Tuesday, July 29, 2014

3rd Birthday Party - Circus Time

Well, its hard to believe but it has now come and gone. Our kids 3rd birthday that is. When Katie and I began this journey 3 and a half years ago we were told that the first 3yrs were going to be the most difficult. It seemed that everything we read said that it would so much tougher for us the first three years of their lives but it would begin to get easier around year 3. As I sit here, reflect on the past 3yrs and contemplate that statement I think that I have to agree. It is beginning to get easier. Now don't get me wrong, there are things that are more difficult for us. Back talk and having to punish those we love the most come to the forefront of my mind. That being said though, gone are the 24 hours sleepless periods. Gone are the constant supervision. And by constant supervision we literally had to watch them at all times so that they would not do something that could seriously hurt themselves. (I.E. stick a penny in the light socket like their father did) Gone is the constantly wanting to know what they are wanting b/c the could not communicate it. Gone are the days when I was so scared to take them anywhere by myself because I required so so much work and I wasn't confident I could do it. Gone are the wake up calls from crying children as often as 3-5 times a night. Gone are the having to literally feed all of them their food. All of those things those little actions that we had to take in order to care for our three angels are slowly going away or are completely gone as they begin to comunicate, learn to care for themselves and become self aware. Its crazy to think back to just 3years ago and remember the first months they were alive and how we were on 4 hour schedules for feeding and I kid you not when I say there were days, sometimes several in a row, where there was someone crying or needing something 24 hours of the day. I know we think bedtime is difficult now. And I guess it is compared to being able to just rock them to sleep and lay them down in their crib. However, it rarely takes us more than an hour and I'd say 5 out of 7 nights a week now all kids sleep through the night and until at least 5:30 the next morning. That is a DRAMATIC difference from where we were just a year ago when one of the three and several nights a couple of them would wake up crying at 11 and 1am and again at 3am. I admit I was not very good at the nights so that burden really fell on Katie. There were times she would literally be working on 3-4 hours of sleep over a 48-72 hour period. How she did it, I still have no idea. There are so many other examples of ways that our work load has begun to diminish and the fun is just beginning. Every day, whether it is in the morning or in the evening, I make a point to lay down on the floor and scream out "Who wants to wrestle!!!" Without fail I have three giggly smiley happy babies come running from whatever corner of the house they have been in and jump on my. It truly is the highlight of my day. Just this morning as I waited for Grace to get to the house I was tag teamed by Kade and Maggie while trying to watch the news in the living room. They would climb on my back and I would pull them off, roll them over and tickle them until they couldn't take it anymore. Then the next one would attach and I would repeat the above. It is so much fun. I have to admit, 3 may be more difficult in have to dicipline and the like but for whatever amount more difficult it will become with the talk back ect.. it will become ten time more joyous to watch them play, learn and take in this big beautiful world.
Happy Birthday Larkin, Maggie and Kade
Mommy and Daddy Love You Very Much!
Bitzy's Bites (Along with help from MB and LaLa) make these incredible Circus Cupcakes

Candy Station

Clown Momma, Bitzy and Berkley at the Circus

CrackerJack, Lolipops, Cupcakes, Peperments, Lemon Heads, Jelly Beans and lot of goodies on the candy table

The best we pick we could get :)

Lil Bit Loved her Bday

Gimme that present dada

Where is my present guys?

What is is Maggie?

Thanks everyone for coming out! It means a lot to us!!!

Uncle Dave, Aunt MB and Bitzy


Bean Bag Toss

Yummy Cupcakes!

Clown Kenzie

Backyard fun on the swing set

What is is Mimi and Deda?

Look what I got Mommy!

Bad Clown!

Sweet baby Welsley and Aunt Indie

It was this big daddy! (Notice Da in his normal position with the video camera)

Wilder loved the Jump House

Will, help me with the bulldozer please sir

Momma and clown Kenzie

Playing soccer with Uncle Wes and Wynn

I get you Kenzie!

Dad, come on in the waters fine :)

Thanks Andy and Dana for my awesome bulldozer

I love presents!

My little pony ya'll!

Play DOH!!!!

This red tractor is cool

Buy me some peanuts and crackerjack!
Thanks for the cupcakes Bitzy

Mommy and Maggie Moo


See what we were working with here???
P.S. - With all the crazyness that is our life I completly forgot to take pictures at the party. Thank goodness Katie and Kristin did take some. That being said, I want to apologize in advance that we were not able to get pictures of everyone. It is not because we do not love you. WE DO! It is because we live inside of a tornado and sometimes we miss some things. Thank you so much for everyone who came out, supported us, helped set up, helped clean up and who just loves us!!! You are all awesome

Monday, July 7, 2014

Watersound Beach Trip 2014

Good morning, afternoon or evening to all! It is the Monday following our 10 day visit to the panhandle of FL and in particular Watersound Beach. It was a great trip. In fact, it just keeps getting better and better. If you remember my previous beach blogs, you will recall that 2012 was just a disaster, 2013 was better but this year blew both of those two out of the water. First things first. We had great weather. We were there for 9 days and did not have a single drop of rain. The final two days, the 4th and 5th of July were just perfect. 89-90 degrees with low humidity and a green glass ocean with very little seaweed.

We decided to do the trip this year later into the summer instead of in May so we could have some vacation time with my family. We rented a cottage in watersound next door to mom's beach house and it was perfect. In addition to Bitzy we were also joined by MaryBeth(Ruffin for a day), David, Rusty, Leslie, Aunt Kay(LaLa) and Hank(Doda)  at mom's house. Just down the beach in Rosemary was dad's family. DA, BB, Alex, Abby, Aunt Babs, Uncle Mac, Aunt Becca, Uncle Tony, Liz, Chad, Emma, Bub and Alexa. It was the first time that we had so much family within a few miles of each other so it was nice to be able to spend time with everyone. It was a little tricky finding time with the kids nap and sleep schedule to get them ready and moved down the beach but we were able to do so a couple times and they had a lot of fun.

As with every trip we take there were some really awesome memories and some pretty funny stories. Included in that were the following:

1. Larkin wrecking the golf cart (Twice)
2. Me losing my glasses in an interesting fashion
3. Naked Pics
4. Tommy John and John John making messes
5. Fireworks on the beach during a make out session
6. Amazing Dinners (Multiple - All homemade)
7. Babs on a Pontoon boat
8. Chasing Dolphin
9. Maggie swimming on her own
10. Kade swimming on his own
11. Nap time with Diego and the kids
12. Spontaneous skinny dipping by the kids
13. Grandpa stories with DA and the Fordhams

I know there are more but I just can't think of them at this time. Now lets give a little detail on each of those above:

1. Larkin figured out how to turn the key on in the golf cart and punch the gas. The first time Bitzy was watching him and he snuck outside and rammed her front patio. The second time was all my fault. I needed to grab something off our golf cart and Larkin was asking for the keys. I was standing right behind my cart so I gave them to him thinking if he hopped in and tried to take off I was standing right there and would be able to put an end to it before he could do any damage. What I was not counting on was the fact that he would take the keys and run up to Bitzy's golf cart. Her cart was about 10 feet in front of mine and I clearly saw him climb in and start reaching the keys into the hole. For some reason though I thought these golf carts had different keys and the keys to my cart would not be able to start hers. Well.... It only took about two seconds for me to realize how wrong I was. From the time he jumped into the cart to the time he slammed it into three of mom's extremely large flower pots and corner of her brick entryway was about 2.2 seconds. He literally jumped in, turned it on and stomped on the pedal. I mean, you should have seen the look on my face. I was standing RIGHT there and saw it all happen. As the cart took off all I could hear (Before the 400+lb vehicle slammed into her enormous flower pots that is) was a shriek of pure joy! Yaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy! He was so happy and proud of himself. At least for a second.  That sound was quickly replaced by the familiar crys of pain as the poor little guy crashed into the front dash of the cart. Luckily he was not hurt but just scared. I would like to think he may have learned a lesson but I know that is not the case. In fact, we had to continually keep the keys in a place that he could not reach them b/c he wanted to go again and again and again.

2. Losing my glasses - I won't go into the details here but lets just say it was a shi-- experience :-)

3. Naked Pics - So, every year we go down to the boardwalk and beach to get our yearly family pictures. This year was no different. Sat morning, we got up, dressed the kids, met MB and Bitzy and headed down to the boardwalk. Everything was going just as planned until about 20 mins into our session. You see, two of our three munchkins hate wearing clothes if they don't have to. (Well, actually its really just Maggie, but Kade can be bad at times as well) So, within a matter of moments our kids went from dress shirts, shorts, blouse and skirt(Just Maggie..I promise) to completely naked and running like mad men up and down the beach. It happened so fast that we just went with it and after an initial viewing of the photo's I think we may actually cherish these 5-10 mins of improv pics more than any we have ever taken.

4. Tommy John and John John - This trip will be remembered for the boys blaming every mess or strange happening on Tommy John (Larkin's name for him) and John John (Kade's name for him). It started about a week or two before our trip. I was watching the college world series on TV and the commentators were discussing a pitcher from one of the teams that had come back from Tommy John surgery. Just as that was happening a draft caused our garage door to close with no one actually closing it. Larkin, looking confused that the closed by itself, asked me "who close door dada?" Not really thinking about it, I just blurted out that Tommy John did it. "Oh, Tommy John did it" he replied back to me inquisitively. I didn't think anything about it again until we were in the cottage beach house and I asked Larkin (Who had just got done making a mess with his play doh) who made that mess Larkin? He turned to me and blurted out "Tommy John. Tommy John made the mess dada" Of course, it was so unexpected and shocking to me that he remembered that from a week before that Katie and I began laughing at it. Well, you know what happens when a two year old says something that makes the adults laugh. They begin saying it all the time. So now, every time the TV was turned off without him expecting it or a door shut that he didn't see but heard or if he poured out a bag of chips on the kitchen floor it is always, "Tommy John Did It". Now, Kade had not been a part of the original conversation but he picked up on what Larkin was doing only his mess maker is "John John" instead of "Tommy John". Also, where as it appears that Larkin doesn't mind Tommy John and doesn't seem to get scared when he brings him up I get the feeling that Kade is a little more apprehensive of his imaginary buddy/mess maker. Anyway, its a fun little story and fun when they blame something on TJ or JJ

5. Fireworks and a make out session - So, on Fourth of July night David, Rusty, Leslie, MaryBeth and I headed down to the beach with a couple big boxes worth of fireworks. We were ready to have a great time blowing stuff up and looking forward to just hanging out together. As we approached the beach MaryBeth flashed Hank's million watt spotlight out across the beach and we saw that there was absolutely no one there. Yay! Just our little group. That's great news for us. However, about 5 mins after we got down we were joined by a couple guys and girls. They were not trying to avoid us. Actually, it was quite the opposite. The blond haired young man approached and asked if we were about to shoot fireworks. Why, yes we are I replied. Awesome, can we watch? was he response. I said yes found out he was about to be a freshman at U of Alabama and told them to settle in for the great show. Now, truth be told, the next 30 mins I was really focused on the fireworks and making sure not to blow myself up so I did not pay a lot of attention to the two young men and their lasses. However, about halfway through our show David grabbed me and made a comment along the lines of "I think he's getting laid tonight" or something like that. Still not really paying attention, I glanced over and saw the ladies sitting on the guys laps and both couples were lip locked. What was odd about this is that they were only about 10 feet away from us and didn't seem to care who was watching. We continued to shoot our fireworks and even during our triple bomb grand finally the couples continued their make out session. I mean, we could have pulled out cameras, hired a light crew complete with a boom mike and it still would not have stopped them. I guess when you are 18 and don't know any of the people out on the beach you just don't care. All you care about is that your parents aren't there. Anyway, the firework show was a lot of fun regardless of the Bama Bang Gangs extracurricular activity.

6. Amazing Dinners - Everything was awesome! I'm just going to list the menu's for each night

Fri - Shrimp, Corn and New Potatoes - Bitzy's Shrimp Boil
Sat. - Chicken Piccata - Lemon Butter Sauce and Capers over Angel Hair Pasta - Bitzy's creation
Sun - Steak Dinner - Twice Baked Potatoes, Ribeye's, Broccoli, Onion Casserole, Rolls - Rhett and Bitzy
Mon - Low Country Boil - Shrimp, Sausage, Corn, Potatoes, Crab, apps - Uncle Mac
Tue. - BBQ Chicken, creamed corn, okra, butter beans, jap cornbread, summer squash and tomatoes - Doda, Lala, Bitzy and Rhett
Wend - Stinky's Fish Camp - (Only night we ate out) Oyster Sampler (5 types of baked oysters) - fried fish and shrimp platter (Just my dinner)
Thur - Pizza - DA and Bev's house swimming party for the kids
Fri - 4th of July - Burgers, dogs, slaw, chili, and all the good American foods
Sat - Whole hog Luau at Watersound Beach Club

Also, LaLa's pimento cheese needs to be mass produced and sold in grocery stores. Its truly the best I've ever had.

As you can see, we ate very very well! In fact, I gained 6 lbs :)

7. Ten years ago, if you would have asked mom to go on a pontoon boat she would have looked at you like you were crazy. But that was ten years ago and a lot has changed since then. This time she gladly hoped aboard and really enjoyed herself with the trio and fam. I'm so glad Doda and Lala set it up. Our kids loved it and so did we. Not to mention, we got some great pics!

8. Chasing Dolphin - Well, if you know Katie then you know she LOVES dolphins. In fact, when Rusty and Leslie got married a few months ago the highlight of her trip (Besides the wedding of course) was that she got to actually swim with them. I literally don't think I have ever seen a smile on her face as big as the one when she got back from that experience. So, imagine the delight she and MaryBeth had when we rolled the Kayak down to the beach at exactly the right time. I mean, we literally rolled up just as a pod of 10 or so dolphins were swimming by the second sand bar. I was going to head out with sis to check out the wildlife but when we saw the dolphin coming it was just to good an opportunity for Katie to pass up so I gladly gave up my seat, pulled the boat into the water and helped MB and Katie load up to see if they could catch to pod. Sure enough, there were able to not only catch up with them they got close enough that they could have reached down into the water and touched them. Katie said they were swimming all around the kayak and it was just as exciting as if she was in the pool with them in Mexico. I was so happy that she got to do that.

9. Maggie Swimming - One of the best things Katie and I got out of this trip was the ability to watch our kids start to become comfortable being uncomfortable in the water. What I mean by that is that they are ok jumping in and being under water for seconds at a time. It no longer scares them (Well, maybe it does a little for Larkin). I guess that could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the way you look at it. Yes, we will have to be a little more careful at the pool so as to not let the kids jump in without someone around, but we are also one step closer to them full on swimming. Out of the three Maggie really took to it first. She LOVES the water and swimming. About the third day of the trip she became the first of the triplets to jump off the steps and side of the pool and swim to Katie and I. We don't stand back that far, usually about 7-10 feet from the steps, but she certainly is capable of swimming that distance with no assistance. As with any 2yr old I'm sure, she can only go a small distance without having to have some help but it does not phase her at all. She can't get enough. From counting 1,2,3...11 then jumping off the side to asking Daddy to take her out in the ocean she just loved everything that had to do with the pool and ocean. She also was the first to use the goggles. Its pretty funny to watch actually. She will put the goggles on, jump in and swim to one of us two or three times then take the goggles off and take them back to the swim bag. Then five mins later she will do it again. I bet there were a couple trips to the pool that she did that 10-15 times.

10. Kade Swimming - Not to be outdone, as soon as Kade saw Maggie jumping in and swimming to mommy and daddy he was quick to join the party. Whats funny about Kade is that he does not really kick when he swims. If you watch Maggie, here little legs are going like a duck under water yet Kade does everything with his upper body. He will jump off the steps or jump in from the side and use his arms in a breast stroke motion to propel himself forward. He is so strong that he gets away with it for now. If we can really get him to do that with his arms and start to kick he would really be something. His favorite thing to do is jump as far out from the side of the pool into the water. Like a standing broad jumper he will stand on the side and jump out as far as possible. Unlike his dad he actually seems to have some pretty good ups :)

Side Note - Larkin has not quite taken to the water as fast as his brother or sister but that doesn't mean he doesn't like going to the pool or beach just as much as they do. He'd just rather do it with his float on so he can twirl around and float on the water. He also seems to be more impressed with his water gun skills than anything. I would fill his guns up, give them to him and hold my hand out at different heights and distances and he just had a blast aiming and shooting the targets. The last couple days he took the float off and started jumping to us but wasn't quite as gung ho as his siblings were.

11. Nap time with Diego and the kids - One of my pleasant surprises and wonderful memories I will have will be nap time. It was so different for a couple reasons. First, all the kids were sleeping in the same room for the first time. Second, Grace (the nanny) was there for the first 4 days but left Tuesday morning so Katie and I did not have any help while at the beach for the first time ever. That being said, what we would do at nap/night night time would be to get the kids upstairs to the bunk room. Maggie grabbed the top bunk b/c there was a pink blanket she loved. The bottom bunk was a double so there was plenty of room for the boys to split the bed and have enough room. What I loved was being able to start the Diego DVD on the TV and have all the kids in one room in a semi quiet state. Larkin was on the head of the bottom bunk and Kade on the bottom of the bunk so I would just lay in the middle of them. At times, Larkin would lay his head on me while watching the show and ask for me to scratch his back. Kade wasn't as lovey dovey as Larkin but it was so nice to look over and see his cute little face as he was getting tired. Maggie would stick her head down every once in a while and even requested my big ole butt to climb up and lay down with her as well. This may not sound like a lot to some folks but we have literally never had a child sleep with us in our bed so being able to watch them and hang with them as they were relaxed and calm vs crashing golf carts and jumping in pools was very refreshing.

12. Skinny dipping kids - So, we took the kids down to the house that Aunt Babs and Uncle Mac rented for dinner one night. Aunt Babs warned me that they had a little pool and I might want to bring bathing suits but for some reason (because I'm an idiot) I decided that they would have enough going on with all the family members that they would not want to get in the pool. Boy was I wrong... Within 10 mins of getting to the house someone spotted the pool. Well, that was all it took. 5 mins later all three had ripped their clothes off and jumped right in. The problem is that neither Katie, Grace or I brought bathing suits either so none of us could get in with them. So what did we do? Well, I'll tell you what we did. Daddy rolled his pants up and sat on the edge of the pool while all the babies jumped in and out of the pool. 25 mins after getting there I was soaked. I might as well have gone ahead and jumped in to be honest with you. After a little while Katie and Grace took the kids home in their diapers and Katie eventually brought me some dry clothes.

13. Grandpa Stories - The same night the kids went skinny dipping was also a wonderful night of old stories about Honey and Grandpa. It was so fun to hear Uncle Mac, Tony, Dad, Babs and Becca as well as Liz and Bub tell old stories about the farm and all the funny stuff grandpa did. From finding his oxygen tanks a quarter mile out in the field to stories of his narcolepsy and gift of gab it was a great night.

As you can see, we had a great trip and will never forget it. These are just a few of the many many memories we created and we were very sad to have to say goodbye.

Katie and I really want to say thanks to everyone that made it such a memorable trip. We love you guys all very very much!!!

Now, here are some pics from a wonderful 10 days.

On the Boardwalk Heading To The Beach

Catch Me!

On our way to Aunt Babs and Uncle Mac's

Pops and Fireball! What Could Be Better

Hmmmm. I Think We Need To Drop These Clothes and Get In This BadBoy

We Love Grace!!

Pool Day!

The Fordham, McKnight and Black Clans

Swimming Time!

Wear My Goggles Daddy

Follow Mommy!

Mom and Her Babies

Let Me Wear My Mom's Hat Please

Beach Time With Daddy!


Lets Do This Daddy

We Love The Ocean

What A Dinner

Mommy The Barber

Chasing Dolphin

Driving the Pontoon

Fireworks on The Beach

Headed Home


Lunch Time

We Love The Pontoon

Thats Funny Uncle Russ

My Baby Girl

Party Time

Fordham Men

Tuckered Out


Here I Come


Pool Time

Riding the "Shopping Cart"

Ice Cream Time!!!


Busy Babies

Headed To The Beach For Pics

The Fordham 5

To The SandCastle

Mommy and Minime

Still Dressed

Hmmm, I'd Really Like To Get In This Water

No Shirt Please

Thats Better


This is Awesome

So Much Fun

Uncle Dave


Last Day




Grilled Cheese Truck in Seaside

Oh, Yeah, I'm Cool


My Buddy

Uncle Russ and Aunt Leslie

Final Dip

Lets Go Eat!

More Ice Cream Please


Try This Maggie

Try This Daddy

Bitzy and Her Babies

Watersound Was Awesome

This is The Life

LaLa, Bitzy and Kademan

The Red Door House