Friday, January 4, 2013

Catching Up in the New Year (June)

I was planning on putting an explanation of why I am so behind on the blog and do a little public self-flagellation about my lack of effort and general exhaustion in this paragraph, but instead, we will just jump right in to June 2012.  One of my favorite things about June is picture time.  Bob and I have made an effort to have our family portraits made around the boys birthday every year, and I absolutely love it.  One of our Jackpott members, Elizabeth Goff, took these for us at Kingsley Plantation, and I think she did a fabulous job.  I've posted the individual shots before, but here are some of the group shots.
If there is dirt, James will dig.
I like this one despite the fact that James is not looking at the camera.  Elizabeth sweated like a trouper trying to get all of those faces looking at the camera and smiling.
You can tell that we are all getting worn out as the kids get more and more amped up.
Handsome boys in spite of the horrible haircuts they got.  Michael's was so bad, I had to take him back the next day to even up his bangs as one side was an inch long and the other was a quarter of an inch long.  This military town is hell on boys haircuts.
Checking it out.  
Happy family.  I love that Bob has a real smile on his face as he tickles the boys.
Let's just say, I am no longer a girl who can drop it like it's hot.  I drop it more like it's just come out of the freezer, stiff and unnatural.
I think this is my favorite picture of the day.  Beautiful boys and scenery.
Working together.  The other day, the boys came out of their room after "nap" time and told me they'd been doing teamwork.  Let's just say, their room is still a disaster area after all that teamwork.
I debated making this picture the one for the blog, but for those of us who know Michael well, that face says, "I'm about to bite someone," and despite the sweet faces of his brothers, I'd always be internally yelling at him every time I open the website.
Three's a crowd in a wagon now.

June was the month of the toad.  This toad made several trips into the house.  First inside Duke's mouth, then hopping in late one night and staying for breakfast.  The boys treated our visitor to a turn of playing temple run on the iPhone, a delicious bagel, and lots of admiration.  Michael was in on all the fun as well, but I didn't have a picture with three kids where the toad was visible.
Date night was big in June.  Bob, Jim & Kathy, and I all took turns having a fun one-on-one time with the boys.  Bob and Ryan went to the "Jack-son-wheel Suns" game where the young acolyte got his game on with a hot dog (required baseball eating according to Ryan).  Bob took each of the boys to a baseball game, I took them all to the beach, and Grandma & Papa did a wide variety of fun things.
While bordering on inappropriate, this picture cracks me up.  You can see a snapshot of my life right here - I have delightfully beautiful toes from the Mother's Day pedicure my boys got me, James' nude phase, and our Umizoomi summer obsession.  
June is also the time for playoffs.  We watched a couple of the Stanley Cup games, and the boys wore some of daddy's old hock-keys jerseys.  
We also watched the basketball playoffs, but we only have one old Mav's jersey and no pictures.
Perhaps the best surprise of June was a pop-in visit from Houston.  Eric, Jeannine, Quinn, & Chloe came for an afternoon visit on their way to Disney.  We had such a wonderful time, and I'm pretty sure all of my boys love those Gabriel girls as they mention them often.
Sweet James on his date night with Mommy.  James has become a very, very, very big Mommy's boy.  He is also a huge homebody.  While Ryan will be in the garage opening the big door before you can finish the sentence "Let's go get in the car," James has absolutely no interest in leaving the house and must be coaxed out.
Sword fighting pirates (recently all of our swords have disappeared as we are watching more superhero shows where the boys are honing their fighting skills and have absolutely no need for weapons to get their fight on).
Attack of the cooties.  I have tried many times to play games with one or all of the boys.  They really like games but lack the patience/focus to play a complete game.  We will all start a game and within two minutes the candyland figures are having a race or the bugs are fighting or the matching cards are flying across the room.  Maybe sometime soon games will start to become more feasible in our house, and I can dominate those monkeys in some hi ho cherry o.

We saw a couple of movies in June with the kids.  We have learned that movies must be individual events, or it becomes a dance party nightmare.  We saw both Madagascar 3 (or Afro Circus Move It Move It as the kids call it) and Brave.  Michael didn't make it through the movie and started having a serious issue with any and all cartoon bears.  The boys did get both of these movies for Christmas, and Michael and the bear seem to be on much better terms on the smaller screen.
The best part of June is birthday time!  Since there are three kids and one party, I feel compelled to make it an event.  The third birthday began with a movie night at the zoo where we had dinner followed by an outdoor showing of Rio (the movie was supposed to be a couple weeks before and got rained out, so it made the birthday weekend extra packed with fun).

Last year, we rented a big jump house in Texas for the kids birthday, but it was just too hot, and I have sense learned that a mere jump house must include slides or some other fancy features to impress my boys.  We debated getting a slide again, but decided to go with using our new pool that Grandma & Papa Joe got us.  The kids loved this pool and would still be swimming in it if I hadn't taken it down because they kept getting in it on cold days.
This year, we had a toy story birthday at our house with our friends.  
Ryan admires the antics of Jacob, Caleb, and Travis.  We are very sad that our BBB friends have moved back to Texas.  We already miss them, but hopefully we can have a playdate when we go to Grandma & Papa Joe's to visit.
Ella and baby Thomas came to play with us, too.  Every time we mention Ella, the boys always want to know about "baby Thomas" as well.  They were pretty fascinated with the whole baby thing.  The other day, Ryan asked me where babies come from, and I decided that we'd just say from a mommy's tummy for now.  That kid asks so many questions, I'd better start boning up on my knowledge of chlorophyll and light refraction so that I can answer those grass and sky questions.
A happy James sporting a smidge of stolen frosting on his lip.
Michael demonstrating that the brats daddy cooked were delicious.
Mr. Joe and Matthew having fun outside in our "playground" as the kids call it.  They stayed and watched baseball with us after the party and we had such a good time.
Cake time!  I have decided I like one big cake with three birthday cupcakes for the boys.  It seems to work well for everyone to have their own candles to blow out (I learned at the Christmas Eve candlelight service that I should have spent more time teaching those kids that there are other kind of candles than birthday candles).
Present time!  Mrs. Karen along with Abby and Chloe sat on the couch and watched the first opening of presents we'd ever done at a party.  Let me say, it is a lot of work to get three kids presents, keep 'em coming, and get thank yous delivered to the right people.
Sunday was our actual birthday, and here we are outside waiting for Grandma & Papa to bring the gifts from Mom & Dad.  I tried to get the boys to let me take a birthday group picture, but that was out of the question for Michael.
Bikes!  I thought the boys were a little young for bikes, but when we started the process, they were already too big for the first bikes.  These are 16 inch wheels!  What happened to my little men?  If you ask Ryan, he'll tell you that they got hair on their arms and grew up.
There was a bit of a fiasco with these bikes.  In order to get three distinct bikes we had to shop around.  I bought a Cars bike for James and a Toy Story bike for Michael from Wal-Mart ship to store.  We went to pick up the bike, and the bike guy had not put Michael's bike together yet, so we went the next day, and the store had sold our bike to someone else.  Ryan got a spiderman bike which I bought online from Sears.  It came without all of the pieces, so figuring out how to return that was a fiasco as well.  I have learned my lesson.  In the future, all bikes will be put together and off the "showroom floor" a store.
It took the boys a bit to get the hang of it, but by September, they were all three great riders with training wheels.  Daddy got a bike for Christmas, and we are looking forward to taking our bikes somewhere fun for a real ride while Mommy sits in the car and waves.  Haha!
Michael was the last of the boys to get the hang of bike riding.  He is so much like his father - anything for a laugh.  For the longest time, he would ride into the curb on purpose and crash into the grass for fun.  Thankfully, he has found it more enjoyable to stay astride of the bike rather than beside it in the last few months.
Cake time on our actual birthday.  The boys love singing happy birthday and blowing out candles.  They also love to lick the frosting off of the candles (on my birthday, I'd barely blown those bad boys out before three hands were snatching off candles and licking - luckily, I'm old enough that no one attempted double dipping of the candles this time).
Grandma & Papa Joe joined us via iPad for cake and presents.  It is hard to be far from family, but I am so grateful to live in the day and age of video chatting.  It's almost as good as being there when you can't actually be there.
Grandma & Papa got the boys a "cookbook" outdoor kitchen with grill that the kids love.  Yesterday, they made me a meal from their cookbook (why it's not a kitchen, I have no idea) and allowed me to pick up all that food and put it back in the picnic basket by myself.  They are such thoughtful boys.

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