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.

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