward to, but I just have to keep reminding myself that it will be an adventure. When I was in high school, I always wanted to live in Europe, so I just have to think, now I'm 1,000 miles closer than I was in Texas. The boys really have no idea what is going on. Both Bob and I have tried to tell them about moving, but they'd much rather run around in circles, climb up the wrong side of the stairs (one plus to a smaller house, no stairs in Florida), and wreak havoc on any and all toys they come in contact with.
Ryan has been the most sensitive about change, so far. He has noticed every single thing that has gone out the door to craigslist purchasers. The exercise bike and glider are among the most cherished victims of the great purge. He will randomly cry in a pitiful voice, "my bike, my chair."
I figure as long as he has his blanket, Michael will do just fine. He is currently obsessed with puzzles and will work them for hours. He is getting really good at them. I'm pretty impressed with how fast he can put some of those things together. Of course, it seems as though when he's done, he likes to toss the pieces about so that I can have some fun playing hide and seek with the puzzle pieces after he's gone to bed.
James is (as always) obsessed with horses. He has really learned how to use the iPhone in the last couple weeks. I now have to fight him off of the phone. He is prone to make phone calls to random people (usually family members, thank goodness), play any game he wants, and place his bets on the races (which is just pretend money - although, he's lost almost $800 pretend dollars, so I wouldn't consult him for betting advice).
One thing that keeps Ryan most happy is finding Daddy's "home protection system." Bob's bat has migrated to many new spots around our house. Currently, it is residing in the dining room in a corner that has limited views from the triplet side of the baby gates. The only thing more frightening than leaving behind everything that we know is watching a two year old swing a baseball bat wildly near our giant and very expensive (too expensive to replace in our current state) plasma TV.
One of the most important features of our home is the bathtub. They boys must all fit in the bathtub because, I'm pretty sure that since they will sit in it without water and play with the toys, there is no way they are going to be patient enough to wait while one of them is bathed then take a turn. Thankfully, the master bath in our rental house has a big tub. Tragically, it doesn't have the fun bubble making jets like Grandma & Papa Joe's house, but I'm sure that they will put that high on their list of fun things to do in Texas.
With all the sorting through years of accumulated crap, downsizing (our new place will be about half the size of our current palace, so we have to pare down pretty extensively to get our stuff to fit in the new place), and packing, I kind of feel like James looks. Despite all of the random pieces of furniture and other items that are flowing from our house to Mission Arlington, it is probably the messiest it's ever been. I keep trying to pick things up, and after I come back by a location, I realize that I have not cleaned up at all, merely pulled things out and spread them around so that it looks even messier.
One great thing about the new place is that we will have a huge back yard. The kids love playing outside so much, and I know that they are really going to enjoy having such a large area to explore. Just like here, we don't have any trees in our yard in Jacksonville (I guess it's also a newer subdivision), but there is a pond across the street. One of the most important things when looking for a house was to find a yard with a fence for Duke and the boys. About half of the houses there don't have fences and most of them have some sort of body of water only steps from the back door. The thought of living on water like that paralyzed both Bob and I for different reasons - me for thinking how hard it is to keep the kids out of the dog water much less a pond and Bob for the mere hint of a possibility that a gator might be lurking about.
One of the hardest things for Bob to leave behind are his beloved sports teams. I'm pretty sure that he bleeds Ranger blue and red with a side helping of some Cowboy's navy and silver. There is no professional baseball team in Jacksonville, but they do have a minor league team called the Suns. Bob and Jim have already checked them out and given their stamp of approval to the Marlin's farm team. As for football, the Super Bowl Bob went to had the Jacksonville Jaguars in it, so I'm sure he's going to throw that one out there to impress the locals. Despite our move to Florida, Bob has already procured the Sunday Ticket so that we can watch all of the Cowboy games. I am praying very hard that the Cowboys do well so that we can sell our tickets on StubHub and break even this year. Thanks Jerry for the 30 year PSL, we love you.
One thing that makes me very happy about our new place is that it is in a cul de sac, so the boys will be able to ride bikes and cozy coupes out and about. We were planning on sending the Cozy Coupes down the road, but the boys love them so much, that I think we are keeping them.My children are very adaptable and adjust well to new situations, just look at their couch & chair experiment. Are you kidding me? What am I going to do with these kids with no carpet in the common areas. I might have to lay out padding and blankets to protect their sweet little heads from cracking on the tile.
Luckily, James is already learning this. Yesterday, during nap time, he piled all of his blankets up below his bed, hopped out, and ran into the game room shouting "HI!" Needless to say, he didn't take a nap yesterday.
We are looking forward to living near the beach and Disney. Bob's not a big beach fan, but I'm hoping to convert him. Most of my best memories as a kid took place either near the water or in it. The Atlantic Ocean has got Holly Beach (which is currently closed due to flesh eating bacteria) beat, hands down! When we went to Galveston, the kids LOVED playing in the sand and waves. I can't wait to see how much they enjoy the ocean. Maybe Bob can overcome his hatred of the location where he received the worst sunburns, and we can turn our future boy band into future boy band surfers.
One thing that I am going to have to learn how to do in Florida is leave the house by myself with the kids. The other day, during a showing, we had to occupy ourselves for a couple of hours during the heat of the day, and we skipped the park in favor of McDonalds. By the time we left, everyone, even Ryan, was zipping through the tunnels and slides of the indoor play ground. James led the way, and he would come back down to find his brothers occasionally.
Michael and James wait their turn for the slide. They did really well playing with the other kids, but when those eight year old boys came charging through complete with giant tennis shoes narrowly missing my two year olds tiny fingers, I almost came unhinged.
Ryan looks about as scared as I feel about this whole process. I know that it's the best thing for my family and that it will work out fine, but I sure am nervous about the journey (literally and figuratively - we are driving sixteen hours with three two year olds - we must be completely crazy!).

Pumpkin & Mykayla

In the last few months, the boys have become obsessed with horses. I think it started with their ride-on horse that Grandma & Papa Joe got them for Christmas, and it has been exacerbated by parental indulgence, the gambling channel, and the horse race iPhone ap. Lainie, Ryan's godmother and my very good friend, is a lover of all things equine. She recently had a beautiful baby girl (the first among that circle of my friends - we were an all boys club for the last five years). A couple of days before Miss Mykayla Jo Ereno came into the world, the boys and I stopped by to drop off some freezer meals, & Lainie endeared herself to my children by taking them on pony rides on Riley's pony, Pumpkin.
The first greeting. Michael looks a little apprehensive, and James is already trying to figure out how to climb aboard.
Ryan gets the first turn. He was very good at riding Pumpkin, and Pumpkin was extremely tolerant of my little guys lack of pony experience.
James, ever studious, checks out exactly what Lainie is doing. After his turn, he had to help her hold the guide rope.
Michael, a wild pony rider on his plastic pal, is a bit unsettled by a pony that moves and doesn't have handles. Luckily, Uncle Joseph is there for reassurance.Having had a triplet pregnancy where I was concerned about things such as the length of my cervix and the number of contractions I was having (the contractions started early - around week 23 or 24), the concept of a pregnant woman being able to actually do things and move around is completely foreign to me. Lain was such a trooper, leading the boys around and making us lemonade.
We saw Lainie at the boys' birthday party three weeks earlier, and when I saw her on the "Pumpkin Day," I was shocked at how much she'd grown. Beautiful baby Mykayla was a scale busting 11 lbs 8 oz. No wonder Lain looked so large and in charge!
The boys loved Lainie's house, and they didn't want to leave. James cried for a good five minutes after leaving chanting "horse, horse, horse." It was wonderful to see her pre-baby, but we did miss seeing Riley. It was probably for the best, because I'm not sure how he would have reacted to three sets of hands rifling through his toys at the same time.
A couple days later, sweet Mykayla made her way home from the hospital, and I was able to swing by and see her and her wonderful parents. It was nice that I got there before bedtime and got to see my little godchild, Riley. He is a very good big brother. He's five years old, and about to start kindergarten. Since Zach & I are five years apart, I think that this is a great age gap between him and his little sister. I hope that the two of them grow up as close as Zach and I have.
BIG YAWN! Even though Miss M was a large and in charge little lady, she is much, much lighter than my 30+ pound boys. She is so sweet and cuddly. I was a little concerned that getting to hold her would make me want to have another one, but Bob can rest easy, because as sweet as she is, my womb is definitely closed for business. I'll just have to visit as often as possible to get those good baby snuggles.
John, attempting to train Mykayla in the ways of Dr. Pepper love. I wouldn't be surprised if her first words were "I'm a Pepper, wouldn't you like to be a Pepper, too?"
Chubby cheeks. I told Lainie that I was extremely impressed with her womanly prowess. Mykayla weighed more than my two biggest babies put together, and she made her way out so quickly, that she had to spend a little time in the NICU getting the amniotic fluid out of her lungs. She is so wonderful, and I can't wait to go back and see her and her fantastic mama!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Nudist, the Jockey, and the Chatterbox

As the boys settle in to being two, all kinds of things are changing in our world. Perhaps the greatest difference between one and two is the amount of talking the kids are doing. Michael talks constantly. He says things like "Michael is a tiger, ROAR." He likes to count and identify colors. He sings songs. Most of the time he's in a great mood, but if he gets upset, he throws quite a fit complete with fake crying and tears.
Michael loves stuffed animals, and he calls his toolbox his "treasure." He loves animals, and his little people ABC zoo animals are high on the rotation of things that he plays with.
Ryan has a great fake cry. He always outdoes his brothers. He can turn red, pull out the tears, and scream so that the people in Europe can hear him. He is normally happy-go-lucky, and he is still obsessed with horses and golf. He loves to play golf and will follow James around with a club and ball trying to make James golf with him. He likes to color, talk on the phone to Daddy and Momo (he makes me call Momo almost once a day so that he can talk to her), he likes to play on the computer and the iPhone. One of my favorite things that Ryan does is come up behind me and hug me (of course during said hug, he always stands on the waistband of my pants and digs his little toenails into my backside, regardless, it's a pretty fantastic feeling to get an unsolicited hug from your boy).
James has some big shoes to fill - Grandpa's. He is such an observer. He is addicted to horse racing. He knows how to find the ap on my phone for racing, and he can do everything himself except for the betting. I'm pretty sure in the next week or so, he's going to be putting $10 on the 8 horse. As he watches his race (which he demands over and over and over again), he yells "go, go, go!" Occasionally, he will yell giddy-up, but it is very much like a strange tongue motion that sounds like pulup. When he doesn't get his way, he screams, throws himself to the ground and wallows. He likes to draw, golf, and run around naked. He rides his horse like a real jockey. He stands up on the saddle, pretends to use the whip to make his horse go, and yells "yaw."
Michael loves Daddy's shoes.
Bathtub boys. The bathtub with or without water is one of the kids favorite places to play. They are also very beauty conscious, and must use my makeup brushes occasionally to make sure they look their best. On a side note, maybe they have learned this from Aunt Faith who spends countless hours putting on mascara and lip gloss followed by countless more hours brushing her "beautiful hair."
A peaceful resolution.
Another side effect of reaching two is nudity. Constant nudity. Ryan is my best stripper, Michael likes to lose the pants but keep the shirt, and James is just now coming into his own naked-wise. Every nap time or morning, Ryan does a strip tease for his brothers complete with tossing his clothes at them. Most of the time, his pants are in Michael's bed and often times the rest of his clothes (including his diaper) are laying in front of James' bed. The other day, I came in and all three of them were in various states of undress. We have taken to taping their diapers on them with packing tape. They can occasionally wiggle out of that as well. Luckily the poop incidents have been minimal.
Today, Daddy came home after being gone for 17 days. The boys were ecstatic. We sang him happy birthday, and the boys did a number on his cake complete with 41 candles to lick. I'm not sure who was happier to see Daddy, but I'm pretty sure it was me. The kids were so excited to see him that even two hours later, they were hopped up on Daddy energy and putting them to bed required negotiations more lengthy and contentious than the recent debt ceiling debates.