Monday, April 25, 2016

Update

Well, our weekend was not what we expected.  We had planned to be on vacation in Mexico this weekend, with Raylan staying with my parents for a few days.
Halfway through the week, though, the forecast was showing rain for the weekend down in Tulum.  Given the fact that our planned vacation was a beach trip, and with little other purpose for going other than relaxation and fun in the sun, we cancelled the trip (getting a refund).  We're rescheduling it for a later date.
So we stayed in Austin.  Friday night was good.  Saturday morning we got up and played with Raylan.  He woke up with a runny nose, though, and by the middle of the morning he looked really tired.  Long story short- he developed a fever and got sick. 
We took him to the doctor, and we gave him some medicine.  He was sort of up and down in terms of feeling okay and then being uncomfortable.
We tried to make sure he got lots of rest, and we took him outside when he was awake and feeling okay.
My parents did some babysitting for us on Saturday, and we got a chance to go out and have a sort of belated birthday dinner for Ryan with he and Jamie.  We went to the new Madam Mam's down by their house, and it was good.  It was nice to see the two of them and get a chance to hang out.
My mom and dad took Raylan overnight on Sunday because my mom was going to watch him, anyway, on Monday (he couldn't go back to the daycare yet).
Sunday night we watched the new episode of Game of Thrones.  Pretty good.  Hopefully this will be a good season.










That's about it.  Hope you guys are having a good week!


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Happy First Birthday, Raylan!

We love you very much!
You bring us so much joy!
We hope your years just keep getting better and better!

It's hard to believe it's already been a year.  
From this...



 To this!





Love you, Raylan!
 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Update- Raylan is Turning One!

So this is the week when Raylan turns one! He'll be one years old on Wednesday, the 20th.
It's been a wild, amazing ride.
The process of watching him change from a barely conscious newborn baby into a little boy who is just beginning to walk and talk has been pretty incredible.  A year ago, when he came home from the hospital, he could barely stay awake or really focus on faces.  Now he studies us, laughs at and with us, explores objects and his environment, follows along with books, plays, destroys, objects, pleads, smiles, chuckles, and occasionally crawls into a lap for a snuggle.
In short, he's becoming a little boy, and it's amazing.
People talk about how fast that first year goes by- and it does.  I can't believe Raylan is already doing so much.  At the same time, there have been so many events and milestones over the last year that, to me, I feel like we've been sort of aware that time was passing. 
Let me put it this way- I've had years pass where not very many remarkable events occurred.  Those years fly by because there aren't significant occurrences that demarcate the passage of time.  It's truly possible to roll from one New Year's Eve to the next and not have too many changes in your life.  I've had years like that.  They weren't bad, but you just couldn't believe it when one year rolled into the next.
This has not been one of those years.
First real smile, first real laugh, learning to crawl, new teeth, different food, different sleep patterns, moving baths from the sink to the plastic tub to the bathtub, learning to clap, going for walks, etc. etc., etc.  So many new experiences- a constant cascade of them.
I feel fortunate, blessed, and grateful to have both Amy and Raylan in my life (as well as the support of both of our families).
There was definitely a period of time when I didn't really think that having a family was going to be in the cards for me.  I can't believe I have such an amazing wife and terrific kid!  I see so many tragic situations at work.  Yet my home life is proof that life can take some fantastic turns.  I definitely don't take it for granted.

Anyway...
Raylan was sick last week and teething.  Long week of discomfort for the poor little guy.  Several long nights.  Thanks to my mom for helping out with some Raylan care!
Saturday morning we got up and walked to Central Market for breakfast.




breakfast victory


After breakfast I ran some errands and took care of some chores.  One of the "chores" involved hanging a bucket tree swing for Raylan in our front yard.  He seemed to enjoy it.  Amy and I both decided we like having a bucket swing hanging in the front yard.  It's pretty funny.  Now I have to find a bigger one that Amy can fit in.  ;-)
 








"Higher!  HIGHHHERRRR!!!!"




On Saturday afternoon I snuck out to attend a friend's birthday party for an hour or two.  I've been working with Jeff as a member of the mental health docket team for about 7 years now.  (talk about time flying by!)  Jeff works as a social worker/counselor for the Travis County Sheriff's Department.  He works with the mentally ill inmate population in the jail.  He's also a criminal justice liaison with the court system, attending our court staffings, telling the team how the various defendants are doing, and helping to orchestrate discharge planning when possible.  He's both a good guy and a talented, dedicated professional.  He's earned a lot of respect over the years from the lawyers, judges, and doctors that he works with.
He's also attended a couple of my birthday parties over the years, so, obviously, he knows how to have a good time!



(here we have Jeff friends and members of our Travis County
criminal justice mental health program.  Note that we can't even stop
jabbering at each other long enough to snap a picture. 
That's Jeff sitting in the front) 


So that was Saturday afternoon.  Happy 50th birthday to Jeff.
Saturday night Amy made a really tasty penne pasta dish with Italian chicken sausage and wine sauce.  It was very good.  I ate it for dinner Saturday and for lunch on Sunday.


On Sunday we had my family over for a low key, informal celebration of Raylan's first birthday.  Amy made a sort of banana cake, and we had some other sweet treats from Central Market along with coffee and soda.
Ryan and Jamie were in attendance, along with my parents and Kirk and Terri (my dad's cousin and his wife, who were in town, visiting from Tallahassee, Florida).
Raylan ate some banana cake and got to play with some of the new toys that he got.  He also seemed pretty happy with all of the attention from the family.  Amy and I got a chance to hang out and visit with Kirk and Terri and the rest of my family.
It was good to see Terri and Kirk.  Seems like we only get a chance to see them every few years.  It was nice to catch up.
So Raylan's first birthday situation was informal, but nice! 
It was a great way to mark his first trip around the sun.
Thanks to Amy for making the cake and hosting a gaggle of Steanses!


(Raylan feeds Ryan a piece of cake.
He learned this at the petting zoo)



Mi familia


(Mom, Dad, Terri, and Kirk)



The Lower Austin crew





(Jamie patiently sharing Raylan's interest in
spinning things)

And that was about it.  It rained quite a bit on Sunday.  Amy didn't get out of the house very much, so we took a little walk in the rain.  Amy swears that her love of the outdoors extends to Raylan under almost any and all weather conditions.  I'm afraid that she could be right.


(Too much time indoors makes Raylan and Amy
crazy!)



That was pretty much it! We had a nice weekend, despite some rain.


Thanks to everyone for all of the love and support during Raylan's first year!  He is a lucky and blessed kid to have so many people who care about him so much.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Pontchartrain

Okay, so I'm not delusional.  This blog has only a small handful of loyal readers left (thank you!), and I know that most of you remaining guys are stopping by to see pictures of Raylan and general family-related tomfoolery. 
Nonetheless, I'm posting a video of a song that Reed and I recorded a couple of years back.  There's not much to the video, really.  It's just a means of embedding the audio track onto my blog site.


So few of you will see this, and of those who see it, it will probably suit even fewer people's tastes, but.... it's my blog, so.... ENJOY!!!  HAHAHAHAHA!!!!


(By way of background, the song was inspired by a trip that Reed and I took to New Orleans in 2007 with our friends Andy and Rami to see The Police in concert.  The trip took place about a year after Jeff Wilson passed away, so that was on our minds, too.)



,

Monday, April 11, 2016

Update

Hey! So, our weekend was pretty good! 
We intended to go to the zoo this weekend, but there was a constant chance of rain, so we chickened out.  We adapted, though, and still had a nice time.
Friday night Amy made salmon with avocado puree.  It was very good.
On Saturday we all went to the grocery store together.  Raylan also got his first haircut on Saturday morning!
We went to the Great Clips by our house.  Raylan was excited about the whole process at first...







Later it sort of went downhill.  He decided he didn't like the scissors and people grabbing at his head, and he started flailing his arms and trying to push the scissors away from him.
He'd already been sort of cleaned up, though, and the stylist recommended that we come back and give it another go at a later time when he was more calmed down.  Better to have a slightly imperfect haircut than traumatize the kid (don't wanna make him dread getting his hair cut) and risk having him poked or cut while wiggling around.
After our early morning haircut and (we arrived right when it opened) and a little playtime...



... we went over to Strange Brew to meet up with Katerina and Logan and Mary, Chad, and Truett for the Saturday morning kid's music series.  The Groundwork Music Orchestra was playing.  They were fun.  There were songs about giraffes, elephants, soup, etc.
Raylan seemed to enjoy it, but he pooped out pretty fast.  He had already had a long and busy morning, so Amy noticed him robbing his eyes and yawning.  We left halfway through, and he fell asleep in the car on the way home.  We had a fun time while it lasted, though.


Watching the band warm up...

Raylan bursts into song






So after our busy morning, we had a more laid back afternoon.  We took a walk, briefly visited our neighborhood park, and did some chores.  Amy and I both got to exercise.
Saturday night Amy made quinoa enchilada casserole.  It was good!  I hope she makes it again.
I think we watched The Flash.  I think.
On Sunday we went out to breakfast at Magnolia CafĂ©.  Then we went to Target.  Later we went to Garrison Park.  We wheeled Raylan around in his stroller and he got to ride in the bucket swings for a while.  There were lots of families having picnics and birthday parties in the park.  It was good to see so much activity going on there.
I ran another errand (Home Depot!) with Raylan.  Then I went to band practice.  Frank, Jim, Reed, and I were in attendance.  It was fun, and we sounded pretty good.
I came home, and Amy had made some tasty Moroccan chicken.  I enjoyed it.
That was about it.
We did some reading and went to bed.


Here's a picture of Raylan headed into school on Monday morning with a big smile on his face, inspiring his dad to face the work week without trepidation.

("This is gonna be good, Dad!")
So that was pretty much it!  Mom and Dad have been in Nashville this weekend visiting the Bloods.  Hope they had a good time!


And I hope the upcoming week has some fun it for everybody!
Take care!

Monday, April 04, 2016

Update

Hey there! Hope you're doing alright.
Our weekend was good! The weather was beautiful.
Raylan is getting oh so very close to walking. He stands up on his own, and sometimes sort of bobs up and down. He might be dancing, or he might just be excited to be alive.  Hard to tell, and I guess it could be both.
On Friday we didn't do anything, I think.  Actually, I think I got Amy to watch the first episode of Season 1 of The Flash.  I just got done watching season 1 on Netflix, and I enjoyed it, so I thought she would, too.  I think she liked it.  Superhero fun without the somber mood of a lot of the other superhero shows.
On Saturday we went down to the Honk street band festival near The Spiderhouse.  It was fun, and we couldn't have had a nicer day for it. 
For those who haven't been, Honk is a festival of community street bands.  I think that Honk events are hosted at different places around the country, but this one in Austin has been going strong for a number of years now, and it's a good time.  The bands run the range in terms of age, gender, and, frankly, talent level.  There are some really good bands and some sort of, uh, less technically skilled bands that tend to be selling themselves more on their colorful costumes and their enthusiasm than their actual musical ability.  But almost all of the bands have costumes.  And many of the spectators.  Some of the bands play mostly original stuff.  Others play covers. 
Raylan seemed pretty receptive to the music.  At first he was a little scared.  Then interested.  Then excited and happy to be there.  He bounced around and kicked his legs and smiled.  He seems to really like the drums, and he was fascinated by the brass and woodwind instruments.  He also loved people watching.




"I'm just gonna take a quick break in this shady spot
under the stroller, Mom."
"Are you hearing this!?  I think
I hear drums!!"

Detroit Party Marching Band play alt-J's "Fitzpleasure"

Prettiest smile in the crowd ;-)

So that was Saturday afternoon.  Late in the afternoon/early evening my folks came by and picked up Raylan to take him to Steiner Ranch for the night.  We are so lucky that they can do that from time to time.
In the evening we went out and met some friends at Topgolf.
I'd never been to Topgolf before.  It's kind of an impressive/crazy thing to behold.  The thing is about the size of a minor league baseball stadium.  It's essentially a driving range with three different levels (we were on the top level).  The "green" down below has giant, glowing targets, essentially lighted holes in the ground, that are the size of swimming pools of various sizes.  The gold balls that you hit have computer chips in them, I guess, because once you hit a ball, a computer screen at your station tells you whether you hit one of the targets, and if so, how close you came to hitting the center of the target (you get points for both how far you hit the ball and how accurately).
You get seated at a "bay", sort of like the seating area for a lane at a bowling alley, and you can order food (pretty good) and drinks.
We're not golfers, but we had a lot of fun.  It was good just to be out with friends, the weather was great, and it was entertaining to try something new.
When we first got to the place, their computer system was down, so we actually got to hit balls for about an hour without paying for it, which was nice practice for complete novices.







(Amy takes a practice shot)


(Kit caddies for the ladies)


(Steanso tees off with his "special"
club)



So that was Saturday night.  Fun!
On Sunday I got up and exercised.  Then Amy got up and went to her pilates class with her friend, Emily.  Raylan came home, and he and I ran a couple of errands.  We had fun being out.
Later in the evening I went over to Reed's house.  We had a two man Wastewood practice.
Then I came home and ate some really tasty vegetable pot pie that Amy had made.  It was very good.
I stayed up a little late to watch the season finale of The Walking Dead.*
Then I passed out. 


And that was the weekend!  Hope you guys had a good one!  We definitely enjoyed ours.




* The season finale wasn't very good.  Having read the reviews this morning, the critics seem to be hung up on the fact that the show employed yet another cliffhanger to keep viewers on the hook until next season.  I'm much more annoyed by the fact that the writers keep having the characters make stupid decisions simply in order to put them in peril and advance the plot.  Good writing should keep characters consistent, or at least do a good job of demonstrating why they make choices that seem illogical.  Walking Dead has spent large amounts of time (i.e., multiple seasons) demonstrating that certain characters have come to develop a certain worldview, only to have the characters completely abandon that line of thinking whenever doing so forwards the plot (e.g., Carol suddenly deciding that violence is not the answer after years of developing her "whatever it takes attitude" and Rick suddenly failing to recognize the considerable risks involved in recklessly starting a war with a mostly unknown, but well-armed and murderous band of marauders- all after he's been treating every person that they've come across with paranoia and suspicion for the last couple of years). 
Anyway, the shock value of the tragedy on Walking Dead can only be maintained when it feels like really bad things are happening to good people.  At this point, the protagonists of the show have become just as bloodthirsty as their enemies (they launched a peremptory strike against a rival gang, murdering their members in their sleep), and they seem sort of clumsy and foolish in defending themselves.
In short, I might be losing interest.



Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Weekend

Hey!  Hope everyone had a nice Easter Weekend!  We did!
On Thursday night we had dinner with Ryan and Jamie at our house.  They came over and we picked up some Thai food and ate some dessert bars from Central Market.  It was Jamie's birthday the next day, so it was good to get a chance to hang out with her!  Ryan and Jamie got to visit with Raylan a bit before he went to bed, and then the remaining four of us had dinner and got a chance to catch up.  It was good!  Seems like it had been a while since we got together.
Friday night I don't know that we did a whole lot.  I had a long day at work.  I think we just relaxed and watched an episode of The Man in the High Castle (we like it, but still haven't worked our way through season 1).
On Saturday we ran some errands.  Amy made it to a workout class that she's taking with some friends.  Mandy had us over to hang out with the Sensats and Kim (y Miles) and Donna Rene.  She made some chicken tacos and the kids got to play while the rest of us got to visit.  It was good to see everyone!  Raylan enjoys watching Wilson and Miles run around.  He laughs and smiles, but he also gets a little intimidated and clingy around the bigger kids.  He had fun, though.






"You're kidding me?  You mean to tell me that ladies' faces
don't just come in all of these colors?"
Sunday was Easter.  We got up and went to church with my mom and dad out at Triumphant Love, the Lutheran church that they attend up on Great Hills Trail.  It was a nice service.  Raylan was pretty well behaved and happy, so that was good.  It was nice to go.


(obligatory post East service pic)
After church Mom and Dad had us over to their house for lunch.  We ate some food, took Raylan to the park, and then got a chance to catch up with Mom and Dad while Raylan took a nap.
It was nice!
Thanks, Mom and Dad!


Easter swangin'

On the way home from Mom and Dad's house we stopped off and tried to take some pictures of Raylan in the bluebonnets.  If you live in Central Texas and you have a toddler, I'm pretty sure that you're required by law to attempt to take a picture of them sitting in bluebonnets at least once a year.
Raylan was not super into it.  He's usually a very smiley kid,  but for some reason he was sort of bewildered and confused by the whole bluebonnet experience. 
The important thing is that we gave it the ol' college try!


"I don't get it."

"Mom, how is this fun for me?"

"Seriously, guys, this is the last one I'm doing.  Okay?"
So that was pretty much our Easter!  Hope everyone else had a nice one.  Thanks to Mom and Dad for letting us stop by, and thanks to Ryan and Jamie for hanging out at our place so Raylan could get to sleep!
Hope everyone has a good week!