Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Year Behind

Today, I finally turned on my laptop for the first time in months.  I looked at the first photo in our last twelve months folder and realized that it was a picture from my Grandma's 80th birthday party, which was one year ago.  Time has flown by, and I can't believe how much we've done in the last year.  Bob's computer is in the shop (the boys keep putting tons of cds in the cd drive, and so I'm without all of our pictures from our trip to Louisiana and Texas from last year).  We had a fabulous time celebrating Momo's 80th birthday/family reunion.  I have some great pictures, but you're lucky enough not to have to look at them.  
On our way from Florida to Louisiana, we made a short pit stop in Amite to see the Clay Cains.  My cousin Ann's new baby, Drew, was James's favorite part of the stop despite the indoor bounce house and cousins the same age to play with.
At Momo's we partied like she was 79.  The boys love the zip line my Uncle Frank installed across the backyard.  Momo had to get in on the zip line action even though she was wearing her dressy party clothes.
There's not much better than a sleeping kid.  Peaceful and so sweet.  Here are the boys enjoying the pullout bed in the hotel.  The first thing I noticed is that James has his pacifier.  It's hard to believe he's been without it for almost a year.  I thought we'd never let it go (he does still inquire about his pacifier almost as often as Ryan wonders why I gave his blanket brown to some other kid - the blankets are hiding in my closet).
I found a couple of pictures from the party.  Here Ryan is observing Daddy, Mitchell, and Uncle Mike boil up the shrimp.  It was the most unusual group of cooks, but the shrimp were delicious and despite the unfortunate emptying of the shrimp water over Bob's feet and the subsequent hideous odor which filled our hotel room that evening (I went immediately to buy the first pair of sandals I could find and threw those babies out).
Uncle Mike gives Michael a lesson in fishing.  Uncle Zach, on grilled sausage duty, mans his post.  The party was wonderful, but the most fun of the family weekend was the night before when the drinks were flowing, various members of the family were attempting to take over control of the iPod (music), and dancing was the order of the day.  Without Uncle Frank to expound upon conspiracy theories, the stories weren't quite as fabulous.  I know we were all thinking of Popo Gejo as well.  Even now, I can picture the smile he always had when our rowdy group really got going.  I am certain, he was watching in heaven, smiling.
Once again, the Michaels.  The kids had a great time.  In a few short years, I know they'll discover the joys of flashlight tag in Momo's backyard, and the world will never be the same again.  They might actually catch one of those lizards they are always chasing, too.
Poor Bob didn't get a vacation until the beginning of September last year, and I remember that he was in desperate need of some down time.  We were able to take a little time after the crowds cleared out to spend some time with Momo.  The boys adore their Momo.  I'm pretty sure it's mutual. We spent a day just relaxing before we headed to Houston to visit the Gabriels.
Probably one of the most entertaining parts of our trip to Eric & Jeannine's was the basketball show Bob and Eric put on.  Quinn was playing on a basketball team that Eric was coaching, so there was much display of skills.  Before our trip to the front to play basketball (with a little football heaving during the down time), Ryan fell into the pool in the backyard.  Only Ryan.  That child never looks where he is going.  James decided to run into oncoming traffic to retrieve a basketball in the front yard.  I'm not sure why Michael didn't try to kill himself, but by the end of the evening, I think we properly demonstrated the difference between three boy children and two girl children.
The boys after Ryan's unplanned dip into the pool.  We always have such a wonderful time we when get a chance to see the Gabriels.  Now that we're older and have more children, there is a lot less alcohol consumed, but still as much fun.
In DFW, as always, our schedule was packed with lots of friends and family time.  Other than our trip to the museum with Uncle Joseph, Aunt Mellie, and Uncle Stevie, the details are a little hazy to me.  I'm sure if I had the rest of my pictures (I have all of the ones we took with our phones, but the ones from the camera are currently residing in the Apple Store), I'd be able to expound on all of the fabulous things that we did, but my memory is limited.
Mom and I bought a membership to the museum for eight instead of buying individual tickets.  It was a great investment.  We've been to many a "dinosaur museum" as a result.  Uncle Joseph gives James a ride on the bed of nails.  I can't remember how many times he did this, but I think it's somewhere between a million and a billion.  Ryan loved the water guns in the outside area, and Michael spent a great deal of time using the pulley system with the bucket and foam bricks. 
Aunt Mellie gives the kids a lesson in oil & gas (yes, this IS Texas).  We all enjoyed the IMAX movie about the Arctic.  Polar Bears and Walruses were big players in our world after that movie.
I'm sure that we had a wonderful time at Grandma & Papa Joe's house.  Unfortunately, what I remember most about that trip was how miserably uncomfortable I was at night with the kids all climbing in the bed with us and then falling off of that skyscraper bed.  I think my main memory of this trip was holding onto James's foot so that he didn't fall off the bed all night long - not a very restful endeavor.  Last summer, the kids were still in their cribs complete with crib tents.  Oh how I long for the days of three hour naps and seven p.m. bedtimes.  Of course, I definitely DON'T miss the diapers. 
Since we live so far away and the kids are young, my parents never really get a chance to be with the kids one on one.  Bob and I tried to give them a little taste of individual time with a rotation of Madagascar 3 (at the Dollar Movie) with Daddy, Putt Putt Golf with Mommy and Aunt Faith, and Chuck E. Cheese with Grandma.  It went well, and I even managed to convince the kids for a good part of the year that there were no Chuck E Cheese restaurants in Florida.  While we were in Texas, Zach & Mandy closed on their first house.  We were able to go and check it out before we left, and it made me so happy that the timing worked out for us to get to see it.  They have since acquired furniture and snake has moved in, so the boys think it is wonderful.
Our last stop before Florida was at Aunt Sue & Uncle JP's house.  The most entertaining thing for the boys was watching Aunt Sue take off her hair.  James is so disappointed that it doesn't come off anymore.  She did have quite a few wigs, and the boys tried them on for size and looked like a tiny version of an 80s hair metal band.  This trip was our last attempt at making the 14 hour drive (that's without stopping for any reason) in one day.  When we got home, Michael went around the house and greeted all of his things.  After being away from home for so long, I know exactly how he felt.

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