Wednesday, November 14, 2012


This year, after some waffling, we were a Vampire and a bat.

Jence ended up looking a bit rock and roll... kind of a mix between Dracula and David Bowie...

Duke is obsessed with water...and anything else that he shouldn't touch.

At this little trick or treat downtown he was content to run circles around us, until the first piece of candy went into his bucket...

And then it was on!

And on, and on...

Sharing... an amazing, if erratic, new development.

My boys.  They are so great. Especially the big one. I like him. And the little ones...


On our way out to trick or treat. Can you sense the energy...? 

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Crazy in TN

 You may recall that we met the Gibbs in Ft Lewis, then moved with them to Germany, then again we were stationed together in Ft Benning.  We had a bit of a slap in the face when right after we both had our second little guys we had to move away from each other for the first time since we both got married

Brittany and I decided to meet in the middle in Pigeon Forge TN for a few days before the summer was over. So here I chronical four days, four boys, and two crazy ladies.

 We met up at Joann Fabrics and got our first taste of the combined energy of four little boys.

 We headed to Cici's (because both of my kids will actually eat pizza). And Duke found the fun stuff.


 After we got settled into our rooms, which had a door adjoining them, which was oh-so fun to open and shut over and over and over again, (and which by the time we finished our stay, only Duke had managed to lock himself into a room by himself, and only once), we headed down to the pool, via the luggage cart. Because its more fun that way.

 Look at that Jence- such a little swimmer! And note Duke's hand- both of my boys have always had a thing for Brittany...

 Rockin' the dino towels (as a side note; Duke haaaates his. Or any towel. After a bath you have to hold him captive for a twenty second pat down and then jump back quickly to avoid the flailing limbs when he is released and instantly starts running.)

 The whole crew taking advantage of our space!

 Monkey-shines. Jumping on the bed AND watching TV. They could have done this the whole time...

 The two little ones had to go to sleep first- which presented a bit of a problem. So we brought camp chairs, towels, a computer, treats, and a craft out on the balcony and set up camp. It was pretty funny looking, but worked very nicely.

 Here we are making the pirate boats they wanted to get. We made them one night, and painted them the next. Jensen insisted we buy rhinestones to glue on them. He told me that even though it was pretty it was still a bad-guy ship. Of course.

 Fossils! Our first big activity was definitely aimed at Jensen. Tristan wanted to know when we were going to go do "something fun".

 But Jensen was in hog heaven. We went mining for gems! We bought a big old bucket of dirt and they panned the goods out.

 I thought Jensen was going to pass out- he was so excited.

 Looking back I'm not sure how we managed to keep D's hands out of that bucket...

 What a goof.

 We got there first thing in the morning, so no one else was there yet, which is fabulous for little men who aren't interested in anything but running wild and free....

 Mr. Miner was nice enough to take an unsteady picture of all of us...

 It really was fun to watch him find his treasures.

 Next it was Tristan's turn to call the fun shots, so of course we headed directly to the go-karts. And all was well. And then Jensen decided he was "too shy" (his new go-to phrase- and let me tell you, this kid is the antithesis of shy)  to drive one. I have no clue what happened, but there it is.

 But Duke had rocks to play in.

 So all was well for him.

 Oh, all the fun we had...

 Typical. Duke prefers to push (or check his pulse?), Jensen to laze....

 All we heard from the moment we saw it was how we HAD to go play at the upside down house... so we did.

 And had a marvelous time. (after the initial break down from both my children caused by the entrance, which was a black lit, fun house style ramp, with the cylindrical walls spiraling around making you dizzy. Super.)

 And sorry for all the iPhone photos... Alex gets mad at me for leaving all my cameras at home and taking pictures of our lives with the phone... guilty as charged.


Giant bubbles are always a crowd pleaser.

Have I ever mention that although D must be able to run around on his own to be fully happy in life, he very frequently prefers to be held. And he is heavy. I can't decide if it's making me stronger of throwing out my back...

I had to try this. I've always wanted to- that and walk on coals, walk through walls, fly....

A stringless harp- easier to keep in tune I would assume.

Apparently the pizza smelled delicious. It was from a top notch snack bar...

 Ah, the painting of the pirate ships...

 And donuts...

 Next was a trip out to Kade's Cove.

 Jensen had the map-

 so we knew just where to go...

 We were a bit slower than the Gibbs....

 Don't know

 why we

 took so long...

 Kade's Cove is an old settlement that is now a national park. We got to play at an old homestead.

 See the shirts we got the day before?

 Again, follow Jence. This time into the woods.


 Momma and D
 The Gibbs and the view... again, we lagged. I'm pretty sure both times it was due to Jensen and some form of whining, which was eventually was solved by a rousing chorus of The Ants Go Marching...

 Of course, as we had planned a picnic, it started to rain. So my boys finished up tailgate style.


 On our way home we decided to take a splash in the river. As we had not planned this event we made due.
This one is all Jence. That is his cowboy pose (which, though we have seen much of it since, was only learned the day before at the "old timey" photo place).

 I'm still really quite shocked that this was a go for him- he hates dirt, and slimy-ness, but no one mentioned it and he had a ball. Apparently the love of water trumps some very big things.

 And here we have an accurate cameo of Duke. Where there is something that can be thrown upward to make a mess all over his head, Duke will be there.

D would have sat here all day.

Throwing water

Looking at rocks.

Ah, the thrill of discovery...

I believe both were looking at rocks..

 As my children do, Duke kept a rock in his hand the whole time. This itty-bitty rock.

 On the final evening outside we made necklaces, which now is a tradition. Brit and I took Jensen and Tristan to Myrtle Beach for 2 weeks when they were about 9 months old while our husbands were gone together in Iraq. That was the first of our trips. And the first time we bought them necklaces. (Which my in-laws would still insist make them look like dang hippies... but that's why we love them...the in-laws, the hippies, and the necklaces...)

 The next morning, and final day of our trip we rode some rides- with the tickets we had already purchased for the no-go go-karts. The train and the carousel were the only ones that were tame enough for Duke and the newly "shy" Jensen.

And again, only on seats on the carousel with Duke.

So cute.

On our last day we were trying to find an activity that would make everyone happy- and we found a toy store. Bingo!

I'm pretty sure we were in here for 2 hours. More...?

The staff was amazing.  They let them go at it. Everything was fair game. They even showed them how to play with the stuff they didn't know how to use.

Look at them, all over the place! (They were chasing a robot our from under the display. Duke was talking to the sales girl.)
We ended up taking this ducky home with us, Duke didn't put it down for a solid 20 mins.

This is right in front of the front door.

Flirting with the sales girl.

Look at her playing on the floor with him!

Duke stayed right here for an hour. No joke. He loved those penguins.

A little post play treat.

We had such a wonderful, if craaazy time...can't wait for next year... ;)