One Couple's Stumblings Through Parenthood and Marriage

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bad Boys

If Sam were better versed in American jurisprudence, or perhaps in the insurance industry jargon of his grandfather, he might have been able to craft a worthwhile defense for why he was on the table. He could have cited the principle of 'attractive nuisance' in regards to the Nilla wafers and how we pretty much asked him to clamber atop the table to access them.

Thankfully, Sam as a two year old could only resort to trying to charm his mother. His charms only managed to delay his punishment and revocation of Nilla privileges for the length of time it took for Annie to take this picture.

Ben, too, was has been up to no good. He's recently discovered that the grate to the fireplace isn't properly locked. This isn't so much a discipline issue with Ben, seeing as he's only acting out the natural curiosity of his natural eight-month-old self. It's a safety issue. Not for Ben or us, since there's nothing he can do to the actual fireplace settings. Rather, it's the equipment's safety I'm concerned about. Things with hinges rarely survive long in the presence of a wee bairn.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Eating French Fries

One last post involving Discovery Kingdom (in June at least). We were in the Thomas the Train section when I noticed some motion near the garbage can next to me. Looky what I found...

...a squirrel preparing to glean what he could from the waste we humans so casually discarded.

The beast was intrepid. He made several dives, each time coming up with another french fry. He was bold, too, flaunting both his fearlessness at my close proximity and the possibility of raised cholesterol levels. I named him Frenchie. He was unimpressed.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Posing With Sharks

Kate is the consummate poser, in the best sense. I can't catch her at a bad time. She's always ready to strike a pose. More often than not, though, she asks me to get the camera out and snap some shots. Even if there's no good reason.

For instance, here she is with the boys during breakfast. Can you ask for a more mundane setting? Yet, she manages to infuse her charm into the scene (I just realized that the mirror over her head reveals that I have no reflection -- don't tell Annie).

Or how about when she's engrossed watching the Shouka show? Nope, a quick shout to her, and she's got a quick-draw smile ready. Her twin (conjoined?) looks on, unconcerned with the camera.

But what about the Shark Experience? She stood next to the shark jaws and asked me to take a picture. Quick as lighting, she had her hands clasped, her head tilted, and her smile beaming. The terror I might have rightly felt in the presence of these fierce hunters was allayed by Kate's charms. She could gentle the meanest of us.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tava's Wrath

Our most recent trip to Discovery Kingdom included my folks, who were due for a day of fun with the grandkids. But all was not well at Discovery Kingdom.

Here we are sitting ring-side in the Tava the Elephant amphitheater. She's begun putting on her show, but we've noticed how much her handler taunts her. Things are getting tense. See how my Mom looks anxious, though the kids are oblivious to the violence about to erupt...

See how the trainer holds the fruit aloft, just out of reach of Tava's grasping trunk? Now, we all know how intelligent and emotionally complicated these beasts are. We also know of their immense strength. Would you taunt an elephant like this, in front of a crowd no less? Well, Tava had had enough.

She scooped him up on her knee and reared back. Look at the terror on his face as he feebly grasps at her tusk in an attempt to survive the retributive attack...

But it's to no avail! The elephant will not be soothed! She grips the handler in her trunk and begins to squeeze. It is horrible! It is pitiful! Oh the workman's comp claims!

But my family came to the rescue. Annie and the grandparents walked up with the kids to assuage the anger of the maddened beast, braving physical harm and even death. Here they are, reaching out to stroke her wrinkly hide to placate her wrath. We saved the handler, though he suffered some broken ribs (comeuppance, I call it). And I was there to capture it all on SD card.

Ben's Bridge

The push up seems to be the near universal precursor to crawling. At least all of our kids have developed the talent. It's not really a push up -- it's more of a bridge. Ben uses his new-found talent to rock back and forth, preparatory to ambulating about on his hands and knees.

This pose also allows him to minimize his surface area in contact with the ground beneath him. That'll come in handy should he ever be caught on hot asphalt. He's our little gecko.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ben the Muggle

One of the main attractions for the girls' birthday party included batting about a pinata. Only scraps were left after they had ravished it. One of those scraps ended up on Ben's head.

We thought it looked a bit like a wizarding hat, but I suspect that Ben is all muggle. Though, he does looked to have charmed his grandma...

Birthday Girls

We call them our June bugs, our girls, all three of whom were born in the middle of June. For one day Annie and I could say that we had three kids one year and younger, since Julia was born one day before the twins turned two.

Over the years they've come to understand how gratifying it is to us gift givers to see the gift receiver properly ooh and aww and fawn over their gifts (see first three photos). And we, as the parents, have come to understand that with three girls come a whole bunch more, as the scene on the sofa reveals. That last shot, of the girls drawing on the pavement in the backyard, highlights was an ethnically diverse set of friends and family our girls have. Why, some of them have darker hair than some of the others. What a melting pot.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Backyard Shenanigans

What is it that Genna is so masterfully rolling? Or Kate, with her careful consideration before applying the paint?

How about Julia, with her deft strokes of the brush?

Why is Sammy dressed up for hard labor, with his Spiderman hat on backwards and his pink apron on? Why the broom and smile?

What is it that I'm working on? Why have I so cleverly sunk and leveled six cinder blocks? (Notice how well I've sucked in my gut...just enough to cause people to think, "Well, he's not as chunky as I thought he was," but not so much that you know I'm sucking my gut in).

Why, we're building a playhouse of course! There's Sam once again, having shed his work clothes in favor of his play clothes, though prematurely: we hadn't put the roof on by this point. Nevertheless, I can understand his enthusiasm.

We've warned the kids about playhouses. I told them how I watched a show in my childhood about a certain man and his playhouse, and I've told the girls to let me know if any of their playhouse furniture becomes sentient or even animated. We'll have none of those shenanigans in our yard, thank you very much.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Look Sassy

I thought of having the girls pose in their new dresses, showing off their pearly whites (though some are missing from Kate's maw) and dimples. But I decided to boldly throw off tradition and have the girls strike a different pose.

I forget now what I said to prompt these expressions. It was probably something like 'look sassy.' But, as I'm now recalling, I think I told them to ponder the plight of the endangered Russian desman. Kate and Genna weren't happy at my suggestion, seeing as they are concerned about our world's biosphere. Julia, however, is happy having one less mole-like creature on the planet. She needs some more teaching.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Summer Movie Night

Ah, late summer evenings. You're fresh out of the bath, in your jammies, and spread out on a blanket taking in handfuls of popcorn. You've got your siblings beside you, and all is well with the world.

I honestly never knew that the movie Crime and Punishment in its original Russian could be so captivating. Dostoyevsky would be so proud.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Sam's Car Train

Sam's two great passions in life are trains and cars. So what could be better than a train made out of cars? Nothing, that's what. And so it is that he likes to array his many cars in the semblance of a train.

This would be like me being able to combine my favorite past times of sleeping and eating, maybe with a bed made out of pizza. How about it, Sam?