Monday, May 23, 2016


Hope everyone had a good weekend. Ours was pretty mellow, but good.
On Friday we didn't do much.  We hung out and watched some TV.

On Saturday morning we went to Strange Brew for the kiddie show and saw The Que Pastas.  They must be popular on the kid music circuit because the place was packed.  Raylan had a blast.  He wandered around, bounced up and down a lot, and occasionally even bounced to the music.
The Que Pastas

(Here's a pic of Raylan trying to place his
first order at a bar.
"Hey!  Down here!  Can I get some whole
milk, please?")   

Saturday also involved some walks and a brief trip to the park (pretty soggy from our recent rain).  We also went grocery shopping together.  Raylan was good, and seemed to enjoy being out and about for the shopping experience. 
Amy made fish sandwiches for dinner.  Tasty.

("Eat your food!!!!!")

On Sunday we went out for breakfast to Juan in a Million.  We shared our Don Juan tacos with Raylan, which he seemed to enjoy, and he smiled at our waitress.  I've been eating at Juan in a Million since at least law school (so a couple of decades), and until I had a toddler I never knew that they opened at 7:00 a.m.!  Raylan has taught us a lot about the early morning weekend community here in Austin... 

There was some afternoon playtime with Raylan.

Amy's friend, Emily stopped by to hang out.  She spent some time with Amy and Raylan, and I took the opportunity to sneak out to run an errand at the mall.  Apparently Emily also got roped into reading some books to Raylan.  Raylan seemed to take to Emily right away, but even if there had been any doubt, reading to him has become a pretty surefire way to earn his favor...

("Well, yes, I doooo like this book, Emily.
Read it again!!)

I went over to Reed's house and played music with him, although we didn't have a full blown band practice.  It was fun, and I think we sounded good.  It was also nice to have a chance just to catch up with Reed.

Amy made a Mexican crockpot chicken dish on Sunday night.  It was really good.

We also watched Game of Thrones on Sunday.  Hodor died in a way that vindicated him after being a fairly one note (and, in my opinion slightly annoying) background character for many seasons.  It was one of those episodes that reminds you why you started watching the show in the first place.

And that was our weekend!

Hope everyone had a good one.





Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Well, our weekend was pretty good!
Saturday involved shopping and running errands and stuff.
Saturday night Amy made chicken enchiladas.  They were good.  I think we watched a couple episodes of The Night Manager.
Sunday we went out for breakfast.  Raylan has gotten pretty used to strollering down to Central Market.  Apparently, he likes their eggs.

We played outside.  Amy and I tried (semi successfully) to convince Raylan that water-filled Tupperware is just as fun as muddy puddles.

We played in Raylan's room and took a slightly belated 12 month photo.

(Raylan, spinning his "vinyl")
If you take enough pictures, Raylan will climb into your lap and
demand to see that gadget that you've been clicking

We also me up with some friends, Libby and Jordan, at Radio, a coffee shop in the neighborhood.  Very nice to see them.

Sunday evening we watched Game of Thrones after Raylan was asleep.  Amy put together a wagon for him that Jean had gotten him.

And that was our weekend!  Hope yours was good!






Monday, May 09, 2016


Hey! How was the weekend? Good?
Ours has been pretty good.  My parents are off vacationing and adventuring in Peru, and Amy's mom, Jean, has been in town visiting us since Wednesday.
Hopefully she is having a good visit!  We've been enjoying having her.  Raylan is definitely enjoying his Nana time!

On Friday afternoon I had Mental Health Court.  It's sort of an informal treatment court where we have defendants come check in so we can see how they're doing and make sure that they're taking care of themselves and staying out of trouble.  Next door in Court 6, during the same time slot, Project Engage takes place.  It's a caseload for youthful offenders.  This week they had Guy Forsyth come and play some music and talk to the kids.  I've seen Guy Forsyth a number of times over the years.  He's a really good musician and singer.  It was nice of him to come out and support the program.  I'm not sure his music was entirely the sort of thing that the kids in the program were typically into, but some of them definitely seemed to enjoy it.  The lawyers and judges who stopped by to listen definitely enjoyed it.

Guy Forsyth plays Project Engage

On Friday night we ordered some Thai food and mostly just hung out.
On Saturday morning we got up, and I ran to the store and ran an errand or two.  We all took turns working out and Raylan wrangling, and then, after lunch, we headed out to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  It was a pretty nice day for it.

(Raylan leads the way)

There is a children's interactive exhibit at the Wildflower Center featuring watering holes.  It was sponsored by the memorial fund created in Jeff Wilson's name after he passed away, and the exhibit has a sign bearing his name.  It was sort of a bittersweet moment watching Raylan happily play in the water at the exhibit and explore the place.  Jeff passed away ten years ago this summer.  That seems unreal to me.  He was a great friend, and I still miss him all of the time.  I wish he could have met Raylan and Amy. 
The watering hole feature is great, though, and I know it would have made Jeff laugh and smile to watch Raylan crazily scrambling around the place, playing with the water and watching it pour out of the fountain and through the rocks.
The Wildflower Center is great.  We all really enjoyed Jeff's exhibit and the whole place.  We need to go back again soon and bring more sunscreen! 

(Let me go, Mom!  I got this!!)

Mom explains fish and plants and creeks and ponds.

On Saturday night, after we had gotten home and gotten Raylan fed and put to bed, Amy made turkey burgers. Very good!
On Sunday morning we went out for an early Mother's Day breakfast at Kerbey Lane.  There were a couple of tables that just had dads with little kids in tow, but with no moms to be seen.  I guess as Raylan gets older I'll see if Amy wants to celebrate being a mom by getting a break from kid duty.
But we had a nice time having breakfast together!  I enjoyed it, and I hope she did, too, seeing as how it was Mother's Day!

Mother and daughter supermom team!

After breakfast we went for a walk and hung out at the park for a while.  Raylan ran around, enjoying all of the attention.

After the park I picked up some childproof latches at Home Depot and installed them in the kitchen.  Now that Raylan is walking around and getting into everything, it seemed pretty important to get them installed.
After that, I worked out and went to visit Ryan and Jamie.
Amy and Jean went shopping with Raylan.
For dinner we had barbecue chicken tacos.
Amy might be coming down with a cold again, so she went to bed pretty early.  I didn't stay up very late, either.

By the way, Raylan did some dancing this weekend!  He's always liked music, and for quite some time he's been bouncing up and down in my arms for certain songs, but now that he can walk, I decided to play one of his favorite songs for him, and he bounces up and down to it with a big smile on his face!

Just for the record, the first song that Raylan ever danced to was Manila by Seelenluft.  For some reason he seems to love this song.  It came on when we were in the car one day on the way to daycare, and I could see him bouncing back and forth in his car seat to it, so I found it on Spotify and started playing it for him.  Seems to make him happy.

And that was pretty much our weekend!  Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers!  I exchanged emails with my mom in Peru.  Sounds like she's having fun.  And it's been good having Jean here for a visit!

Monday, May 02, 2016


So, we had kind of a weird weekend.
On Thursday, Amy started feeling sick.  By Thursday night she had a fever.
Friday I took Raylan in for his one year well baby check up and immunizations with his pediatrician.
Amy missed out on a lot of fun screaming.
Friday night I think we sort of chilled out.  I honestly don't really remember.  I do remember, though, that Amy wasn't feeling well and didn't get much sleep on Friday night, and neither did Raylan.  I think that was the night of the storm with all of the lightning that freaked Raylan out.  I'm not sure.  It's all blurring together.
On Saturday morning Sick Amy got some sleep while Raylan ate breakfast, went for a ride in his car buggy, and then went to get breakfast tacos with me.  Then we hung out and played a little bit.

"That's right, I run this house..."
On Saturday we took some walks and stuff. I think.
(our house- post shrub removal and some tree trimming)
I know I went to the gym in there somewhere.

Saturday night Raylan spent the night at my parents' house.  It was good for all of us.  Raylan loves going there, they wanted to spend time with him before their trip to Peru, and Amy and I needed some rest.
On Sunday morning we did some grocery shopping and got some exercise.  Then Raylan came home, and we went to The Thinkery to meet up with our friends Adam and Katie and their daughter, Ophelia.
It was Raylan's first trip to The Thinkery.  He seemed to really enjoy himself.  He loves to run and touch stuff and explore right now, so The Thinkery was right up his alley.
It was also, of course, good to see Adam, Katie, and Ophelia.  It had been too long. 
I'm kicking myself for failing to get a pic of the two kiddos together.  Or maybe all of us together?

Every time Raylan looked at Adam's face he laughed.  For like 10 minutes.
It was cute.  And weird. 

"This means something..."

So that was the weekend, more or less.  We've also been watching The Night Manager,  a miniseries on AMC based on a John le CarrĂ© novel of the same name.  It's a sort of espionage story with well-written characters, a larger-than-life villain, beautiful cinematography, and a well-paced, compelling plot.  We're only two episodes in, but so far I would recommend it.
And that's about it.
Everyone wish Amy well as she gets over her bug, and wish my folks safe travels as they jet off on another one of their globetrotting adventures!
Have a good week! 

Monday, April 25, 2016


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.

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

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.