For the last couple of years, fall has been forecast time at Buffet Group, and that means company meetings. Now that we live in Jacksonville, I actually get to meet the people behind all those funny comments and entertaining stories Bob tells me about. Laurie is based out of New York, and she took some time to stop by the house and show off her basketball skills. She also brought the kids these wonderful NY t-shirts.
Sometimes, basketball must take a backseat to the important things in life, like Elmo.
One of our favorite parts of last fall were playgroups with Jackpotts. Our good friends, the Stewarts, were also Texas triplets living in Jacksonville. We loved playing with them and our singleton friend Matthew (Abby and Chloe were at school). Sadly, the Stewarts have moved back to the Metroplex, and we miss them very much.
Not only do we like to play with our friends, we also love to play with our brothers. We spent many a fall afternoon setting up the train and sending Thomas around the tracks.
Since we live in the Sunshine State, we were able to use our pool for a long time last summer. the kids loved it. We spent many an hour jumping and swim racing (thanks to the Olympics, we had many, many races of all kinds).
I love the reckless abandon with which Ryan approaches life. This means he often does things like fall over, step into puddles, run into things, etc. He is always moving fast. I hope he learns over time to look where he's going.
James and Michael loved to stack the spidey rings three deep and float around the pool. They also liked to stand on my knees and jump into the pool (which meant I was always wetter than I wanted to be).
Last year, we spent a great deal of time at the beach with Papa. We tried to go once a week. It got to the point that the boys expected to go to CiCi's pizza after every beach trip (gotta love kids eat free places). This year, they still ask to eat at CiCi's, but since we have to pay for their food, I make sure we only go when we are very, very, very hungry.
Costumes were a HUGE player in our world last year (and still are). The boys have always loved to play dress up, but since we have gotten our "suits," there is rarely a day that passes where someone has not been in costume.
Last fall, Cousin Jonathan came to Jacksonville to attend Youth with a Mission (YWAM). It was nice to get to see him every once in a while. Before his school started, he stayed with us for a few days, and we went to the beach (with Papa, of course). Jonathan (having spent his life enjoying the less than lovely Holly Beach) was really impressed by how wonderful the water is here in Jacksonville.
It seems like I have a thousand pictures where we are doing the same thing - going to the beach. I really do love the beach. Poor Bob can find almost nothing that he likes about the beach, but he is a good sport and will accompany us whenever I ask.
My freak child (James) drinking out of the tide pool. I wish that I could explain why on earth he was doing this, but some things defy explanation. In addition to consuming sea water, James loves to dig. He can create a mean hole.
Enjoying the surf. With three small boys, I try to stay very close to shore when we are in the water. There have many reports of shark sightings at our regular beaches lately. I don't want to be the mom who wasn't paying attention and must rush to the hospital with a shark related injury.
Michael enjoying the surf. Of all the boys, Michael will stay in the water the longest. He LOVES jumping in the waves. He also builds (and subsequently destroys) a mean sand castle.
Ryan on the run. Ryan's favorite thing to do at the beach is throw the football out and chase it as the waves bring it back to shore.
After the beach, we introduced Jonathan to the joys of CiCi's beach day. Michael hangs out with Spidey in his car.
Ryan and James pretend to drive their "be-hick-ulls."
Since the boys have been around, Bob has mellowed somewhat in his love of all things Cowboys. (This means that instead of listening to talk radio all day in an obsessive way, he only thinks about the Cowboys 50% of the time). I saw these great helmets and jerseys and just had to have them. I should have waited until Christmas, but then football season would have been over.
Ryan was most impressed by the first football game of the year that mattered the "Cowboy Bears" game. When he sees the Chicago logo, he refers to them as the Cowboy Bears. Ryan is our main sports fan. He saw a recap of the Bronco/Ravens game on TV at the restaurant tonight and kept asking Bob questions about Peyton Manning and Tony Romo.
James likes to run and play. Anytime the Cowboys are on TV, he has to suit up and get in the game.
I'm not sure how much of a sports fan Michael would be without his brothers to encourage him. He's never the first kid to pull out the sports equipment, but he sure does hold his own when he's "on the field." Lately, they have been tackling each other (much to my displeasure, but what can one do about genetics?). Michael sure does like to hit but is not very fond of being on the receiving end. Bob says he's a born defensive player.
Grandma Kathy relaxing with the boys after a backyard swim. For some unknown reason, Bob taught the boys the joys of "wet hugs," so now after a bath, they run naked and dripping and fling themselves on top of you screaming "wet hugs!" I appreciate James who will then dry off and come back for a "warm hug."
More fun with the Jackpotts at the park. Ed Austin Park has tons of pine trees, so we refer to this park as the "bird nest park." We make bird nests of pine needles and then fill it with pine cone eggs. Grand excitement and fun. This park also has swings which means work for mom. The boys are getting better at swinging themselves, but they would always prefer a push from me.
As the boys have gotten older, I've been more adventurous in going to the store with the kids. It's still something I have to make myself do, but it's getting easier and easier. Last fall, the boys and I ventured to Target while Bob was out of town, and we found the Halloween costume aisle. I thought we could just look at the costumes. Foolish woman. I found the cheap $10 costumes and was suckered in. These three "suits" are very much still in use, but they are literally falling apart. I guess it was well worth the $30.
Meet "Captain UH-MARE-UH-KUH." He has a shield that he throws and when out of costume is know as Steve Rogers.
Thor (his hammer has a few chunks bitten out of it since Michael got his choppers on it), master of all he surveys. Ryan is no longer in love with Thor. He has much more love for Iron Man, but what's a guy to do when his mom insists that we not duplicate costumes.
Iron Man or Just James? James really gets into character. He will make noises when he uses his repulsors or whatever they are called. He has spent many a day as Tony Stark. Of course, when he is no longer in the mood to be Tony Stark, he will tell me "I just James, mom." When Ryan is Tony Stark, I am Pepper Potts. He is always incorporating me into his fantasy land - I've gotten to be Princess Leia, Pepper Potts, Indiana Jones' girlfriend, etc. It's pretty exciting to be me.