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.