Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Update; Veterans Day

First of all, yesterday was Veterans Day, so I want to thank my dad, Greg, Jerry, Amy's Uncle Jeff, and any and all other veterans out there for their service! 
Thanks to all of our active duty and former service members for keeping us, our country, and and our families safe.

In terms of our weekend, it was a good one, but I now realize that I did a really subpar job of shooting any pictures this weekend.

On Friday night we took the kids and went to Olive Garden for dinner.  It was nice.  The kids were good and ate all their food.

On Saturday morning I took Raylan to his soccer game.  Mom and Dad met us there to cheer him on.  It was his last game of the season with the Tiger Sharks.  Raylan played a good game and seemed to have a lot of fun.  He's really enjoyed soccer this year, and it's been fun to watch.
At the end of the game, Coach Josh handed out some medals and said a little bit to each kid about why they deserved a medal.  Raylan got praised for learning to really follow the ball and keep after it.  He went from not really understanding soccer to getting a couple of goals this year!

Tiger Shark team photo!

Raylan gets a medal!  Despite his strange, pained
expression here, Raylan was VERY excited
about his medal!
After the soccer game Saturday morning, I took Raylan to get his flu shot.  I had bribed him to behave for the flu shot with a promise of ice cream, so afterward we went to Dairy Queen.  He was very good.
Saturday afternoon I watched the Longhorns play Kansas State.  We somehow managed to win that game despite some ridiculous errors and bad plays.  A win is a win, and I'm happy to take it, but even in this win it was clear why we were never going to be contenders for a national title this year.  Texas still has a fundamental lack of discipline and consistency that drives me nuts.  We have great athletes, and on one play we might have beautiful execution, while on the next play, our heads clearly aren't in the game, and we make a stupid mistake.  Like I said, it's frustrating to watch, especially when it's clear that we have the skill and the talent to be a much better team.
Oh well.  We won!

On Sunday I took the kids to the park in the morning while Amy exercised.  The weather was beautiful, and we had a good time.  We played on the playscape, played on the swings, and kicked a soccer ball around.  Also, we stared intently into storm drains....

There is nothing in this one, either....
On Sunday afternoon, once Kiddo went down for her nap, I went for a bike ride.  It was great weather for it.

Clearing the noggin' with a bike ride to Ladybird Lake
Sunday evening Frank came over and we played out acoustic guitars on the front porch (Reed was out of town, so no practice at his house).  We had a good time.

On Monday Amy and I both had the day off for Veterans Day.  Amy and I went to the gym, and then went to see Terminator: Dark Fate.  The movie was fun, and we had a good time.  During the movie, a cold front had blown in, and the day turned wet and very chilly (it was in the 40's during the day and below freezing over night).  My mom picked up the kids in the morning and took them to Catch Air.

Later, we drove out to Steiner Ranch to have dinner with Mom, Dad, and our kids.  Amy brought a lasagna that she had made the day before.  Mom provided salad and garlic bread.  It was all very good.  It was a nice dinner, and we had a good time.

And that was the weekend!

I'll try to take better pictures next weekend.....

Monday, November 04, 2019

Halloween; Update

Hey! Hope everyone is having a nice fall!
We had Halloween this past week, and it was a good one.
The kids were with my parents most of the day on Halloween Thursday (going to swim lessons and having a fun grandparent day).  In the evening we all met up at our house, picked up some pizzas, and headed over to Ryan and Jamie's house to go trick-or-treating.  My parents went, and Dick came over, as well.
It was pretty cold on Halloween this year (it got down into the mid 40's).  Raylan switched up his costume at the last minute, and was Batman (he was Catboy from PJ Masks for the party at my office).  Kiddo was some sort of combination of Wonder Woman, a ghost, and an unidentified, masked character that only Kiddo understood.
We hit some houses and collected some candy.
In an awkward/sweet moment, at one house, a woman wished Raylan a happy Halloween and gave him a big handful of candy, and he just looked up at her in his Batman mas and responded with, "I love you."
She looked a little surprised, but said thanks.

Batman Returns

Putting in the work.  Racking up the loot.
We made it home, and Amy gave Kiddo a bath and put her to bed while Raylan sat on the front porch and gave out some candy to the trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood.  Raylan got a kick out of handing out candy and wishing the kids a happy Halloween.

That was about it for Halloween.

On Saturday Raylan had a soccer game with the Tigersharks.  He scored two goals!!  I got one of the goals on video.  Maybe even more important than scoring goals, he kept his head in the game a little better this week (although he did stop to collect some especially nice acorns at one point).  Anyway, I was proud of him.  He tried really hard, and he seemed to have a lot of fun.

Tigersharks Assemble!

On Saturday afternoon we went to a birthday party for Raylan's friend (and classmate), Lowry, over in Mueller.  The weather was beautiful, there were a lot of kids from his class there, and the park was really nice.  We had a good time talking to parents and watching the kids play.

Raylan helps Dorothy summit a challenging peak

Raylan "supervises" the cutting of Lowry's
birthday cake

The kids roll down a nice, grassy hill.

On Sunday we went out to breakfast (La Posada), and then took the kids over to ride their bikes in the big, open parking lot at the Burger Center.  We'd been telling Raylan that he needed to practice riding.  He insisted on training wheels, and he told us he didn't want to crash into anything (he has a hard time braking), so we took him to the most wide open space we could find.

Amy helps Kiddo and Raylan practice their bike skills.

Later on Sunday we mostly played outside (we had great weather all weekend).  We got groceries and got exercise (taking turns).  Both kids actually took naps (Raylan has had a bit of a cold, so he actually passed out).  We played a little bit inside, too.

Another one of Raylan's cool marble runs
Sunday night I had band practice.  It ended up being just Reed, Frank, and I, but it was a good one.

And that was the weekend!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Update; Anniversary; Jean Visit

Hi!  We had a good, busy weekend!
On Friday Jean flew into town for a quick visit from Arizona.
Amy picked her up at the airport Friday afternoon.

Later on Friday afternoon, Jean and Amy got the kids and brought them to my office for our annual trick-or-treat office party.  The office got decorated, some of my co-workers wore costumes, and just about everyone handed out candy. 

We ducked into my actual office for a moment to take a
quick family snapshot.  Raylan was Catboy from PJ Masks
and Kiddo was a ghost.
After the trick-or-treating we went back to our house and played for a little bit before going out to dinner.  Nana had brought some little costumes for the kids and some toys.  Raylan and Kiddo were both super excited to see Nana.

Kiddo patrols the backyard on her bike, looking for crime to fight

The kids inspect their Nana loot.  They were really happy to get the toys, and
equally excited to have Nana in town to play with them
Friday evening we went out to dinner at La Posada.  Jean got to meet the very nice waitresses who take care of us over there.  (our waitress was Denise, who had been the recipient of one of Jean's quilts when Denise had her baby).
Anyway, the food was good, and we had a nice time.

On Saturday we went to a birthday party for Spencer (thrown by Shelly and Kit) at Hoppin' House.  They rented the whole place out, and the kids had a blast.  I got to talk to Shelly's family a bit, and I ate a couple of breakfast tacos.

Raylan scales the wall over the foam pit

Kiddo does some climb on an obstacle course
The kids at the party all pose for a picture
Saturday evening my parents came over to babysit Raylan and Kiddo (they took them to Olive Garden for dinner) while Jean, Amy, and I went out to dinner at Cypress Grill.
We had a nice time.  The food was great (as usual), and we had a nice chance to catch up and have some grownup conversation.  We had a really nice evening.
Thanks to Mom and Dad for making it possible!!!

On Sunday we took the kids over to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center.  They were doing Fortlandia, a yearly deal where they have these art installations that are meant for kids to play on and explore.  The weather was beautiful, and the kids really had a blast.  We spent a long time out there, enjoying the forts and just being outside at the Wildflower Center. 

Kiddo and Raylan on some sort of boat-themed fort
If you look closely, you can see Raylan's hand and face in the top window
of this cool house

Raylan and Kiddo both had fun crawling through this
sculpture of fabric bands

One of many cool swings, hanging from the giant
oak trees

Mom, Raylan, and Dad at the top of the tower.
(Jean, wrestling with a feisty Kiddo, no pictured)
Everyone took naps after Fortlandia.  I got to go for a bike ride.  There is a bike and pedestrian bridge that goes over Loop 360 along Mopac.  I had heard that the thing cost almost $15 million to build, which I thought was a little bit silly, but I wanted to see it.  Well, it's hard to find the southern (southwestern?) entrance to the bridge, but I'm here to report that the bridge itself is pretty darn cool.  It's a long bridge which stretches over Barton Creek, and it sits down below the traffic bridge for Mopac itself, so it makes for this nice, calm, scenic, elevated ride that allows you to look out over the greenbelt.  It's one of the most scenic little pieces of riding that I've done in a while.  
On the other side of the bridge you cross over 360 and can ride into downtown (or, in my case, to Zilker Park) along sidewalks or road shoulders for the service drive for Mopac.  The riding along that section could stand to be improved a bit.  Actually, there's this one very nice section, but the sidewalks and bike paths on either end of it could stand to be improved pretty dramatically (which is kind of weird because, like I said, there's this one extremely well designed section that is very comfortable to ride on in the middle).  The ride isn't really dangerous along the sidewalk sections, but it's not very comfortable, either (tall riders, ahem, get tired of dodging low hanging tree limbs that hang over sidewalks).

Hard to believe that this is in the middle of a busy city, right?
Anyway, I had a nice ride, and the weather was beautiful.

I got home and we played with the kids outside.  I walked with Jean over to Central Market.

Amy made a chicken orzo soup for dinner that was great.  Jean flew out later in the evening.  Amy took her to the airport while I was putting Raylan to bed.

And that was the weekend!

Sunday was the 6th wedding anniversary for Amy and me.  
Amy, I love you so much!  You're my best friend, my teammate, the love of my life, and an incredible mom.
I'm still amazed all the time at how lucky I was to find you.  I really can't believe it.
Happy anniversary, Amy!  I love you so very, very much, and I love our life together!

I hope everyone has a great week!

Monday, October 21, 2019


Hi! We had a busy weekend! It was a good one, though.  On Thursday the kids did their usual Grandma and Papa home day, except this time Grandma was volunteering at church for a good part of the day, so Raylan and Kiddo got a whole lot of Papa.
It sounds like it went well!  Swimming lessons, a trip to the park, breakfast and lunch.  Good job, Papa!

On Saturday morning Raylan had a soccer game, and we all went out to cheer him on (our family and my parents).

Amy, the soccer mom!
We got to the soccer field about 15 minutes early, and Raylan spent his pre-game time running sprints all over the place, running races against the other kids.  He was a little worn out when the actual game started.  His play during the game was a little... weird.  He spent some time playing with the chalk lines on the sideline, and he "accidentally" got his cleats tangled up in the nets on the soccer goals at least three times (yelling for help to be disentangled).  At one point he was wandering in circles in the middle of the field with his eyes closed and his head tilted back.  Our whole family was yelling for him to open his eyes.  Eventually he opened them and seemed surprised to find himself in the middle of a soccer game.
I'm not sure what was going on, but he said he had a good time playing soccer...
I figure that right now, any game that makes him want to come back and play another one next week is a victory.

Coach Josh lays down some strategy for the Tigersharks
After the soccer game, we all went out to Crowe's Nest Farm (which is out near Manor).
We had a nice time.  Crowe's Nest Farm has been around since I was a kid, although the location has moved, and I think they've expanded the variety of animals that they have.  In addition to farm animals, they have some bison, owls, hawks, pheasants, tortoises, ostriches, emus, and other critters.  We got to go on a hay ride, and we had a picnic lunch (which my mom packed- thanks, Mom!).

Kiddo feeds a miniature burro.  Or mule.  Or something.

Excited to see bison on the hay ride.

Saturday night I tried to watch UT play against Kansas, but I realized at the last second that the game was on the Longhorn Network, which I don't have.  I ended up listening to the game on the radio, which was actually sort of fun, although I wouldn't want to do it for every game.
Texas won, but we struggled.  I was pretty frustrated.  Kansas isn't exactly a powerhouse.  Texas mostly seemed to get in its own way, with poor defense and some offensive turnovers.  Oh well.  At least we got the win.

On Sunday we went to a birthday party for Rowan, the three year old son of our friends Libby and Jordan.  They had the party in their back yard, and it was a lot of fun.
They had a little splash pad and a bounce house.  There was cake and cookies.  We had a really nice time.  The kids had a blast.  It was nice to be invited!

Raylan bounces while Kiddo tries to scale the slide (she eventually
made it, but then didn't like bouncing too much with the bigger kids)
Late on Sunday afternoon we went over to a cookout at Mandy's house.  Mandy, Spencer, Kate, Donna Rene, Vicki, Andy, Rami, and Wilson were all there.  The food was good, and it was nice to catch up with everyone!  The kids had a blast, running around.

Mandy helps Wilson, Raylan, and Kiddo feed the fish in the koi pond
Later that night, after the kids got bathed, I went to band practice at a rehearsal space up north.
We had a pretty good practice.  All five of us were there, so it took a moment to hit the groove again in the five man configuration.  In the end, we did okay, though.

And that was the weekend!

Hope everyone else had a good one!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


Hey!  Our weekend was pretty good.
On Saturday Raylan had a soccer game.  His Grnadma and Papa came out to watch, and I brought Kiddo to watch, as well, and to play on the playground near the field.

Raylan rockets down the field, in hot pursuit of the ball.
After the soccer game my folks came over to the house along with Jamie and Ryan.  We all watched the Texas-OU football game.  Texas didn't play all that great.  We lost by one touchdown.  I feel like if we'd been playing at our best (not missing so many tackles and collapsing on the offensive line) we probably could have won.
Oh well.
We ate pizza and chips and cookies and had a nice family gathering.

This picture is a little blurry, but that's okay.  The blur helps to hide the pain
on our faces as we watched this game.
After the game and nap time for Kiddo, we mostly played in the back yard.

On Sunday we ran some errands and took a walk or two.  We tried to go shopping for Halloween costumes, but without a lot of success (and some lady struck my car while I was in the Halloween shop, but at least was nice enough to leave a note).
It was a pretty low key day.

Sunday Funday on the slide!

And that was the weekend.
It went by fast.
Have a good week!

Monday, October 07, 2019

ACL Fest 2019

So we just wrapped up another year of ACL Fest.  It was a good year!

My parents took the kids overnight on Thursday through Saturday afternoon, so Amy could join Frank and I for the festival on Friday.

I'm going to write out the shows that I saw, really quick:


Fidlar, Oliver Tree (partial), Palm Springsteen, Monsieur Perine, TroyBoi (partial and from a distance), The Raconteurs, Thom Yorke (Tomorrow's Modern Boxes), a few Guns N' Roses songs, and maybe one Tame Impala song.


Men I Trust, Tierra Whack (a surprising amount), Brittany Howard, Gary Clark Jr., Metric, Childish Gambino, and a few songs by The Cure.


Joseph, Koffee, GoGo Penguin, a little bit of Billy Strings, CAAMP, Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers, a surprising amount of GRiZ, and some Silent Disco.  We listened to about one Mumford & Sons song.

The weekend was good.
It was hot, though.  Temps win the upper 90's, with heat indexes over 100.  I think they were saying it had been the hottest festival in 14 years.
I used to go to ACL back when they had it in September, though, anti was pretty much always that hot.  And now I'm older and smart enough to drink a little more water and occasionally hide in the shade.
Thursday night I went to dinner with Amy at El Naranjo.  It was really good.  We will be back.  My mom and dad had the kids.
Friday Amy joined Frank and I for Day 1.  It was a nice day.  The Raconteurs were probably the standouts.  Rock.  And.  Roll.  I coulda watched them another hour.  Palm Springsteen and Jenny Lewis were also good.  Oliver Tree was bizarre.  We ended up standing by his stage, and that guy was weird.

Amy at El Naranjo, kid-free date night to kick off ACL

Headed in!

Palm Springsteen

The very fun Monsieur Perine

This year it grows very hot...

The Raconteurs

Jenny Lewis

Guns N' Roses

On Saturday morning I met up with my parents and the kids at Raylan's soccer game.  
It was great.  Raylna seems to really be having fun learning to play soccer, so that's fun to watch.
Later, Frank came over, and we headed back out.
On Saturday Men I Trust, Brittany Howard, Metric, and Gary Clarke Jr. were all good.
Childish Gambino was an outstanding headliner.  Really high energy, a great backing band (with some amazing backup singers).  Great show.  We watched a lot of it.
Eventually we watched a few Cure songs.  They were good, too, but we were tired and didn't stay too long.

Childish Gambino
The Cure

On Sunday we got up.  I played`yed with the kids and took them to the park while Amy picked up groceries and exercised.

Sunday was also good.  Gogo Penguin was sort of a standout.  They were a sort of jazzish band from the U.K..  Amazing musicianship and composition.  Kind of intense.  CAAMP was also good, and so were Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers.  Frank got me to go to Silent Disco.  I'm still wrapping my head around that experience.


GoGo Penguin

Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers

Silent Disco

It was a good ACL!  I'm not gonna lie- I'm hoping for cooler weather next year, but, in the end, the heat was manageable, and we heard some good music.  Thanks, as always, to Frank for being my wingman and to Amy for both going on Friday and helping out with the kids on the other days (and big thanks to my parents for that as well).   At this point, ACL takes a village.

Have a great week!