Monday, November 23, 2015


Hello! Hope everyone had a good weekend.  Ours was low key, and pretty good.
Raylan turned 7 months old on Friday!  I can't believe it.  The passage of time has been a strange sensation since Raylan was born.  In some ways it feels like he's been around for a lot longer than 7 months.  It seems hard to believe that we've only had the little guy in our life for just over a half year.  On the other hand, it seems impossible how much he's already grown and changed and developed.  He's very vocal now and extremely alert.  He says things like , "Mumma... Mumma..." (maybe in relation to Amy, or maybe just because it's fun to say, and we keep repeating it to him- probably a combination of both).  He really enjoys having books read to him.  He looks at the pictures, grabs at the pages, and gets excited (arms flapping and bouncing) for certain books. He also just started to do some forward scooting this weekend.  He's been able to turn and roll for a while now, but this weekend he started doing a sort of soldier crawl where he pulls himself forward with his arms.  We have some babyproofing in our near future...
Anyway, in short, by now it seems sort of hard to imagine life without Raylan, but it also seems like he's growing up in a flash.
He's an amazing little kid.  We love him.  He loves us.

So we took some 7 month shots this weekend.

(In the middle of my room, surrounded by my
stuff, and sitting on Mom.  Everything is as
it should be.)
(Yeah, this has been great, Dad, but I'm ready to
get back to my toys now.)

On Friday night I think we sort of just hung out.  Amy made a good vegetarian dinner that had orzo and assorted veggies in it.  I enjoyed it.
I think on Friday night we also watched the first episode of The Man in the High Castle, streaming it from Amazon Prime. 

The Man in the High Castle series is loosely based on the Philip K. Dick book of the same name, which I had just finished reading last week.  The show takes place in the early 1960s, and it's an alternate history fiction in which the Nazis have won World War II and divided the United States into both Japanese (in the West) and German (East) territories. 
The novel is a little stranger than the show, with most of the characters sort of accepting the current, depressing state of their country and the world as more or less immutable fact.  they sort of make the best of things and do the best that they can in living out their lives.  Events ultimately take place in the book which offer the promise of potential change, but this possibility is only a sort of glimmer of potential hope.
The series, on the other hand, seems to suppose the fact that an Axis occupation of the United States would be met with an underground, armed resistance from the get-go.  To be sure, the television series is dark in its depiction of occupied, Axis North America, but I actually found the book a little more chilling in its portrayal of a world in which Americans have become resigned to living under a government which oppresses freedom, regularly engages in genocide, and allows for the utilization of slaves.  The instinctive belief that Americans would, if faced with Axis occupation, undoubtedly leap into action despite great personal risk creates a definite sense of drama and danger, but it's actually a much more optimistic viewpoint than the more staid depiction of more humdrum America where people would rather put up with tyrannical, insane rulers so long as, in their personal lives, they are mostly allowed to go on with the ins and outs of their regular day-to-day routine.  The differences between the show and the book are interesting, and although they might initially seem subtle, I think they ultimately present very different views of American nature.  The show presumes that we won't tolerate injustice and will fight for liberty at any cost.  The book assumes that, once subjugated and acclimated to a new system, Americans will tolerate terrible injustices, at least insofar as they aren't suffering too terribly on a personal level.
Anyway, we're only a couple of episodes into the series, but I'm liking it.

On Saturday we got up really early and went to breakfast with Raylan.  I'm here to report that if you want a good table at Kerbey Lane on a weekend, getting there at 7:00 a.m. will really cut down on your wait time.
We had a nice breakfast, and then I did some grocery shopping.  During the morning, a cold front rolled in and the weather cooled off.  The sun came out, and it was breezy.  We went for some walks, and I took Raylan with me to Target while Amy went to the gym.  I went to the gym after I got back.
Saturday night Amy made tortilla soup and we watched another episode of TMITHC.  Soooo good. 

(Cassidy enjoying the cool, fall weather on Saturday)

On Sunday we mostly relaxed.  Took care of some chores.  Played with Raylan a lot.  We each went to the gym.  We once again took several walks.  I had band practice with Reed and Frank in the evening.  It was good to get together with them and make some music.  It had been a few weeks.

(Raylan and I go for a stroll)

So, overall it was a pretty quiet weekend.  Nice, though.
Hope everyone is having a good one.
Turkey Day is right around the corner!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Well, it's taken me a while to get around to writing an update post, but this week has just been really busy. It's still busy.  I'm gonna keep this post short.

On Friday night Ryan and Jamie came over for dinner.  We got burritos from Freebirds, and they got to visit with Raylan a bit.  It was good to catch up with them.  Things get so busy.

On Saturday Mom and Dad came by and picked up Raylan.  He spent the night with them on Saturday so we could go out.  Saturday night we went to Austin Karaoke to celebrate a bunch of birthdays from the ladies in Amy's office (I think Shelly, Kellie, and Emily all recently had birthdays).  We had a really good time!  The whole thing was a celebration of ridiculousness and cheesy music.  I think the good thing about karaoke is that it pretty much requires everyone involved not to take themselves very seriously.  And I haven't laughed that hard in a while.  Attendees included Emily, Joe, Kit, Shelly, Kellie, Tommy, Craig, Mary, and Steven.  Standout songs included Tommy's soulful rendition of Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2U", and a couple of high octane rap songs performed by Kit and Joe, including "Jump Around" by House of Pain and another song which will not be named or described on Steanso's family-friendly blog (hint- it's from SNL and it deals with a young man's struggle to contain his excitement).
(Straight outta... some very white, middle class suburb)

(the judges from The Voice had nothing on these ladies)
(I thought I might have dreamt this in a nightmare until I went through
my pictures the following morning)
(It's only fun if you take it seriously, right?)
(Kit and Steanso psyching themselves up to perform)

So that was pretty much Saturday.  On Sunday Raylan returned home (yea!), and we took care of some chores.  (grocery store, etc.)  One chore that did not get done?  Hanging up the mini blinds that I had ordered.  I had put the measurements in the computer backward, so we got short, fat mini blinds for Raylan's room instead of tall, thin ones.  Kind of a bummer, but the people at seem cool, and they're making me a new set for free.  Let's hope the next batch goes better.
Amy made some tasty pasta for dinner, and that was pretty much the night.

(someone put a hat on my head to celebrate a
holiday that I do not yet understand)

And that was the weekend.  It was really good to see Ryan and Jamie Friday and to have a chance to relax with friends on Saturday night at the karaoke place.
Hope everyone else is doing well.  How are the holidays coming up on us so fast?

Monday, November 09, 2015


Hey!  Hope everyone had a good weekend!
We had a nice one.  
Friday night we just ate pizza and relaxed.  We watched an episode of The Americans.  We're both still really enjoying that show.
On Saturday morning I did some grocery shopping.  We took turns going to the gym.  We hung out with Raylan a lot.

(No, you're the best!)

(Amy tests out some new shushing glasses.)

On Saturday night our friends Shelly and Kit came over to watch the UT-Kansas game.  Kansas is not very good, so UT won pretty handily.  Raylan hung out for a little while at first, but then he went to sleep.  We had a really fun time visiting with Shelly and Kit.  Amy made queso, and we got other snacks and some cookies to go with it.  The game was okay, but mostly it was just good to see friends. 
(Waiting on Shelly and Kit to show up, but definitely ready for the game!)

(Tailgating with Mom)

(I have food on my face?  Really?  Where?)

On Sunday the weather was great.  It was cool and breezy and sunny.  I put a blanket out in the front yard, and played with Raylan on it for a while.  Sunday afternoon Tommy and Kelly stopped by for a visit.  We chatted with them for a while, and then we all walked to Central Market for lunch (well, Raylan rolled).  We ordered from the cafĂ© and then sat outside to eat.  It was great to see them.  Made for a very nice afternoon.
Sunday night we ate some Zuppa Toscana from a recipe that I found online.  It was pretty good.  Amy helped me make it, since I have a lot to learn in the cooking department (and many other departments as well).
And that was pretty much the weekend.  It was really nice.  We got some stuff done, and got to spend time with friends.  Friends are important for so many reasons, and it's been hard to keep in touch with people since we got a tiny little new boss in our house.  At the risk of sounding cheesy, friends really do make our lives richer, make us laugh, help us talk through our worries, and generally keep us grounded.  It was good to see Shelly, Kit, Tommy, and Kelly.  Thanks to them all for coming by to spend time with us.

(Walk?  Treat?  Whaddya got?)
And that was the weekend!  Have a good week!

Monday, November 02, 2015

Halloween Weekend

Hi, guys! Hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween!
Our weekend was a little strange.  For one thing, we ended up having a 3 day weekend that we weren't planning on.  On Friday we got up in the morning to some pretty torrential rain at our house.  I was supposed to go to work and take Raylan to daycare, but it was raining so hard that I decided to go in a little late and wait out the worst of the weather.  Well, the rain only got worse.  We watched on the news as South Lamar closed down due to flooding in a couple of locations, and then we got an email telling us that they were evacuating the children out of Raylan's daycare building into the adjoining church (there were tornado warnings by that point).  I'm not sure exactly how much rain we received, in the end, but there were tornado warnings at the airport, and 14 inches of rain were reported there.  Sunset Valley, only blocks from our house, had homes evacuated due to flooding.  Our backyard got a lot of water as well, but (knock on wood) the flood control remediation work that we've had done kept the water out of our house this time.
So, we ended up at home on Friday.  The rain let up by the afternoon, but apparently by then our office was sending people home because the rising floodwaters and swamped low water crossings were making driving dangerous (we also had some water damage in our building that required a number of offices to shut down all of their computers and electronics).
I was actually a little bummed to miss work on Friday.  It was the day before Halloween, and the people in my office decorate the place and bring candy so that co-workers can bring their kiddos to the office for trick-or-treating.  It's a lot of fun, and I had been planning to pick up Raylan from daycare, put him in his costume, and swing by the office so he could meet some of my friends and colleagues (he's never been up there before).
Oh well.  Next year!

(our little backyard levee holding back the floodwaters)

On Saturday we got up to see the last of the rain clearing out.  We took care of Raylan, and I went to the store to do some grocery shopping.  I also squeezed in a quick trip to the gym near our house, and ran over to Guitar Center to check out an amp that I was looking at (easier to carry than my Vox- for more lightweight rocking).

("So we're gonna win for sure against
Iowa State, aren't we Dad?")
On Saturday evening we headed over to Ryan and Jamie's house for some Halloween festivities coupled with some viewing of the UT-Iowa state game.
As per tradition, we handed out candy to a bunch of the neighborhood kids, and we saw some good costumes.  Our own family dressed up as well.

(Monkey Raylan fails to see
the A PEEL of my costume)
So Raylan got a legit first year Halloween experience.
My parents came over as well as Jamie's Dad and Matt, Nicole, and Juan.  My parents brought barbecue from Rudy's, and then we all ate some good food while watching a horrible UT performance.  I don't know how we got shut out offensively while allowing a fairly mediocre Iowa state teams score 24 points.  It was godawful, and almost made worse by the fact that UT had recently shown so much promise against OU and Kansas State.  We just didn't look like we were serious about playing football.  I guess Coach Strong's job is in jeopardy again.  Dear lord.
That was not great.
Thanks to Ryan and Jamie for having us over, though!

On Sunday we go up and went to Central Markey for breakfast.  We took some walks, Amy went jogging (great weather on Sunday), and I bought a used amp from some dude off of Craigslist.  I also put away some Halloween stuff, and made a trip to drop some stuff off at Goodwill. 
Sunday night I got together and played with Reed.  It was good.  After practice we had dinner.  Went to bed sort of early, knowing that Raylan would not be adjusted to the time change (an accurate prediction).

And that was the weekend.  We had lots of laundry and chores squeezed in there.  Somehow babies, despite being small, sort of exponentially increase the amount of laundry.  Thanks to Amy for putting up with my shenanigans while I was trying to buy this new guitar amp.

Hope everyone has a good week!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Happy Anniversary!!

Happy anniversary, Amy!  It's been a great two years.
I love you.  You make me immeasurably happy, and I feel unbelievably fortunate to have you in my life! 

Monday, October 26, 2015


Hey! How are you? Everyone doing okay so far as we fall into fall?
Here's a video that I actually took last week of Raylan.  It's just a quick video of him enjoying a bath, but he really loves water these days, and I haven't really show him in action very much on the ol' blog.  He just turned 6 months, so this seems like as good a time as any for a video.

Our weekend in Austin was, as predicted, very rainy.  Fortunately, we ended up having a sort of moderate, steady rain instead of constant heavy downpours, so we didn't get any flooding (at least down in our neck of the woods).
Our weekend consisted of mostly indoor activities, though, as we tried to stay dry.
On Friday night we just hung out.  We watched an episode of The Americans, I think.
On Saturday I got up and went grocery shopping, and then we went out to Steiner Ranch to watch the UT v. K-State game.  Amy and Raylan decided to wear matching Mono Ensemble outfits to enjoy the game.  Amy got some stitching and reading done while Mom, Dad, and I watched UT slowly defeat K-State at a very wet DKR Stadium.  Mom made some tasty turkey chili, and put out some veggies and crackers.  It was fun.  I can't emphasize enough how nice it is to have someplace where we can get out of the house for a while and feel comfortable taking Raylan (he has a crib over there that he can nap in if he gets tired).

(Wait.  I have to be a fan of who now?)

(I suspect that someone has put something ridiculous on my head)

On Sunday Ryan and Jamie came over in the afternoon.  They hung out with Raylan and me for a little while.  Amy was napping at first (Raylan did not sleep in this weekend), but eventually she woke up and joined us.  It was good to have them stop by!  Raylan was a little zoned out initially (he also just got up from a nap), but eventually he snapped out of it and got more excited.

(Stare down contest.  Start....NOW!!!)
In the evening, I went to band practice.  It was good.  Jim played piano.  It's a work in progress integrating the piano, but it's coming along.
When I got home, Amy had made a good dinner with salmon and a topping that involved onions and tomatoes.  Very good.  Also some polenta.
After dinner and dishes I watched The Walking Dead.  Man, this season has been rough so far.

And that was the weekend!  It was rainy.  It was good.

(Nap attack?  What's a nap...?) 

Monday, October 19, 2015


(This is my foot.  I have this one and a spare on the other side.)

So it was a good weekend.  Amy's mom, Jean, got into town on Wednesday, and stayed with us through the weekend.  My parents were in Nashville visiting the Blood family this weekend, so it was sort of a parent swap.  Ryan's been in Portland for work, so the Steans family has been spread out, somewhat.
It was nice to have Jean visit.  Raylan is old enough now that he's aware of people, so he and Nana hit it off.  Jean and Amy got him to really start eating several different kinds of solid foods.  Amy's been blending up all kinds of stuff, but apparently apples are a big fave right now.  They also took a lot of walks.  Jean and Amy also worked on some quilting and stitching projects.  Seems like they had fun.
I should mention that, unfortunately, Amy came down with a cold right as Jean was getting here.  It wasn't horrible or anything, but she was a little bit more tired than usual and coughing a lot.  It was kind of nice to have Jean in town to help out a bit with Raylan while Amy wasn't quite feeling up to par.
(This picture sort of symbolizes the weekend.  Coughing Amy and hanging out with Raylan.
Note that Amy's coughing toward me, and not Raylan.  Protect the bebe!)
What else?  On Thursday night I stopped in at a "goodbye" happy hour after work for Danielle, Greg, and J. Michael, who are all going to the D.A.'s office to work on felony cases.  Happy hour was pretty fun.  I'll be sorry to see them go.  All three of them are good people, and I've worked with Danielle a lot because she was my partner in the Veterans Court for several years.  She's a good lawyer.  I'm sure she'll kick some butt in the D.A.'s office.
Thursday night Amy made chilaquiles (yum!), so we had a nice dinner after the happy hour.  Friday night we ate some pizza.
Saturday morning I sold my CRV.  I had posted an ad for it on Craigslist, and I had quite a few people call me about  it.  There's a strangely high demand for CRVs from around the 2000 time period, I found out.  I guess it's because they only made that particular body style for a year or two.
Anyway, I had told Amy that I was glad to be getting calls about the car, but that I really wanted to sell it to a college student or someone who would just buy the car and have a good time with it (as opposed to fixing it up to resell it).
Well, in the end Nancy Hohengarten, the judge whose court I work in for the mental health docket, ended up buying the car for her son, Matt.  Matt goes to college nearby, so he just needed something to get him around in.  I hope he has fun with the CRV, and I hope it holds up well for him.  It's an old car, but it was good to me!

(End of an era!  Take care of her, Matt, and she'll take care of you!)

So having sold the car pretty early in the day on Saturday, I took advantage of the extremely nice weather (and the off week for UT football) by going for a bike ride.  It was a great day to be on the bike.  I pedaled my way downtown and went by the book festival.  I stopped and got a turkey sandwich, watched the kids at the skate park for a few minutes, and then pedaled my way home.
Amy and Jean worked on quilting while I was out, so they were probably glad to have me out of their way.
Afterward, I got home, took a shower, and ran to the grocery store to do our shopping for the week.
That evening we ordered out for Thai food and played with Raylan.

(Raylan expresses interest in Cassidy.  Cassidy, wisely, plays dead.)

(Sometimes Raylan seems pretty proud of himself on his walks.  Not sure he realizes that Amy is the one doing the actual walking.  Silly bebe.)

On Sunday we got up and took Raylan over to Kerbey Lane for breakfast.  It was very nice.  Raylan was pretty mellow and easily entertained, and we all had a nice breakfast.

(Sunday morning breakfast with Nana!  Raylan had the blue, plastic bowl,
a la carte)
After breakfast Jean and Amy ran some errands while I hung out with Raylan for a while.  Later on I went to the gym.  In the evening I went to band practice.  It felt good.  We had some strong music moments in there.
When I got home, Amy had made turkey sausage stuffed peppers and a salad.  Excellent dinner.  She made an apple crisp for dessert.  Jean and I both liked it, but Amy was on the fence.

And that was pretty much it.

It was a nice weekend.  Beautiful fall weather.  We spent a lot of time with the windows open, and we wandered in and out of the house.
Thanks to Jean for visiting!  We enjoyed having you! 
It'll be nice to have Mom and Dad back, too.