Monday, May 20, 2019


Hey! Hope everyone had a good weekend!  Ours was pretty good, but fairly low key.

Friday was bike to work day.  I rode my bike to work.  Stopped off at City Hall to pick up some free sunglasses and other free stuff.

When Raylan found out that he would not be riding to
work with me, he didn't take the news especially well.

Bike to Work Day 2019
On Saturday we got up and went out to breakfast at Kerbey Lane.  Afterward we went to see a children's play called Acorn and Robin at the Carver Cultural Center.  The play was interactive, and the kids seemed to enjoy it.  Kiddo was really interested, and she even wandered up on stage during some of the interactive parts of the performance.  Raylan told me he was a little bit scared of the people in the "weird costumes".

After the play the kids played on the playground outside the Carver Center.  We video chatted with my parents, who are still on their trip to Israel, while outside on the playground.  It was good to see them.

Later that morning we went to PetSmart and bought a little fish tank.  We set it up on Saturday, bought a fish to put in it on Sunday, and by Monday morning that fish had gone to the big fish tank in the sky.  Not sure what happened to that fish.  Raylan had named him Cat.

On Sunday I picked up our groceries and took Bella to TuneBugz.  

Sunday afternoon the kids played at the house in the kid pool and with the sprinkler.

Summer is coming

Sunday afternoon Frank came over and we played guitar for a little while.  It was fun.

Sunday night we watched the series finale of Game of Thrones.  I felt like it was sort of a letdown.  Bran has been pretty lame for a while on the show, and now he's the king?

Oh well....

Anyway, that was our weekend, for the most part.

Have a good week!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Update; Mother's Day 2019

Hope everyone had a good weekend!  I especially hope that you moms and grandmothers had a good Mother's Day!  

On Friday I took the day off.  It was a mix of getting some errands done combined with taking a little time off to relax.  In the afternoon, Amy and I went to see Avengers: Endgame.  We both enjoyed it.

On Saturday morning, we went out to breakfast at La Posada.  Then Amy took Kiddo and went to a foster mom support group that she's been attending.  She seemed to enjoy it.  

Raylan and I ran some errands while they were out.  We went to a florist, and Raylan picked out some flowers for his mom for Mother's Day.  He was very proud of his selection, and he did a good job.

It was unseasonably cool and rainy on Saturday, so we spent a lot of time playing games in the house.  Raylan likes games quite a bit now.  He has some cooperative games for kids and a PJ Masks concentration game that he's really good at (I legitimately have a really hard time beating him).

When it got done raining on Saturday, I took Raylan and Kiddo outside to burn off some energy.

Kiddo, did you know that some parents
pay lots of money to take their kids to
water parks?!

On Saturday evening we got a babysitter.  One of Raylan's teachers, Ms. Bianka, was performing over at the Whisenhunt Stage at the Zach Theatre with her show choir, the River City Pops.  We went to see her perform, and she was great!  We had a lot of fun, and it was nice to get out of the house and go enjoy ourselves.  Bianka has a really great voice.  Also, we went out for ice cream afterwards...

When you ask Amy to make a face that shows how
much fun she's having on a date with her
awesome husband, this is what you get.
She was joking!  I'm pretty sure she was joking...

Sunday, of course, was Mother's Day.  When I had asked Amy what she wanted for Mother's Day, her foremost request was to have some time to herself.  So on Sunday morning I got up and took Raylan and Kiddo to Kerbey Lane for breakfast while Amy went to get a massage.

Slightly distorted panorama shot of Kiddo and Raylan at breakfast.

After breakfast we went over to Uncle Ryan and Aunt Jamie's house for a while so Amy could continue to relax a bit longer (never mind the fact that she ultimately ended up deciding to use this
time to do chores).  We played a bit with toys and then went to the park in their neighborhood.  The kids had a lot of fun.  

Aunt Jamie sloooowly walks to the park with
 Kiddo and Scout

Uncle Ryan helps the kids explore the best part
of every neighborhood park- the storm drain tunnel
and water retention pond!

On the drive home from their house, Raylan was complaining that we didn't stay longer and asking when we could go back.  So apparently Ryan and Jamie's house was a hit.

We got back to the house to find that Amy had been moving a whole pile of unwanted items (including at least one piece of heavy furniture) out to the curb for bulk trash collection day on Monday.  Not exactly what I had pictured her doing with her time off, but the woman does love to organize!

The kids got lunch and took naps while I rode my bike to the gym (the sun had come out and the weather was great on Sunday).

When the kids got up, we walked to Central Market and bought a couple of cupcakes to celebrate Mother's Day.

When we got home, the kids played in the yard for a while.  Ryan had bought them a sort of sprinkler toy that looks like flowers that are shooting out water.  Raylan stripped off his clothes and ran around in it.  Kiddo basically orbited the whole scene, muttering "too cold" every time she got sprayed by water.

Mother's Day partay!
Eventually we cleaned the kids up and had dinner.  The kids wished Amy a happy Mother's Day.  Repeatedly.

Pin her to the floor and make sure she knows how
much we appreciate her! 

It was a pretty good weekend.

Hope everyone has a good week!

Monday, May 06, 2019

Update; Kiddo's Birthday

Hey!  So we had sort of a long week at our house, culminating in a really fun Sunday.

Kiddo caught some kind of really nasty stomach bug during the week.  Raylan had gotten sick to his stomach last weekend for less than 8 hours.  When Kiddo seemed to catch the same bug, it stretched into more than a 3 day event, including high fever (Raylan never had a fever) mixed with some serious stomach issues, and all of the nastiness that you might imagine would accompany something like that.  We ended up taking her to the pediatric urgent care by our house (the staff there are getting to know our family all too well) so she could get some anti-nausea medication.
Amy and I took turns staying home with her from work.  Raylan spent a couple of days at my parents' house.  They were supposed to take him overnight, anyway, before heading off on a trip to Israel, but his stay got extended by an extra night so we could take care of Kiddo and so everyone could get more rest.

At the urgent care.  I wish to recreate this mural in
our living room.
Raylan returned home Friday night, and it was nice because Kiddo seemed to really perk up when he saw him.  By Saturday Kiddo had no more overt stomach problems or fever, but she was still pretty cranky.  She may have still been feeling sort of nauseated.  She really didn't seem to want to eat anything.  This was unfortunate because Saturday was also her birthday.

We tried to keep her comfortable and entertained, but it was sort of rough going.  We took Raylan and Kiddo to a South Austin park.  Raylan had a good time, but Kiddo was a little out of sorts, and spent some a chunk of time just yelling/screaming at us for no apparent reason (although she did get to play with some dogs for a few minutes, and she seemed to enjoy that).

Birthday trip to the park!

I don't know what we did on Saturday.  Amy and Raylan made a cake for Kiddo.  We played at our house a lot.

On Sunday we had a little get together over at our place.  It was a sort of little birthday party for Kiddo and an excuse to cook out and see everyone.  Ryan, Jamie, Kit, Shelly, and Spencer came over.  The kids played in the yard.  Amy made really good chicken/cheese/pepper things on the grill, and we grilled some veggies.  Amy also made macaroni salad, cucumber salad, and coleslaw.  We also grilled some hot dogs for the kids.  It was all excellent.

Spencer and Kiddo took naps, and Raylan played and watched TV.  The grownups got to hang out and visit for a while.

Waiting for the guests

Uncle Ryan helps Raylan build the world's worst roller coaster.
Kiddo watches in amazement.
.  Ryan, Jamie, Kit, and Shelly.  Chittin' and chattin'

Did I mention that Kit brought over a crazy water toy?
Also a bubble machine.  Of course there
was a bubble machine!
Amy helps Kiddo unpack some b-day gifts.  Spencer loses interest.

The birthday party/cookout was fun.  Food was great, and we really enjoyed having the gang come and hang out.  The weather was even really nice!  (although it got hotter and muggier later in the afternoon after folks left)  Anyway, we had fun, and even though Kiddo's actual birthday was a little rocky, I think we more than made up for it the next day.

Later in the evening I went over to Reed's and played some music for a little while.  It was good to see him and get loud.

And that was the weekend.  Hope everyone has a good week!  Safe, fun travels to Mom and Dad as they head off to Israel!

Sunday, April 28, 2019


What's up?

We had a pretty good weekend.  On Friday we let Raylan pick what we were having for dinner.  S we ended up having Popeye's fried chicken.
Saturday night Raylan woke up in the middle of the night with an upset stomach.  I guess it could have been related to the fried chicken, but I'm not sure.  He's eaten Popeye's before without any problem.  At any rate, it was a long night.
On Saturday, though, he was more or less okay.

Saturday morning Amy went for a jog and took Bella in the stroller.  Meanwhile, Raylan and I hung out at the house.  We got out the kiddie pool and played with some new squirt guns that I had gotten for him for his birthday.

Raylan takes aim at me.
Not the phone, kid!  Don't hit the phone!
Saturday afternoon we were supposed to go to a birthday party for a couple of twins from Raylan's school.  Raylan went down for a nap, though, and we couldn't get him up.  He had been up feeling sick the night before, so he napped hard Saturday afternoon.
Once the kids got up we ran some errands.

Kiddo and Raylan doing... something... in the shopping cart.
Raylan realized at some point, while we were out shopping, that he had missed the birthday party for the twins.  He freaked out.  Inconsolable. He loves parties.
In an attempt to smooth things over, we went to Central Market and got hot dogs to cook out and some cup cakes.  We told him we could have a make up party at out house.
And we did.  
And it was good.

On Sunday morning Amy took Kiddo to her TuneBugz class.  I took Raylan to a concert for kids (put on by Rock and Roll Playhouse) at The Mohawk.  It featured the music of Phish, and it was covered by a really good band, who did an extremely solid job of covering Phish (they could have easily been playing for an adult crowd, and, in fact, many of the parents were into it as much or more than the kids).  Raylan wore a little pair of ear-protecting earmuffs since he isn't crazy about loud noises.
The music was good, and the people running the event were clever enough to bring props and toys to keep the kids engaged (they brought out dancing ribbons, parachutes, etc.).  It was a fun event.  We had fun.

Raylan does a ribbon dance

Under the parachute

A shot from before the show up on the rooftop balcony at The Mohwak. 

On Sunday afternoon we went to a cookout over at Mandy's house.  Hot dogs and sausage and chicken and grilled veggies.  All very good.  Kellie was there with Jojo and Goldie, so Raylan and Kiddo had fun hanging out with her kids.  Got to hang out with Vicki and Donna Rene and Spencer, as well.  We had a really nice time.

Jojo, Raylan, Goldie, Kiddo, and Mandy, checking out the fish in
Mandy's pond 

Kiddo, realizing that we are going home and that the party is over,
throws her sippy cup in protest
After the cookout I gave the kids a bath and headed off to band practice.
We were all there.  We played a lot of random covers and some of our older songs.

And that was the weekend!

It was a nice one.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

AZ Trip; Raylan and Kiddo B-Day Celebration; Easter

Hey!  Hope everyone is doing okay.
We just got back from a trip to Arizona!
We left on Thursday.  Our flight was a little bit delayed, but things went relatively smoothly.

Our version of the kids behaving themselves at the airport.
Raylan ponders the inefficiencies of the modern
airline industry. 
We got to Phoenix in the mid afternoon.  Jean picked us up (thanks, Jean!).  We rented a vacation rental house for this trip which was just a few blocks from Amy's parents' place.  We checked in there before heading over to Jean and Greg's house.
The kids played in the back yard at the Davis house, running in the sprinkler and playing with outdoor toys.  Nathan and Scott were both there, and Raylan and Kiddo had a good time playing with them.
Jean and Greg made us a nice dinner.  It was a sort of Thai chicken dish with peanut sauce along with salad and rice.  Very good.
There's a two hour time difference between Arizona and Texas, so the kids partied out pretty early by Arizona standards.  We headed back to our place to crash before it got too late.

On Friday, we got up and went over to Jean and Greg's for breakfast.  Then we handed the kids off to Jean for a little bit and went to work out over at Blackstone, the country club where Amy's parents are members.  The workout facilities over there are really nice, and it's a great place to exercise.  The club, on the whole, is just a really nice place.
While we were going to the gym and getting cleaned up, the kids were learning to golf over at Carol and Jerry's house!

Poppy, this is fun, but I'm not sure I can knock the ball
through your window from here...
Carol and Jerry, Amy's grandparents, have replaced some of the grass in their backyard with a putting green since the last time we had been out there.  It's really cool.
So the kids had fun playing some golf.  And then Jean took them to a nearby park for a while as well.
Later, after naps and lunch, we took the kids and met up with Heidi, Nathan, Scott, and Joanna at the Blackstone pool.  Blackstone actually has two big adult pools and a kids' pool.  Once again, they're beautiful facilities.  Jean was with us and helped wrangle the kids.

Nathan, me, Raylan, Joanna, Amy, and Kiddo in the pool.
The kids had a blast.  Raylan loves to swim, and he loved playing with his cousins in the water.  As far as we know, this was Kiddo's first swimming experience, and she loved it.  She didn't seem afraid of the water at all, and even tried to do some swimming kicks that we think she learned by watching Raylan "practice" his swimming in the bathtub at our house.  Anyway, it was really fun.

Friday night we went to El Encanto Dos with Amy's parents and grandparents.  We sat outside, and it was really nice.  The food at El Encanto is great, and it was really fun to sit out on the porch and chat with everyone.  Jerry walked Raylan around the restaurant outside, and Raylan had a fun time wandering around with him.

Carol, Kiddo, and Jean.

After dinner we went back to Jean and Greg's for a bit, but then we went back to our rental house.
My parents came into town for this trip as well.  They didn't want to miss Raylan's birthday, and the Davis-Koffel-Sinex clan was kind enough to extend an invitation for them to join us.  So on Friday my parents flew into town.  They went and visited Frank and Suk Hi, who now live in Phoenix, and had dinner with them before linking up with us.  So after we all had dinner, we met up at the rental house so we could let them in and get them situated.

Saturday was Raylan's birthday.  We got up and ate breakfast with him and then took him over to Jean and Greg's.  We went to work out again.
After that we all went over to Matt and Heidi's house.  They threw a party for Raylan and Kiddo (who has a birthday coming up pretty soon).
The party was great!  There was a bounce house, a popcorn machine, a cake, hamburgers and hotdogs, a piƱata, and pork ribs (which Matt smoked- I usually don't even eat pork, but I ate one of those ribs, and it was great).
The kids had a blast.  Raylan and Bella both played so hard that they really wore themselves out.

The bounce house had both a basketball court and a slide.
In the Austin real estate market it would have been
valued at at least $500k.
At one point, the bounce house, popcorn popper, and electric smoker managed to overload the circuit breaker.  Amy was inside the bounce house when it lost power, and although I didn't hear any crying from the kids as it slowly collapsed, I did hear Amy's howls of terror.  I'm pretty sure she was shoving children out of the way as she scrambled for the exit.  ;-)

The horror!
So Greg and Dad reset the circuit breaker moved around some extension cords, and we were back up and running about five minutes later.  Crisis averted!
The kids played inside and outside and in the bounce house and, generally, all over the place.

Scott gives Raylan a bracelet that he made for him.  Raylan kept that
bracelet with all the way back to Austin. 

Amy supervises the kids during lunch.  It's had to get kids to
 stop and eat when there's a bounce house 10 feet

Here's Raylan trying to sort of listen as we beg him not to spit all over
the cake while blowing out candles.

So the party was awesome.  We had a great time.  
Eventually Kiddo started really crashing (excitement + Arizona time change + bounce house jumping = worn out toddler), so that was when we left.
But the party was great!  Thanks so much to the Davis and Sinex families for putting it together!  We really appreciate it, and thank you so much for giving Raylan and Kiddo such a wonderful birthday celebration!  He really loves his Arizona family.  Arizona is a special place to him.

On Saturday afternoon, after nap, we went to the pool again at Blackstone for a little bit.  Mom and Dad (i.e., Grandma and Papa) went with us this time, along with Jean and Greg.  It was a really nice way to relax and play with the kids.

Saturday evening we (including my parents) had dinner at Greg and Jean's house.  They made a really good chicken and cheese and bacon dish.  Greg also had a really nice bourbon (Woodford Reserve) that he was kind enough to share with me, so that was fun.
We had a really nice meal.  The kids ate before the adults, so we had a nice chance to all sit down together and have a grown-up meal.  Great food and conversation.  It was a very pleasant evening.

Sunday was Easter.  We got up and went to church at Lord of Life Lutheran over in Sun City.  Raylan and Kiddo were remarkably well behaved and made it through the entire service without having to go outside.  I was sort of amazed.  It was really nice to make it through the Easter service with all of us there.

Making it through a whole church service!  An Easter miracle!
After church Amy and I ran over to her grandparents' house for few minutes to visit with them and hang out.  It was good for Amy to get a little alone time with them.  Afterward we all went to brunch over at Blackstone.  It was a great event.  The food was amazing, we got to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather and the view over the golf course, and there was both an Easter egg hunt and a petting zoo for the kids.

Raylan realizes that it's sort of hard to hide eggs on a golf course.

Raylan counts his Easter eggs while keeping
an eye out for that freaky bunny....
After brunch, the kids took naps for a bit.  Following that, Amy and I took Raylan and Kiddo to the pool with Jean and Greg.  We swam in the resort pool (which has frog fountains that fascinated Raylan), and it was really nice.  My parents skipped the pool and went to visit the Sinex family (my mom brought some Easter loot for the kids) and then to visit Jerry and Carol.  They said they had a good time visiting everyone.

Sunday evening we went over to Jean and Greg's for pizza and some hanging out time.  It was low-key, relaxed, and nice.

Raylan becomes hooked on the high-stakes sport of
Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.  Grandma is considerably
less invested.
On Monday we got up and had to get packed up again and straighten up the rental house.  We got Mom and Dad out the door to get to the airport, and then we checked out and went over to Jean and Greg's to hang out until it was time to leave.  We took Raylan and Bella on a walk on the Vistancia trails before leaving.
We were walking up to the waterfall at the front of the neighborhood when Raylan sort of pooped out.  I'm not sure if it was the sun or what (he walks similar distances at home when we go to the park in Austin),  but he was dragging a bit and tried to sit down a couple of times.

Anyway, we gotta work on his hiking legs a bit, I guess.

After, the kids got lunch, and we headed to the airport, and that was really the end of our trip.  My parents missed a flight and had a long day getting on a new flight, but our return trip was mostly unremarkable.  Ryan was good enough to pick us up at the airport in my car, so he gets the medal for outstanding brother/uncle/brother-in-law this month.

Our trip was really nice.  Thanks to Heidi and Matt for hosting such a nice party (with some Jean help), thanks to Jean and Greg for the great brunch, and thanks to all of the Davis, Coffel, and Sinex family for being such gracious hosts.  It's always great to go to Arizona and to feel so welcomed.

And the kids both had a blast.  Raylan will be bugging us to go back to Arizona for a long time to come, I am sure.  As far as he's concerned, it's the land of endless parties, treats, and kid-centered  fun.  

Thanks again.  I hope everyone has a great week!

Monday, April 15, 2019


Howdy!  Hope every one had a good weekend!
Raylan's weekend started with a "home day" where Papa took him to swimming lessons and to the park by Mansfield Dam.  It sounds like he had a blast.

That dam kid.
On Thursday evening we met up at La Posada for dinner, and to have a little celebration for Ryan's birthday.  Jamie had a cold and didn't make it, but she was missed.

Ryan and Raylan exchange an April birthday high five

Margaritas and birthday loot.  I think Grandma turned Uncle Ryan's
birthday card into a reading/writing lesson for Raylan

Uncle Ryan gave Raylan an early birthday present.
It's a fish tank with artificial fish.  I am grateful that fake fish
currently generate the same level of enthusiasm as
real pets.
On Saturday night we went to a wedding for Noe and Katie at Umlauf Sculpture Garden.  I've known Katie since she was about five years old and was adopted by her family, the Leihs, here in Austin.  We all went to church together growing up, and we spent a lot of time together as kids.  Nowadays all of the Leih kids live up in the New York City area, so we rarely see them.  It was good to catch up a bit at the wedding, though.
I'm embarrassed to report that I didn't get any great pics of Noe and Katie together.  It seems like whenever I had a clear line of sight for a moment a professional wedding photographer would jump on in there, so I didn't end up with a good pic of them.

Three cool cats in sunglasses

My beautiful wedding date.
And... Dad.... ;-)

Katie and her dad, Tom, share a dance

Wine and truth-tellin' with Mom and Ryan

Dad and Katie
The wedding was beautiful, the food was great, and we had a really nice time.  Thanks to Katie and Noe for inviting us!

On Sunday I took Kiddo to her TuneBugz class.  She is really loving it now that she's used to it.
On Sunday the weather was beautiful, and Amy let me out of the house to go for a bike ride.
I rode downtown and back up South Congress.  It was a nice ride.  Austin's spring weather is definitely one of the highlights of living in our town.

Even took off the bike helmet for this shot!
Heidi and Matt are in town on a vacation/maybe we'll move to Texas someday trip, and they came over later on Sunday afternoon.
We hung out in the back yard, and chatted for a while.
Eventually we went out to dinner at Odd Duck.  We had a really nice time, and a nice meal.  It was good to catch up with them.

Mom and Dad/Grandma and Papa were kind enough to babysit so we could go out to eat.  Raylan and Kiddo had a fun time with them.

And that was our weekend!  We went home after dinner and passed out pretty early.

Hope everyone is doing well!