Friday, September 30, 2011

A Florida History Lesson

 Before Mom and Faith went back to Texas, we took a small trip to St. Augustine.  Not only is it the oldest settlement in the United States, it's also where my grandparents went on their honeymoon.  Wayne from church told me that they had a beautiful beach, so I was very excited to wrap all that sentiment, history, and beauty into one trip.
After parking, we decided to make the kids walk rather than have to navigate through so many people in such a small space with two big strollers.  They did great.  We used their monkey/dog backpacks.  As I've been out and about with the kids much more on my own than before, I have come to LOVE the backpacks.  It gives me a little piece of mind in crowds and near busy streets. 
Our first stop in St. Augustine was the Spanish Colonial Village.  The boys really loved the colonial dirt and chickens.
Mom practices grinding corn.  There was a very nice lady who had triplet grandsons working as one of the colonists.  She was very friendly and kept Mom and Faith in her clutches for a very long time.
Aunt Faith grinds her corns.  When we took Michael to his first movie, Winnie the Pooh, Aunt Faith came with us, and there was some possessive craziness about the movie popcorn.  Months later, every time we have popcorn, he says, "Aunt Faith ate my corns" with such disgust in his voice.  It cracks me up and annoys Faith to no end.  She will probably be 50 and Michael will still be talking about how she ate his corns.
Daddy watches the boys run around the colonial area.  Ryan really enjoyed looking at the colonial magistrate with his curly white wig and big flowing robes.  I wish I would have gotten a picture of it.
From the colonial village, we walked our little men to the fort.  While Aunt Faith and Grandma took the tour with the park ranger, the rest of us explored the top level of the fort.  May I just say that there are no rails and that you can walk out onto ledges very easily.  I think I might have lost about 30 years of my life worrying about who was going to tumble over the edge first.
The boys really enjoyed exploring the big guns.  We missed the cannon firing, but that might have been for the best as Ryan especially is very sensitive to loud noises.  When he was tiny, if something dropped, he'd jump a mile, and now that he's older, he covers his ears.  Lately, Michael has become one of the shrieking eels from The Princess Bride, and his high pitch scream makes Ryan cry.
James and Daddy take a tour of the terreplain (yes, I had to look it up) of the Castillo de San Marco.  You can kind of tell from the ground that the fort has a star type of shape, and it has an amazing view of the ocean.
Ryan, following in the footsteps of his mother, pauses to read about what he is seeing.  He looks somewhat confused and concerned by the explanation.  I'm sure he was just wondering where all the pirates are.  The boys love to talk about pirates thanks to their pirate potty book.  They will put random blocks and such on top of their heads and run around saying "arrrrrrgh."
Michael gets an up close view of a cannon.  Of course, inside was an electric floodlight that I think might be a wee bit anachronistic, but I'm sure it lights up the night.
James finds a long barrel cannon which of course could only be reminiscent of a horse.  Since my sweet little James is a man with an eye for detail, I have recently purchased him swimming goggles to wear while riding his horse.  He was making me place a strand of beads around his eyes so that he could have goggles like the jockeys on TVG, so for the safety of his eyes and to make him happy, we found some goggles.  (He also uses one of the blue sparkly drumsticks as a riding crop - I may have to peruse the post Halloween costume aisle and see what might hop in my basket).
I love this little man so much.  He cracks me up.  He still refuses to say too many words, but he is currently obsessed with watching clips of the lion king on youtube.  Yes, my son is able to steal his dad's phone, find the youtube app, hit the search button, and find his videos.  It's amazing.  I'd put him up against my mom any day on his iPhone skills.
Michael has abandoned his pacifier in favor of a blanket, and recently, he's become completely absorbed by his Easter hat.  I'm pretty sure it's the best $4 I've ever spent, and luckily, he's a triplet, so we have three of them.  This hat goes lots of places with us.  Notice that his brothers obediently put their Rangers hats on (which every time they see the hats, they yell "go Rangers" much to the delight of their father), Michael refused to even consider his Rangers hat despite the fact that it would not have flown off his head every five minutes.  As we got closer to the water, the wind started to blow, and a very nice British woman retrieved that hat about 4 times.  Michael refused to let me hold it or let me hold the hat on his head.  I wonder where he gets that independent streak from?
Teamwork!  I'm pretty sure these boys can imagine this gun on a pirate ship.
All Mom's boys get in on the action.  I much preferred them playing on the cannons as opposed to exploring the gaping holes in the walls or getting very close to the one foot rise along the inside edge.
Michael is ready at the cannon.  He is surveying the vista looking for dragoons or some such nonsense.
By the time we finished with the fort, it was almost 2 p.m., and the kids were hungry and tired.  Michael (along with his brothers) knows where I keep the juice and crackers in the diaper bag.  His cute little hold me mommy moment was really a ploy to get at that juice and those crackers.  Shortly after we left the fort, we stopped to grab some grub.
Ryan, as always, was exceedingly adventurous, and I spent most of my time guiding him away from the edge.  In the last couple of weeks, he has become completely enamored of washing his hands.  He likes to pull up the step stool and play for hours in the water.  I'm pretty sure that whatever money we are saving from not watering the lawn in Haslet has been sucked up and sent down the drain by my youngest son.  On the positive side, he is very clean lately.
One of the entertaining things about our trip through the touristy area of St. Augustine, is the fact that our young James made a name for himself as a ladies man.  While we were walking through the crowded alley ways, James spied a cute, young girl in a dress leaning against the wall.  According to two different sets of people, our young stud took his pacifier out of his mouth, looked at the girl and said "beautiful."  The girl blushed, none of us noticed, and we kept on going.  The couple behind us made sure to tell us the story.  I totally don't believe that he said "you're beautiful" as I've never heard him utter more words than absolutely necessary (I think that's a little slice of my Papa Cain shining through), but two verified accounts means the story has become legend around this house.  My dad would have been so proud as he was always one to appreciate the ladies.
These two photos represent how exhausted we were after a week of moving and a weekend of touristing, but I love how it shows the fort in the background.  Poor Mom looks exhausted.  I'm pretty sure she was much more energetic than she looked here - she must have just needed a nice cold beverage.
This picture is what I am going to use for my before picture when I save up enough money to get myself some of that fancy stomach reduction stuff, but you've got to take the family photo where you can get it.  Hopefully this is just a trick of the lens, hello delusion, my name is Angela, nice to meet you.  Despite the unflattering end of this blog post, we had a fantastic time in St. Augustine.  I loved it.  Not only is there an outlet mall (which I have yet to make a pilgrimage to), it's got history, something I never seem to be able to get enough of.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Moving Is a Day at the Beach

Almost a month ago, this giant truck showed up at our house in Haslet and loaded all our things inside. Bob and I cleaned our empty house, took a trip to the zoo with Aunt Faith, then made a LONG drive along I-10 to Jacksonville.  
We started our drive both days around 3 a.m.  The boys slept until around 7 a.m., we stopped for breakfast, then kept on driving.  My mom rode with the boys and I she definitely put in her time entertaining the kids.  Ryan especially got antsy, but we made it to the hotel by around 2 p.m.   
 On the second day, I learned the joys of bribery.  The kids really didn't want to get back into the car after a brief stop, so we let them pick a treat, and then they didn't even fight me getting back into their seats.
Although this picture is a little blurry,  love how James is chomping on his sucker.  Michael told me that this sucker was very "tasty."  They boys are talking up a storm lately.  Michael is constantly talking, especially in the car.  He likes to tell me about going to the zoo with Uncle Zach and Aunt Mandy and feeding the giraffes.  James spent a large majority of the car ride hiding underneath his blanket to ignore his brothers. 

After we made it to Jacksonville, we spent a little time exploring our new city.  We took the whole family to a restaurant on the beach, ate a little seafood, and spent a little time playing in the waves.
Aunt Faith had a pretty decent time at the beach.  She spent most of the time she was here trying to do her on-line school work.  She'll be back in November to go to Disney with us.  When I talked to her the other day, she asked if it would be warm enough to go to the beach too.  I guess that's a pretty ringing endorsement of how much she enjoyed it.
Ryan and Grandma Newhouse hang out and wait for the food to come.  In the restaurant, there was a fake palm tree and parrot that Ryan was fascinated with.
Michael and "Papa" read the menu.  Lately the boys have dubbed Jim "Papa," and I think it's going to stick.  Michael reads everything.  He likes to sit and flip through the pages while describing what's on each page.  In the Just Like Daddy book, he calls the big animals daddy and then the small ones are Michael.  It's pretty adorable to watch.
James and Grandma hang out waiting for shrimp and beach time fun.  Right after Mom and Faith left, the boys kept asking about seeing them.  We've started video chatting with Grandma and Papa Joe, and the kids love it.
Aunt Faith and Grandma lead the troops into the ocean.
No matter how much of an organized, well prepared person I used to be, for some reason, as a mother I tend to forget very important things like swim suits for the beach and sunscreen for myself.
Grandma and Ryan prepare to enter the surf.  Somehow I ended up holding all of the shoes and purses while everyone else ran around and played in the water.  It worked out okay since I got to snap a few pictures.
James was constantly running back into the "wawhurr."  James speaks in single words.  Lately he will come over to you and say "hand" because he wants to hold your hand.  He also comes over and asks for a hug.  It's so cute.
Running around having fun at Jacksonville Beach.
Examining our toes in the water.
Running in opposite directions.
Michael cons Papa out for a dip.
James tells Aunt Faith all about the coming wave.
Ryan lays down on the job.  He was the first to go "all in."
My tiny monkey loves to run and splash.  He loves to roll around in the surf and feel the waves wash in around him.
Aunt Faith grabs a quick hug from the fearless wave hopper.
Michael loved digging/throwing the sand.  He likes the feel of it between his fingers and toes (and sadly the taste of it in his mouth).  He spent a large quantity of time playing in the sand and picking up shells.
Daddy joins the fray and gets his feet wet.  Bob is not really a lover of all things sand and water, but he has been great about taking us all to the beach.  We might have to try it one more time before it gets too chilly.
Michael shows off his water moves.
Tragic consequence of too much fun in the surf - droopy shorts.
James concentrates on attempting to escape Grandpa and head back into the water.  After our trip to the beach, we got the keys to our new place and spent the next day moving in.  Despite it being much smaller than our house in Texas, we have managed to fit most of our remaining things (we sent a ton of stuff out the door in Texas to family, friends, strangers, and Mission Arlington) into the house.  We've unpacked all the essentials, but still need to sort out the books, cds/dvds, and pictures.  So far, I am enjoying Florida.  I need to find some way to make a few new friends.  We've tried a couple of churches and will try a couple more.  The boys are having lots of fun.  Since we are so much closer to civilization, we've managed to do more fun things.  We've been to Chic-fil-a (where we caught some Florida germs and are all suffering from runny noses and sore throats), all of the boys have gone to see the Lion King (individually and with separate adults), and we've gone shopping several times.  I think in the long run, we will all be very happy here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Go Wild! Aunt Faith Turns 12

The last week of August was a pretty crazy week for the Newhouses.  On Thursday, the packers came, Friday, they loaded up the truck, and Sunday we woke up at 3 a.m. and started our two day drive.  Saturday was a special day, Aunt Faith turned twelve.  We put a halt to the moving stuff, and the family spent the day celebrating the birth of our youngest aunt.
Ryan was very excited that Aunt Faith picked the Dallas Zoo to kick off her special day.
Michael knows that all good trips to the zoo involve the proper head gear.  The boys now cheer for the Rangers by name much to the delight of their father.
James eagerly anticipates all the fun to be had by seeing the "manamals" at the zoo.
First stop, PENGUINS!
James is bigger than some penguins but not quite up to Emperor standards.
Aunt Faith is still trying to prove she can hang with the big kids.  She and Mandy are rivals for shortest member of the family (excluding the two year olds).
The family humors me for a posed group shot or two in front of the penguins.
Early in the day, it was quite pleasant, but as the day progressed, it got very hot, and there were NO stands selling drinks and treats scattered randomly around the zoo.
My little monkeys check out the baboons.

Photo ops on the metal elephants on the way to see the real elephants.
James and Grandma strike a pose.
Studied indifference coupled with the girl with the blue shoes.
Aunt Mandu raises the roof.
James allows Aunt Faith to ride upon his bronze steed.
Michael loved riding the elephants.  We had to con him off to see the real thing.
Ryan and Daddy watch the elephants taking dirt baths.  Mommy is pretty sure that sometimes her boys take a few dirt baths while she isn't looking.

The girls and the triplets pose for a picture with the real elephants.
James really enjoyed seeing the cheetah.  Here he's asking for a cheeto.
Not only was James hungry, so were the giraffes.  Ryan was a pro at feeding them.
Ryan demonstrates the lettuce reach.
Michael follows suit and gives the giraffe a snack.
Aunt Faith was a little scared of that black tongue and acted like she was two rather than twelve, but we still love her despite her lack of skills at feeding giraffes.
Checking out the cheetah one more time.
The triple threat pushes the other kids out of the car and takes over.  There is power in numbers despite some Mommys trying to make them share/be patient.
Aunt Faith performs her role as supervisor while Ryan mans the wheel.
Michael feels the gorilla skulls.  He really liked seeing the "big monkey."
Wild life in captivity (or the fancy monkey house).
Grandma and Michael on the monorail.  The kids loved seeing all the animals although the grown ups were a little nervous about the kids walking about in the moving car.
Ryan, very thirsty, drinks some lemonade.
Michael and Daddy enjoy the sights.
Ryan looks as hot and tired as the rest of us felt.
Aunt Faith and James looking at the fauna.  After the monorail, we found the kids part of the zoo.  No one warned Mommy that there was water.  Let's just say that it was a wet experience combined with tired hungry kids, exhausted parents, and an Aunt Faith who was determined to ride a camel.  We escaped the water nymphs, found a picnic table, and waited for the rest of the crew to return.  While we were waiting, a cougar attempted to eat James and Michael.  After the camel ride, the gang loaded up and headed out for Haslet.  We had a big family dinner at Olive Garden followed by cake at Grandma & Papa Joe's.
Aunt Faith and her cake.  Poor thing only got one piece as we swept her away at 4 a.m.  She returned home today, maybe somebody put her a piece in the freezer.