Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It's a Family Tradition

Well, we don't get stoned and sing all night long like Hank Jr., but this year, Bob and I tried to start some family traditions with the boys.  I wanted to start our Christmas Eve with a picture near the fireplace (as it was less distracting than the Christmas tree), and this is what we got.
I love Michael's grin in this one.  Note that the boys were wearing dressy pants because they had outgrown all of their pants from last year and you only need long pants for about three days in Jacksonville.
Those stockings look to be in peril, quick, try and get a picture!
We spent a lot of time talking to the boys about Christmas and really hyping it up for them.  Maybe we went a little overboard because we ended up having to drive them around for an hour before they finally passed out & went to sleep after an hour of trying to get them to go to sleep in their tents.
Ryan playing with the nativity set.  We love to play with the bits and pieces nativity for kids that Mom has been collecting for years.  I kept trying to tell the kids the Christmas story, but they wouldn't listen.  By the time I got past the riding on a donkey, they were gone.
We wanted one of our Christmas traditions to be reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Sadly, Mom couldn't find her copy, we bought a so so version e-book, and did the best we could.  Mom has since located her copy and put it in a "safe place" for next year.
After the story, it was time for Christmas PJs lovingly provided by Uncle Joseph this year.  Followed by a bath.

Here the kids model their new PJs and begin what I like to call the Superhero Insanity.  There have been weeks where these are the only clothes that have been worn despite my best efforts.  They have been dug out of the bottom of the laundry basket, ripped from the hangers in the closet, and constantly worn.  Good job, Uncle Joseph!
We set out the milk and cookies for Santa.  Everyone put a pre made cookie on the plate (I'm no Suzie Homemaker).  
Some of us picked said cookie back up and "tasted" tasted it for Santa.
The milk also required an adequate tasting.
A brother should not have to taste alone.  Let's just say Santa didn't get much milk and his cookies had been somewhat fondled.
The next morning, the kids crawled into bed with us and waited for a decent hour to go open presents.  Batman waits patiently.
Batman & Spiderman have a discussion that may or may not involve tickling.
Either way, it's all very funny.
Superman is not quite ready to face the world, saving Metropolis is pretty tiring.
Rousing of Aunt Faith, which once again, was difficult for even triplets to do.
Presents!  Santa came.
Working towards being pros at opening gifts.
Handsome brothers on Christmas morning.
Grandma gets into the opening action.
Three Bullseyes and Woody's (thanks Santa/Aunt Mellie).
A boy and his horse.
The first of many rides for Bullseye and Woody.
Grandma reads the book attached to the magna doodle (which has since been ripped off the magna doodle and has gone to save the earth by being recycled).
Since we spent Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas day with Bob's, Santa came on Christmas Eve morning followed by the Ptomey/Cain Christmas.  Uncle Joseph received a castle shaped cake pan from Uncle Zach.  Ryan was very intrigued by this pan.  Perhaps next time we visit, Uncle JoeJoes/Joewish can prepare a castle cake for us.
Uncle Zach and Aunt Mandy having a very pointed conversation with Aunt Faith.
Papa Joe and his best fisherman, James checking out the presents.

Zach and I enjoying my new iPad.  Which the boys have since broken, we've replaced and bought a case that is reminiscent of Ft. Knox.  It was definitely a merry Christmas for all.

Monday, March 26, 2012

To Grandmother's House We Go

Months after the Christmas holidays have past, the guilt has gotten to me.  How will my children know if they enjoyed the holidays if I don't chronicle it (because of course, this is a burning question most men wrestle with well into their seventies never to have it resolved by those who remember it).  Also, my slight OCD tendencies will not allow me to blog about the present without finishing the chronology up to this point, but that is neither here nor there.  
On our way from Tyler to Haslet, we stopped at the North East Mall to visit the same Santa that we had the previous two years.  He was less jolly than previously, but perhaps that's because we were further into the holiday season than the last time we went.  Ryan and Michael did a great job seeing Santa, but James was having NONE of that.  Last year, Bob and I ended up in the picture by accident, and this year, my arm made an appearance as I shoved the reluctant James into the picture with the man in the red suit.  Ironic that he won't go see Santa since he is by far our friendliest guy.  (And no, he doesn't have a white shirt on under his sweater, he really is just as pasty as the white fur on Santa's suit).
Grandma & Papa Joe were very happy to see us.  We spent almost two weeks with them, and the boys loved it.  By the end of our stay, though, I was so ready to just put the kids down in their beds and call it a night.  I missed my crib tents beyond measure.  James was very excited to play with all of the old animals that had collected at Grandma's house.  I'm pretty sure they started out mostly as Uncle Joseph's toys.
Michael relaxing on the couch, making himself at home.
Ryan enjoys some old friends - Grandma's house has lots of our old baby toys.  The kids really enjoyed seeing them again.
Grandma enjoying her boys being close.
One of the great things about going home for Christmas was getting to see our friends.  The boys, Grandma, & I went to go see our friends Ethan & Nathan (and Mommy's very good friend Leanna).  The boys played so well together.  James and Ethan really enjoyed playing together (and so did Mommy & Leanna).
The boys eat some tasty pizza together.  We love having lunch with our friends!
Last year, we went to Bass Pro Shop BEFORE school let out, and it was wonderful.  This year, we went the day after school let out, and I'm going to say it was one of Dante's circles of hell.  I'm pretty sure it was one of the worst ideas of my life.  (Although the pictures of the boys with Santa belie the hideous hour we waited in line and the absolute monsters my children were being).  One of the fun things to do was ride the carousel.  Ryan is not the biggest fan of carousels, but he will ride in the seat.
James loves the carousel and throws huge fits when we have to get off of them.  Sadly, I have not found a way to coax him off without the public display of displeasure.
Elf-sized Aunt Faith takes a ride on a reindeer.
Michael struts his stuff on Dasher's back.  Sadly, he was going through a phase where he liked to yell "PUT ME DOWN!!!!  NO!!!!  PUT ME DOWN!!!!!"  He still enjoys this tactic, but without his previous vehemence.  Tragically on the demon day, he yelled this throughout Bass Pro Shop with his Uncle Joseph while I was in the bathroom.  Poor Uncle Joseph is still having nightmares about this.
We also got to spend some time with Uncle Stephen and Aunt Melanie.  In order to truly win their love, Aunt Mellie suggested Chuck E. Cheese.  The boys had a blast!  Michael still asks at least once a week if we can go to Chuck E. Cheese again.  I keep telling him, we only go with Aunt Mellie (so far, it's worked).  Uncle Stephen showed Michael the finer points of skee ball.  That overhand throw is a great technique.
Aunt Mellie and Ryan playing a frog game.
Puzzle presents in the car before we left.  Those boys are spoiled!
We also took an evening and went to Weatherford to visit the Erenos.  We had such a great time with them.  Lainie and Riley showed the boys how to feed the horses, and we got to spend lots of time admiring Mykayla.  A slight tragedy occurred in the middle of our visit.  One of the boys pooped (I think it was James, but I'm not sure), his diaper closure caught on the inside of his sweatpants, opened and poop dropped out of the leg of his pants.  Unbeknownst to us, he, then tracked poop all over Riley's room, and Bob and I got to spend lots of time apologizing and cleaning up poop.  (Somehow, I think I could write a book - probably not a very exciting one - about my adventures with poop).
Miss Mykayla was so sweet and so much fun to hold.  Bob was excited when we got in the car, and I told him as wonderful as she is, I don't want another baby - I think his greatest fear is that I'll catch the baby bug again.
While we spent lots of time seeing friends, most of our time was spent with Grandma and Papa Joe.  Here James sports his very favorite Christmas ensemble - PJs, hat, and stocking.  Note Grandma got in on the dress up action as well.
Probably the worst part of our trip was the illness that assailed us all.  The boys caught a cold, but they were mostly over it by the time we left Tyler.  Bob somehow managed to catch bronchitis.  We ended up having to go to the doctor and medicate him after a day or two of abject misery on his part.  Here James gives Daddy a cuddle to make him feel better.
Michael, a fan of many sundry types of head gear, rocks (literally) Aunt Mandy's hat.
Our long and somewhat painful stay at Bass Pro allowed me to get individual shots of the boys with Santa for free (God Bless Bass Pro).  The amount you have to pay for one picture with Santa is pretty ridiculous, but I can't justify paying for three individual shots and a group picture.  James and Santa.  This Santa was WONDERFUL!  He managed to get the reluctant James to not just sit on his lap, but also not to scream like a maniac.
Sweet Ryan spending some quality time with St. Nick.
Michael did a great job, and he and Ryan both told Santa that they wanted "toys" for Christmas (after some prompting from Mom during that LONG line).