Tuesday, January 15, 2013

August on the Move

August was a busy month for the Newhouse clan.  Between Bob's regular travel schedule, we squeezed in my favorite thing - time with family.  Our month started with a bang as Uncle Stevie came to see us.
Uncle Stevie gets lessons on the proper way to play with knights.
Uncle Stevie was dad's first true baseball boy.  He and Bob have gone to stadiums to watch baseball all over the country, and there was no way dad was going to let Uncle Stephen slip away without a trip to our hometown greats, the Suns.  Ryan loves going to games and tagged along with the big kids.
While Stephen was here, he and Bob took a work trip to Tampa which happened to nicely coincide with the Rays being in town.  Bob and I went to a Rays game right after our honeymoon, and I thought it was great fun with all of the rules about hitting balls off the rafters.  Bob prefers his baseball outdoors, though.
James convinces Uncle Stephen to try vacuuming.  I have to admit that I love how the boys grab the vacuum and work alongside me.  I'm hoping that they remember how much fun vacuuming is at the age of 13.
What does a real Jedi do?  Play baseball with a light saber, of course.  Uncle Stephen has much higher baseball standards than mom does.  You have to catch, throw, and you get tagged out.  When mom does it, we all get home runs.  I guess that's why moms aren't baseball managers.
Uncle Stephen was there for Bob's birthday.  We had such a great time with the singing, lighting of the candles, and the Star Wars cake.  I'm pretty sure there's not much that makes the kids happier than a birthday sing along.  A couple of months ago, I heard Ryan talking to the boys about his birthday party.  He told them they had to give him a dollars to come to his birthday.  We had to have a talk about how we don't charge people to come to our parties, and that people don't have to bring you presents.  I'm not sure if it sunk in, but if not, he can always follow in his grandpa Robin's footsteps and be a bouncer at a club.
No trip to Jacksonville is complete without a trip to the beach.  While Bob holed up in the office and made money for us to play, the rest of us took off for the beach.  The boys love splashing in the water and playing in the sand, and Stephen really enjoyed throwing them around in the water, which they couldn't get enough of.  Sadly, I don't have too many beach pictures between the glare of the sun, the water, and enjoying myself, I tend to shirk my photography duties.
Watermelon!  One of the hardest stains to get out of clothing.
Uncle Stephen and his adoring fans.  When we dropped him off at the airport, the boys were so sad to see him go, but for months afterwards, they would tell me "Uncle Stevie ride on a BIG airplane."  I'm not sure if they knew he actually got off of that plane until we saw him at Christmas.
For those of you who are familiar with these pictures, feel free to skip ahead, but I did have to include our trip to Orlando to do things that only nerds are proud of.  Our day of fun and frolicking at the Star Wars Celebration VI was quite lovely.
On the Millennium Falcon, a fabulous family portrait.  The boys really enjoyed the day.  Bob and I were a little overwhelmed by the crowds at first, but once we got past the first few minutes, we had a good time as well.

The boys and a "stormytrooper."  James loves nothing quite as much as a stormytrooper, and to see one in real life, well, it just goes without saying that it was a monumental moment in his world.
We did manage to squeeze in some time with our Jacksonville friends, the Vances.  Mr. Matt joined our band, and he showed us he's got some real chops.
Miss Ella checks out the guitar while Ryan tries to commandeer the sax-o-pone from Mr. Matt.
Along with all of the other stuff happening in August, my lovely redheaded namesake, Nicole, graduated from boot camp in South Carolina.  While we didn't actually attend the service (there are just some things that 3 year old triplets should not do), we did make the trip to see her and all of our lovely Leleuxs.
Julie & Kris (proud parents) rented cabins at a state park, and we hung out with them there.  The boys had a great time just hanging out with the big kids, and I loved having big kids to entertain them.
Horseshoe king James.
Gettin' rowdy with Alie.  Our best redhead cousin from Nebraska was so much fun to play with.  Cousins are awesome.
Bob & David hanging back from the fray discussing sports of some kind, I'm sure.
Jonathan & Ellie take charge.
Kris mans the grill while the rest of us sit back and watch.
David & Jonathan hadn't seen each other all summer, so they had to get some friendly brotherly wrestling in.  After three brothers of a smaller size started imitating them, those grumpy grown ups had to put a stop to it.
Loribeth and the moth.  The boys were fascinated by the large moth we caught and sadly tortured with love.  It flew off eventually, but I don't think it made it through the night.
Cousins jumping on the bed.  I think Alie is under the covers somewhere.
I don't think this family could start a forest fire.  We had quite a production just to get a campfire going, but the kids were fascinated by it, and when Kris started putting lighter fluid on for dramatic effect, James just about had heart palpitations.
Roasting smarsh-smellos with Daddy.
Cajun cousins.  It wasn't our normal outing to the beach and crabbing, but it was just as much fun.
Ready for smores!  We stayed about 45 minutes away from the campsite in a hotel with wifi so that Bob could get some work done, but the boys had a blast at the campsite.  They were so dirty that the bathwater was black and so tired that they passed out in their seats before we pulled out of the park.
Lunch with the graduate who revealed that she did such horrific things as letting her eyebrows get too scruffy and sleeping on the bathroom floor during boot camp.  She even walked like a soldier.  It was great to see her, but I don't like the no hugs rule.
Cousin Jonathan made his first big impact in South Carolina, but this fall, he came to Jacksonville to be a part of Youth With A Mission.  We were able to have lots of good times with him this fall, and if you are a praying person, say a prayer for him as he is currently wandering through the countryside in Thailand.
We also worked on our biking skills in August.  The boys are such good riders now, but I remember August being a lot of pushing, pulling, and sweat as we "rode."
We haven't found the right church fit yet in Jacksonville, and with Bob being gone so much, it's hard to find the energy to get everyone up and dressed to go someplace new, so one Sunday morning, we went to the zoo instead.  It was amazing.  The animals were out and frisky, we were able to get so close to the birds.  Ryan got his head pecked (that flying blonde hair must have looked like a tasty treat), we fed the lorikeets, and had a great time having fun with Daddy.
Too short to con those lorikeets down from their perches.
Joyous James.
Rascally Ryan taunting that bird.
Considerate Michael patiently waiting for his bird to finish.
When we moved to Jacksonville, I saw there was a place called the hands on children's museum.  The boys and I finally got a chance to check it out this summer.  We stayed for hours, and I couldn't even con them out with promises of ice cream.  James, master of dinosaurs.
Fireman Michael.
Postman Ryan looking for that invitation to Momo's 80th birthday party.  The last day of August, we loaded up and headed to Texas by way of Louisiana to celebrate my grandma's 80th birthday.  It was quite a long and fun trip, but thankfully, most of this trip took place in September, and we can finally end this extremely long post.  We've almost made it to the fall!  This plan to catch up might actually work, and I might (don't hold your breath) be able to stay current with our blog.

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