Little Rebels

“Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them.” — P.J. O’Rourke

“Raising children is like chewing on a stone.” — Arab proverb

These sentiments pretty sum up the last couple of weeks for yours truly. It’s no surprise that the 3 Amigos are little rebels. After all, they are part Scottish/Viking, part Arab, and all headstrong Southern boys. Who would’ve thunk Houston, Gabriel and Zeke would each be so cantankerous and contrary in their own right?

I mean, if one pits against Mommy, she has a standing chance. But should the entire posse turn on the woman who painstakingly brought them into this world, she is chopped liver … and they know it! I suppose there’s a reason the most rewarding job on earth is also the most difficult.

Void of a sandbox, Zeke makes do by getting grungy in our “fancy” red-clay dirt patch.

Seriously, things around zoo are going well. Everyone is healthy and happy (except during time-outs, of course). Plus, Mama Zookeeper has some much-needed help headed her way. It’s finally the weekend, so Daddy will share in the upkeep, daily feedings and disciplining and/or taming of the wild animals; Auntie Merdy and Uncle Greg will celebrate Memorial Day with us; Gramsey and Papa hope to come for an overnight visit one day next week; and then Granny and Grumps will be here next weekend. Thank God for Daddy, great friends and loving parents/in-laws!

I’ve gotten a lot more adept at taking the kids out for excursions. So, now that we have our afternoons free due to the tweaked napped schedules, we’ve been hitting the road more. Sometimes, it’ll just be a trek to the grocery store for just a few staple items — since a few is all that will fit underneath our 3-child stroller — but other times, it’s just for grins and giggles.

Gabriel gets ecstatic over the freedom of feeding himself kidney beans.

Like today, we piled in the mini-van and went to a nearby lakeside nature trail, where the boys got to pet friendly dogs, see three snakes slithering in the kudzu and chat with friendly people enjoying the sunny day.

And last week, we went downtown to donate some kid stuff to one of my favorite charities and then walked to a park, where I used to frequent on exercise outings from work when I was pregnant with Houston. The boys were thrilled with the urban sights and sounds, but even more excited with the playground and the friends they made while there, tossing a football, doing the slides, getting dirty in the sandbox and playing peek-a-boo in a tunnel. It was a near-perfect trip to the big city … not to mention the first time I manned the 3 Amigos all by myself at a park.

Houston is a kid who really, really, really loves lawn mowers.

Other notables:

  • The twins are getting so big that people sometimes ask me if all the boys are triplets.
  • Last Saturday, Gabe went with me to take Stanley to his annual vet appointment. He enjoyed the time away from bros, as well as his first ride in the Pathfinder.
  • Last weekend was the first Sunday in ages that we were not extremely late to church. See, I told you that we’ve gotten more adept at getting out and about … finally!
  • I discovered that all the boys love raw tomatoes. I think that is a weird thing for kids to like, especially considering the twins’ oft-times finicky aversion to soft-textured foods.
  • Houston turns 3 in less than a month. Can you believe it?!
  • There’s a lot of wrestling going on these days. Gabriel and Zeke really hold their own against big bro. It’s a hoot!
  • Veggie Tales is back in the DVD-viewing rotation and “Teen Titans” is the fave movie of the moment.

Click the top photo of Zeke to view all the May – Part 1 pics and the above shot of HL to check out the Part 2 stuff. And last but not least, thanks to all who have served and who have died to preserve my freedom and that of my children and fellow countrymen. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

The Last Month

It has been an entire month since I last blogged. We’ve been busy with the daily grind, fun, doc appointments, discipline, errands, chores, play dates, yard work, travel and the craziness that is life in Clan Dillingham. I’ve also been taking lots of photos and have gotten way behind on downloading and editing, but I do have some good shots to share.

No, Houston’s not peeing … he’s playing w/ his pal, Matthew!

Here’s an overview of our activities since the last blog:

  • 4/16 > Two-year-old Matthew, baby Jonathan and Mama Beth visit the zoo on an unseasonably hot day for seemingly endless fun with the garden hose and a feast of pizza and cheesy bread.
  • 4/17 > The clan heads to our oft-patronized local lawn-and-garden store for their 11th anniversary celebration, featuring tractors, other big and booming farm equipment, live bluegrass music and hot dogs.
  • 4/21 > The twins have their 18-month pediatric check-up. Zeke was 26 pounds, 4 1/2 ounces; 30 3/4″ long and his head was 19 1/2″ around; and Gabriel was 25 pounds, 15 ounces; 30 1/4″ long and his head was 18 1/2″ around — momentous since it was the first measurements since the day they were born that Zeke came in bigger than Gabe.
  • 5/1 > Houston and Daddy hit “free comic book day” at Daddy’s favorite local comic specialty shop. At the crowded event, they see Super Man, who Houston was afraid of for some odd reason; a “smoking-hot” Wonder Woman, as described by Daddy; Falcon; Green Lantern; and Storm Troopers … also known as “Star Wars guys,” according to Houston.
  • That evening, we attend a neighborhood party with our old buddy, Bill. Mommy and the twins head home after the kids follow a ball into a patch of poison ivy. Houston stays behind with Daddy and Bill, and has fun rough-housing with a boy, also named Matthew.

Gabriel loves tractors, big tires & anything that goes vroom-vroom.

  • 5/4 > The boys accompany Mommy and Daddy to our local polling place to vote in the NC primaries. In the 3 Amigos’ opinions, the voting machines were okay, but the “I voted” stickers were way cool.
  • 5/5 > Auntie Merdy hosts Mommy and the kids for a play date at her neighborhood park. The sandbox is a huge hit with the twins and Houston has a blast on the slides.
  • 5/8 > Mommy participates in a multi-family yard sale with our neighbors, Heather and Trey. We don’t make much money selling mostly outgrown baby stuff, but Mommy enjoys the kid-free morning and also scores some free toys for the kids.
  • 5/12 > We get to spend some time with our beloved Miss Heather. Although she was at the house for monthly cleaning, Heather was able to play a little, as well as give lots of hugs and kisses to the boys.
  • 5/14-5/16 > The family road trips to Virginia to celebrate Aunt Lisa and cousin Casey’s graduation from college. Congrats! It was a lot of work getting there and tending to the kids in Gramsey and Papa’s 3-level house (yeah, stairs stink!), but a blast was had by all, especially Houston, Gabriel and Zeke, who were smothered with love and attention and fed many sweet treats.
  • 5/18 > Zeke has a check-up with his gastro-intestinal doc. Considering that he has puked just one time in the last 13 days (THANK YOU, LORD!), his meds will remain as is for now and will be re-evaluated at his next appointment in August. Zeke was also an even 27 pounds, which is the 50-percentile range for his age and a whopping 7 1/2 ounces more than he weighed at the pediatrician not even one month ago. Amazing!

“Hey, let’s use this bin for lounging & climbing — anything but storing toys,” think Zeke (in bin) & Gabriel.

  • Today > Mommy and the boys visit Daddy at work. We walk to a nearby establishment, where Houston and Zeke eat gelato (strangely enough, Gabe was uninterested), and Mommy and Daddy chug sweet coffee drinks; we see adorable Canadian geese ducklings waddling through the parking lot; and then have fun riding the elevator and bugging Daddy’s co-workers.

Other notable happenings:

  • Gabriel is saying lots of words in his own quirky way and even made up a sign for one of his favorite things: “mower.”
  • Zeke is still signing up a storm and doing funny things, like saying “shhhh” while sticking his finger up his nose.
  • Gabriel is a master at climbing stairs (or climbing most anything) and made it down the front steps solo for the first time today. He’s fearless!
  • Zeke has one hell of an arm, successfully making baskets with tennis balls (or most anything small enough to fit through the hoop). He has power and precision!
  • If you ask Houston what his name is, his answer is “Sus-tuhn Can Dih-yin-ham” (read: Houston Clan Dillingham). Too funny!
  • The twins are now taking one nap a day (around 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) It was a painful transition, but it has worked out nicely.


Houston & Zeke collect “nature” in milk cartons, while getting wild down our backyard path.

  • Houston skipped his 2 p.m. nap for the past couple of days, going to bed early instead, yet still waking up around the same time in the morning. If this becomes habit, Mommy might actually be able to start swimming at the Y in the afternoons, while the dudes play and make friends in the childcare facility. Keep your fingers crossed!
  • And last but certainly not least, we made our final payment to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital a few weeks ago. Considering I underwent laser surgery for TTTS in July 2008, it is certainly a wonderful thing to be free and clear of one of our major medical bills. Yee haw!

Click the top photo of Houston and Matthew to check out “Hangin’ w/ the Hydes;” click the next photo of Gabriel to see the shots of “Tractors Rock;” click the pic of the twins being nutty in the nursery to view all the April – Part 2 shots; and the above image of Houston and Zeke to see the Part 3 photos. May pics coming soon.