What Remains of Spring

It has been nearly a month since my last blog, a ton has been going on, time is especially tight these days, and we just spent a fun-filled weekend up in the mountains (details in the next blog), during which I snapped almost 80 pictures. So, to avoid getting extremely backlogged with this very part-time writing and photography endeavor, prepare for a chronological read.

5/20: The boys and I attended a GMOM picnic at one of my favorite parks. It was cool hangin’ with so many twins and getting to know all the moms and kids a bit better. There weather was perfect and the boys were well-behaved. Nice evening.

The most recent Clan Dillingham photo taken by our pal Steve w/ Sweeter Image.

5/22: Today was our first visit to Westover Church, a congregation of nearly 4,000 members. Sure, the number qualifies it as a mega-church, but it offers many personal, small-group opportunities. We do love our former small, country church, but Stephen and I have been attending Sunday services pretty regularly for more than four years, and we’re searching for something a bit different, as well as a place that provides more kids’ activities and youth education. So far, so good.

5/28: The family had a fantabulous time kicking off Memorial Day weekend at Miss Lorrie and Mr. Kendal’s house. Haylie and Savanah’s daddy cooked us yummy dogs and burgers, while the kids frolicked in the kiddy pool and bounce house. The evening also featured toasted s’mores, hiking in a field and good adult conversation.

5/29: Memorial Day began with church. We were not quite as as overwhelmed by the enormity of the facility today. We saw our old pal, Jeff, who was a regular at the Townhall meet-ups Stephen and I would frequent in our politically active, pre-parental days. We took this encounter as a good sign that Westover will be just our speed. Since all the boys got good reports from their teachers, we went out for a lunch of Indian cuisine. The kids were adventurous in trying new things and enjoyed flirting with our cute waitress.

Our celebration continued that afternoon and night with the boys first time backyard camping. They helped me gather kindling and then assisted me in building a campfire, while Daddy prepped the grill and food. To pass the time waiting for dinner, the 3 Amigos feasted on ears of raw corn and played with their flashlights on Liberty Loop.

Zeke enjoys munching watermelon & trying out big-boy undies for the first time.

Worn out from the feast, Gabriel was the first to pass out in the tent, and Zeke and Houston fell asleep soon thereafter. I camped out with them and was amazed that there was virtually no waking up throughout the night — just good hard sleep in the great outdoors. Stanley also graced us with his presence, sleeping half in and half out of the tent, with his butt being the “in” part, of course.

I didn’t plan on falling asleep as early as I did, but the boys insisted on my being in the tent, so poor Daddy had to hang out all by himself, although I think he ended up enjoying his alone time, and slumbering on the ground actually did my lower back some good. Grerat night for all.

6/1: Gramsey and Papa spent the night. They brought the boys water guns, and then an always-energetic Gramsey played with them out in the oppressive heat all afternoon. Papa oversaw the whole operation, while frequently escaping to the cooler indoor temps. A wonderful visit all around.

6/2: The dudes and I attended a greatly anticipated playdate at Miss Beth’s — a get-together that had been postponed from earlier sicknesses. The 3 Amigos got along wonderfully with cohorts Matthew and Jonathan. They played tee ball, hung out in the kiddy house, dug in the mulch, toy-mowed the grass and just ran around like little monkeys, before feasting on pizza and then cooling off indoors with cars, trains and Diego.

“Bee-bee-bee-yo-kee!” is probably what Gabe is shouting in this gleeful shot.

6/3: I hosted my first Moms Club playgroup. Luckily, the sunny weather was much milder than it had been earlier in the week — definite good fortune, since my event featured outdoor activities: swimming in our pool, playing with big buckets of water and, of course, exploring on Liberty Loop. The kids all played well together and the moms actually had some time to chit chat. I do believe the playdate was a smashing success.

6/4: I took the boys to the 5th birthday party of Dylan, a kid we know from Moms Club. The mostly outdoor event offered lots of physical fun, like a dinosaur bounce house and a gigantic playset, which featured a sweet tire swing and climbing apparatus. The 3 Amigos had a blast.

6/6: While leaving a doc appointment in the morning, I got into a fender bender when backing out of my parking space. Luckily, the kids weren’t with me and neither I or the other driver got hurt. It was a no-fault collision, so Stephen and I will be out a few bucks if we decide to get our rear driver-side door fixed, but in the grand scheme of things, we feel lucky ’cause it could’ve been much worse.

That afternoon, Houston began swim lessons at the Y. Only he and another kid, Jacob, showed up for the 5-person class. So, it was as if Houston and Jacob got semi-private lessons. Their coach, Miss Bethany, made amazing headway on that initial day of getting the boys comfortable in the water, and Houston and Jacob hit it off as insti-buddies. It was amazing to watch from the bleachers as my first born matures into such a cool, confident little man.

Zeke (seen suspended in mid-air), bros & Haylie celebrate Memorial Day w/ bouncing.

6/8: Let’s start off by saying that I went to the doc three times today — a telling note, to say the least. First, I got some blood work done to check on my cholesterol, and then the boys and I headed to the pediatrician for vaccines for Gabriel and Zeke. Two down, one to go.

While picking up the twins after Houston’s swim lessons, Zeke face-planted into the Child Watch door. At first I wasn’t that concerned, since he and Gabriel fall all the time, but once I saw blood gushing from his head, this mama began to freak. Once the Y folks and I got Zeke a little cleaned up and were able to see his wound, I decided that he probably did need a stitch or two. My original plan was to take Gabriel and Houston home to Daddy, and then I would take Zeke to the doc.

Well, by the time I got the kids loaded in the van, Zeke was acting kind of spacey and weird, so I borrowed a cell phone (yep, in case you didn’t no, I don’t own any type of handheld device), left Stephen a message and rushed off to the urgent care with three famished, exhausted toddlers: quite the perfect storm for parental stress. The 3 Amigos were in ultra-naughty mode, rarely giving me a moment’s peace. Although their intense hyperactivity caused me some angst, I did find solace in the fact that Zeke was exhibiting his normal, hyper behavior even before we saw the doc.

Houston impresses the ladies w/ his hardcore aquatic skills.

Stephen finally called the receptionist about about 1 1/2 hours into my arduous stay at the clinic. By this point, Zeke was already back being examined by the nurse, so I told Stephen not to bother making the trek. Soon thereafter, Zeke’s forehead was successfully glued together, saving him the trauma of localized numbing and a couple stitches. And at end of the procedure and without any urging from Mommy, Zeke said, “Thank you, doc-tuh.” It was quite the heartwarming moment. Sure, they’re a bit wild sometimes, but my boys can also be sweet as pie.

A few weeks back, it seemed as if Zeke had a constant battle going on between naughty and nice, with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. His behavior has drastically improved as of late. It’s not perfect, by any means, but it is much more tolerable. I mean, last time I blogged, I had cried pretty much every day that week, and felt frustrated and defeated. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, I have taken back control, regained my confidence (for the moment) and not shed one tear since then. Ah, motherhood … although it is intense and often thankless, it is also the toughest job you’ll ever love.

It is the oft-blogged-about Zeke, though, whose table manners have blown away the competition recently. Houston is always playing with his hands — making them fight each other like good guys vs. bad guys, or dive out of the air like bombs, or crash onto his plate like an exploding grenade, or shoot webs like Spidey, or march across the table like an AT-AT walker, etc. — and Gabriel is, as Granny would say, like a worm a hot ashes: rarely sitting still while eating. Truth is, there’s never a dull moment at mealtime.

Avid outdoorsmen Gabriel (foreground) & Zeke explore the wilds of Miss Lorrie’s backyard.

Gabriel, who thinks he is quite the comedian, likes to happily shout his made-up words, “bee-yo-kee” and “giddons.” The utterances have so persisted, despite Gabe and Zeke’s stellar success with speech therapy, that the words are simply part of the household lexicon with everyone speaking them and using them for any type of description and/or exclamation.

Houston has been a confident the singer for a while now, but the twins are catching up. The 3 Amigos especially love Veggie Tales songs and let it rip whenever they feel so inclined. They are also intent on finally learning and reciting their nightly “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer and love yelling out prayer requests, such as Gabriel’s recent plea for “Free Comic Book Day.”

Due to a fabulously well-written letter to the Clerk of Courts, I got out of my jury duty … for now.

Click the top photo to see our family photos taken back in March, the solo photo of Houston to view our pre-Memorial Day fun and the melon shot of Gabriel to check out the May pics.