Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Boat Parade

In honor of Aunt Faith's last night in town with us, we took her and the kids to the Jacksonville Boat Parade.  Joseph and Faith were so kind as to watch the kids for us one evening so that Bob and I could go to dinner (our babysitters had been gone over a month at that point, and we were in desperate need of a little couple time).  While we were at the Jacksonville Landing, we learned about the boat parade.  It's a very cool idea in theory, but letting three two year olds loose in a crowd after bedtime with three tired people to chase them was not the best idea.  Sadly, I must claim it as my own.
James and Daddy watch the boats.  I tried to get some pictures of the boat parade, but they didn't really come out.
Michael takes a turn on Mommy's shoulders.
Daddy is not drunk, just the victim of bad photography and a Ryan facial massage.
For some insane reason (well, due to my cheapness - Sams Club had a sale on photo Christmas cards), I decided that I should try and make these tired, wound up, past bedtime children pose in front of the big Christmas tree.  It would have been an awesome picture, but this is about as good as it got - and it's pretty horrible.
James had no time for posing.  He needed to climb and explore.
Considering the squirming subjects, Aunt Faith did a pretty good job of getting this picture.  I'm pretty sure James will one day object to this photo.
After the failed Christmas tree attempt, I got an even more brilliant idea - let's take the boys picture standing on the staircase with Jacksonville in the background.  Yes, they did climb the stairs; no, they did NOT pause for a photo op.
The last attempt - we bribed the kids with juice boxes and had them sit on another set of stairs in hopes of getting a good picture.
They do look cute, but not Christmas card worthy.
The next morning, we gave Aunt Faith a triplet send off.  We had such a good time with both Faith and Joseph.  It was really nice to have family visit.  I like Jacksonville, but I LOVE my family.  Anytime we get to see them, it's a good time.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Time for Thanks

One of the many things I was thankful for this past November was a visit from my favorite non-genetically closest brother and his Don Quixote mustache.  After I picked him up at the airport, we headed to Jacksonville Beach so that he could get a true taste of the joys of Florida living.
Nicely dressed with new shoes - probably not beach friendly attire, but fancy shoes can be sacrificed for beach fun.
Watching the waves break on the sand and drinking margaritas sharing sibling secrets is a fantastic pass time, but after a trip to my new favorite local eatery - Chowder Ted's, Uncle JoeJoes needed a triplet hug or three.
As with most of America, the third Thursday of November is a big day for cooking around the Newhouse home.  This was my first Thanksgiving to run the show all on my own.  Well, almost on my own, I had lots of help from Joseph, Faith, and of course, my biggest helper Ryan.
No turkey day would be complete without sports.  In Jacksonville, James believes that basketball is the prevailing sport of the day.
While waiting for the oil to boil, Daddy gave rides around the backyard.  We do love our big backyard, but we certainly have no idea what to do with all of the weeds we are growing.
Michael masters the rock wall.  He has gotten so fast at climbing all sorts of things, the rock wall, the back of the couch, the interior of the refrigerator, etc.
Ryan rocks his Spiderman socks while resting in the coveted cradle of the swing.  There are many things in our home that are claimed by one brother to the chagrin of the other two.  James claims the swing, Ryan claims the guitars (but he is always willing to share unlike the other two), and Michael claims everything else but most specifically the animals, the Toy Story toys, and the phone/iPad.
Uncle Joseph demonstrates basketballs can be all sorts of fun.  Aunt Faith handles ball retrieval.
The ceremonial lowering of the bird with appreciative onlookers.
Aunt Faith takes on the task of teaching Ryan how to peddle.  I'm not sure if she felt successful at the time, but all three of the boys know the mechanics of peddling now.  We had a wonderful meal together with lots of food, laughter, and fun followed by some football for Daddy.
On Black Friday, we decided to make it Beach Friday.  Since we've been in Jacksonville, we've been to Jacksonville Beach & Atlantic Beach for leisurely strolls in the surf, American Beach (which is the first African American beach in the area) which resulted in a pretty vicious sunburn for Mom (always put sunscreen on the kids, but forgot to have anyone get my back), and on Beach Friday, we went to Little Talbot Island.  We had a picnic lunch away from the sand, then headed out to play in the sand.  On our way, Uncle Joseph spotted this tortoise.  There is a similar tortoise in the Jacksonville Zoo Florida section.  The boys were definitely impressed with this wild life.
The whole family stops to admire the turtle on the way to the beach.  Aunt Faith totes the sand toys and the single towel I was foresightful enough to bring.
Uncle Joseph oversees the beachcombers.  We picked up lots of fancy shells.  Note poor Uncle Joseph's new shoes still looking new.
Ryan knows his shells.  He likes to examine things very closely.  He enjoys building things but relishes smashing things to bits even more.  I think there might have been a couple of sandcastles that fell to his smashing blows.
When we arrived, the tide was out, and the beach was virtually empty.  There were a few fishermen standing in the surf (I keep telling my dad he should come here and fish).
My sweet family.  Semi-dry.  I only wish we could have had the remaining four members to pose for this picture, maybe next year.
Oh no, triplets heading toward the water.  Quick, distract them!
Whew, Aunt Faith pulls out the sand toys.  Let the shoveling and sand tossing begin.
I think this pose looks like a V for victory poster in the making.  Notice who is not getting their hands dirty.
The photographer makes an appearance.  Since our camera went kaput, I took all of these pictures with my phone.  They turned out pretty well, I think.
Team Newhouse tackles the sand and emerges triumphant.
Success!  Finally a romp in the water.  I keep thinking I'll be able to keep the kids out of the water when we go to the beach.  Foolish mom.
Uncle Joseph - Master of All He Surveys.  Finally the shoes were removed for their own protection.
Fun in the surf.  Aunt Faith is regretting that she didn't wear her swimsuit.  Poor thing kept asking to put it on, and I told her not to bother, I guess this one time, she was right.
Michael doing a water dance.  Notice his mother didn't even manage to spare the shoes.  Despite the lack of proper planning, we had a great time.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Animal Kingdom

Our second day at Disney was not quite as magical as the first day.  Having never taken two year olds to one amusement park, much less two, we did not know the cardinal rule of kids and amusement parks - there must be a rest day between parks - for both adults and kids.
Animal Kingdom was definitely a stroller worthy park.  I wish we hadn't spent so much time a the zoo prior to our trip.  The boys enjoyed the animals, but they see animals so often that they didn't really light up as much as we had hoped.
The safari ride was great.  The kids loved being in the big truck but were not big fans of the stay seated rule.
Aunt Faith was very excited about Animal Kingdom.  I think she enjoyed it more than the Magic Kingdom.
Like our first day at Disney, our camera was on the fritz so the early part of the day (when the battery had a full charge) was documented but as the day progressed the documentation lapsed.  The Animal Kingdom pretty much zapped my entire mojo by about noon, and the boys and I headed out around two.
Animal Kingdom has some very cool animals many of which are not at the Jacksonville Zoo.  Michael adores the "man-a-muls" and really loved seeing all of them.  Lately his favorite animals are the "nake" and the giraffe.
James spent most of the day racing.  He is still obsessed with all things racing - cars, horses, foot races, etc.  For the most part, it was okay, but he did manage to pretty much almost kill himself running through the line to the Bugs movie.  He close lined himself, fell on the ground and hit his head so hard that the lump made me worry that he might never recover.  Not only did the little man try and kill himself, he also managed to get lost while we were trying to figure out what to order for lunch.  It was a feeling of panic and fear I hope to never experience again.  Thank God Aunt Faith found him.  I could barely think I was so distressed.  Not too long after that, we rode our last ride and the boys and I headed back to the hotel.
I try not to take too many pictures of things without humans in it, but I felt compelled to throw in some of the fancy scenery rather than just the side of faces.
Ryan was in his same go-go-go self.  He loved the tigers (thus making his Uncle Joseph happy).  He did NOT want to sit down at lunch, and I almost lost him in the fountain a few times.  Regardless of my less than happy state, his spirit was not tamed.
Aunt Faith was an excellent shepherd.  She did manage to con me out of a chocolate mousse when we stopped for water.  I think that my view of the Animal Kingdom is a little jaded as my main memories are losing my child, being hot, tired, and irritable, and feeling like getting out of dodge.
Around Thanksgiving, the boys were fixated on the Lion King.  Probably what I thought was the best part of the day was the Lion King show.  The kids loved it.  All the singing, dancing, and flying acrobats enthralled them.  Bob and Faith went to the Finding Nemo show and said that we should have taken the kids to that as well.  I wish we would have done a little more research on Animal Kingdom and figured out what the best game plan was, but I didn't, so maybe next time.  I figure as Florida residents, we haven't taken our last trip to the mecca of the mouse.
After the boys and I left for the hotel, Bob and Faith had a great time.  Bob offered to let me hang with Faith, but I think by that point, I was not going to be much fun.  The boys ran amok in the hotel room, played on the playground outside our door, and had a great time being "free" to do what they wanted rather than being herded from one place to the next and forced to stand in line.
Bob and Faith had fun in the kiddie land petting zoo.  Faith spent the entire ride home telling us how she would wrestle an alligator to the ground and pin it down because the jaw muscles were much weaker when the gator's mouth was shut.  While in the petting zoo, Faith did not want to approach the goat to pet it, instead she waited for the goat to come to her.
When Faith was three or four, she was known for making rules.  The family went crabbing, and Faith came up with two rules: 1) Never touch a crab, else it'll bite and 2) Never put your hand in special water if there is an alligator in it, only put your hand in special water if there isn't an alligator in it.  She now has a third rule to live by: Wrestle an alligator, wait for the goat to come to you.