Sunday, September 16, 2018


Hello!  How is everyone?
Well, our weekend involved a decent amount of rain.
Work's been busy...

Laura, Dan, and Pedro work the docket in Court 4.
I'm honestly not sure where Saturday went.  I know that Amy took Raylan to the park while I went to the gym, and they got caught in a rainstorm walking home.  Raylan and Amy both eventually took naps.

Saturday night was the UT - USC game.  Texas won!!!!  Well, USC wasn't very good this year, so it might not have been quite the triumph that it might have been in some past years, but UT didn't have any major meltdowns or mental errors.  They played a pretty solid game, so that was really nice to see.  My only real complaint was that the UT running game was terrible, but that seemed mostly due to lackluster play calling, so hopefully that can be fixed through some better coaching strategy.
Anyway, it was a fun game to watch.  Raylan even watched some of the game with me.  He was initially bothered by the tackling, telling me that people aren't supposed to hit and push people like that.  We had a talk about how they wear pads and helmets and about how the referees try to make sure people don't get hurt.  He sort of got into it after a while.  He wanted to see the men try to run down the field while the other men chased them.
On Sunday we got up in the morning and went out to breakfast.

Mom, I'm not gonna be ready to eat breakfast until we get all of this
stuff washed.
Later we went to Target.

Cart lizard.
Later, Amy went for a run while Raylan and I played with Transformers and monster trucks.

The power of "The Claws"!!
I doe my bike to the gym.  

Sunday night I had band practice.  Reed, Frank, Jim, and I were there.  We sounded pretty good and had fun.

And that was pretty much the weekend.  Not super eventful, but nice.

Sunday, September 09, 2018


Hey!  How is everybody?
We had a sort of long 4 day week (there was a bit of stress about whether we were getting a foster child placement last week, but it didn't ultimately work out), but a nice weekend.

On Friday night I went to a docket for the attorneys, judges, social workers, and doctors who work on the Travis County mental health dockets.  It was fun!  It had been a number of years since we did something like that. We had happy hour at a place called Fixe.
Mallory, Brooke, Kathryn, and Bill, closing out the happy hour at Fixe

Angelica, Kathryn, me, Jeff, Suzanne, Brooke, Krista, and Jill outside
of Fixe
After the happy hour a group of us wandered over from 5th Street to 4th Street to a gay dance club called Rain.  Jeff and Mallory led the charge to go over there, and we all charged right along with them.  We got there at like 9:30, which is apparently way too early in the evening for a place like Rain (it took a while to fill up).
Anyway, we hung out and had drinks, there were some predictably ridiculous dance moves, and then I stumbled into an Uber to get home (I couldn't get my RideAustin app to work).
It was the latest night I'd had in a while.  Had a bit of a headache the next morning...

Our gang dances while I consider how I ended up in a gay dance club
that doesn't even serve craft beer 
On Saturday morning we went out for breakfast.  Afterward Shelly, Kit, and baby Spencer came over.  It was a little overcast out, but we still put the kiddos in the baby pool.  
It was good to see them and hang out.  Spencer is a cute kid.

Spencer eyes the hose.  Raylan encourages Amy to turn it on.
Saturday night my parents had a 90th birthday party for Uncle Donald.  It was fun.  Susan was obviously there along with her friend, Lindsey, and Donna (a cousin on Donald and Susan's side) with her husband, Steve.  My parents also invited the Leihs and the Neelys (who have gotten to know Donald well at gatherings over the years).  
Raylan loves a party, of course, and he had a blast.

Raylan figures out the party blower!

UT football game (we beat Tulsa!) and Donald opening cards

A pretty lady being harassed by some ne'er-do-well

Aunt Jamie and Uncle Ryan receive a lesson on magna-tile construction

Raylan was briefly posing for a nice picture with Uncle Donald.
As usual, that moment passed before I got my camera ready... 

(from left) Judy, Lindsey, Don, Uncle Donald, and Donna
We got home Saturday night, and I watched the end of the UT game.  I was, of course, happy we beat Tulsa, but they are a very mediocre team from a small school, and we still struggled for our win.  We have some big games coming up, and I'm a little scared.

On Sunday it was raining.  We got up and decided to take Raylan to an indoor playground.  There's a new one in Oak Hill called Epic Fun.
Epic.  Fun.
Once we learned the name, honestly, I'm not sure we had any choice about whether to go.

Amy and Raylan load balls into a cannon so Raylan can shoot them
at other kids.  Shooting things is part of what constitutes EPIC FUN!

Having watched his father drive in Austin traffic for years,
Raylan had an innate understanding of how bumper cars worked.

Raylan, driving the bumper car with his feet!!!
(including going backward by pulling on the levers with his toes)

serious about mini bowling
So Raylan did a lot of cool stuff at Epic Fun.  In addition to the mini bowling, bumper cars, and indoor playground, they also had a thing called TimeFreak, where the kids run around a room smashing down buttons as they light up on the walls.  It has cool sound effects.  Raylan enjoyed it.

In the afternoon Amy went to the gym and Raylan took a nap.

It rained pretty much all day on Sunday.  Raylan did some playing and watched some Paw Patrol.

And I think that was pretty much it!  Amy made some good tortilla soup for dinner.  
We had no band practice because Reed and Frank were both out.

We had a nice weekend.

I hope that everyone has a good week!

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Labor Day Weekend

Hello!  We had a pretty nice Labor Day weekend.Mom and Dad got back into town late on Wednesday night.  It sounds like they had a good European trip.
On Friday Raylan spent the day and the night with them.  He was really happy to have Grandma and Papa back.
Friday night I went out and had a couple of beers with my friends James and Robert.  We went to Lavaca St. Bar, and just hung out.  They're both at the DA's office now, so I don't see them that often, and it was good to catch up.
On Saturday UT had their first game of the season against Maryland.
Ryan and Jamie came over, and Mom and Dad brought Raylan back to the house and then hung out for the game.    Amy made queso and coleslaw, and we grilled hotdogs and some asparagus (guess which one I ate).  Ryan and Jamie brought hummus and pita chips and olives, and Mom and Dad brought a veggie tray and some fruit.

A halftime game of hide and seek with Uncle Ryan.

Jamie and Raylan hammock it up
The game ended... poorly.  If there was any improvement in UT's game over the off season, they didn't really show it on Saturday.  When crunch time came at the end of the game, and UT had a chance to make successful plays for the win, they choked and made critical errors.  We can still have a bit of hope that this Maryland game was a fluke- a chance to examine mistakes and fine tune the team after early season mistakes.  The problem is that the whole game felt a lot like what we saw last year.  And last year didn't go very well.
Annnyway, it was fun to hang out with the family.  The game had an hour and a half rain delay, so we didn't all even make it to the end (Mom, Dad, Ryan, and Jamie took off, and I watched the 4th quarter solo).

On Sunday we got up and went out to breakfast.  Afterward we went to Dick Nichols Park.  We did the mile trail around the outside of the park, with Raylan riding his bike most of the way.  Afterward Raylan played on the splash pad to cool off.  He didn't have extra clothes, so he wore his underwear.

Not to be outdone by the older kids, Raylan scales a tree in his undies.

I've got no idea how that little girl got wet. 
Splash pad button?  What splash pad button?!
After the park we went home.  Raylan got a bath and ate lunch.  I went over and fed Mandy's dogs because she was out of town.  

Gauge (the visiting boxer) and Darla
Sunday night I had band practice with Reed and Frank.  We sounded pretty good and had fun.
Later that night I stayed up too late watching Wind River.  It was pretty good.  It had been a while since I watched a thriller like that.  It had one of the most intense gunfight scenes that I had seen in a long  time.

On Monday, Labor Day, I got up and went to the gym.  Then Amy went to the gym, and I took Raylan shopping.  We got a few Halloween decorations, and I bought him a toy truck at Target.  I let him pick some stuff out, and I think he got tired walking around At Home (the old Garden Ridge, which is gigantic) and Target.
At home we had lunch outside with Amy.

Labor Day pizza party on the patio
Raylan and I both napped a bit in the afternoon.  It started to rain a bit after we got up.  We played inside and watched some shows.
Amy made some really good meatballs with a red pepper sauce for dinner along with a cucumber salad.  Very good.
And that was the weekend!

I hope everyone has a good week.  
I hope the Longhorns find a way to turn things around!

Monday, August 27, 2018


Hi!  We had a pretty good weekend.
On Friday night we just sort of crashed.  Last week was a busy week, so on Friday we ate leftovers and took it easy.
On Saturday we got up and went out to breakfast at Kerbey Lane.
I played with Raylan a bit afterward.  He's really into his Duplo Lego blocks right now, so we made some trucks and cars out of those.

"This is a flatbed truck, Dad!"
"That's not a flatbed."
"The bed isn't flat."
"This is my really cool truck, Dad!"
Later on Saturday we went over to Garrison Park pool to go swimming.  They changed the hours now that the kids are back in school, so we ended up getting there about an hour early.  We played on the playground for an hour, and then headed over to the pool.
We had a lot of fun swimming.  Raylan made friends with a little boy who was about a year older than him, and he had lots of fun swimming with him and doing "tricks".  Amy and I talked to the boy's mom (he also had an infant sister who was there), and she was really nice.
We got ice cream at Dairy Queen on the way home and Raylan ended up, predictably, covered in chocolate.

Saturday night we were going to go out for pizza at Pinthouse, but we ended up parking next door near Bombay Bistro.  I mentioned to Raylan that we were going to have to park near the Indian restaurant, and Raylan started shouting that he didn't want pizza- that he wanted Indian food, instead (he demanded samosas and naan, in particular).
So we took out weird little 3 year old for Indian food instead of pizza.
We had a nice dinner.  Raylan got his samosas and naan and ate aloo tikki for the first time (which he enjoyed).  His enjoyment of Indian food kind of blows my mind.  I don't think I ever even had Indian food until college or later.  Anyway, he's still pretty picky about a lot of foods, but he likes Indian.

Proof that Raylan loves samosas
On Sunday we got up and went grocery shopping at HEB.  Amy tells Raylan and I what sort of fruits and vegetables to get, and I let Raylan pick them out and put them in bags.  He gets very excited to do this, and he likes to loudly count them out as he drops them into the bags.
After the store we went home.  Amy went to the gym (I had gone when I first got up), and Raylan did some painting out on the back porch.

This started out as a car.  Then it got a little more abstract.

When you ask Raylan to describe his paintings, you really get
a sense of the emotional intensity that he brings to his art.
After the painting Raylan played in his pool for a while.  Amy came home and grilled eggplant while Raylan splashed.

Sunday afternoon Raylan took a nap while Amy and I got an hour or two to do some other stuff (I think I actually read a book for a few minutes).

Sunday evening I had Mono Ensemble practice.  We had an all acoustic practice (albeit amplified, with drums).  I thought it went fairly well.

And that was pretty much the weekend.

Mom and Dad are back from Europe this week.  Hopefully they had a good trip!

Monday, August 20, 2018


How is everyone?  Well, it's back to school time here in Austin, so even though it's still over 100 degrees, in some sense, fall has technically begun.
Last week my mom and dad left for a trip to Europe with our family friends, the Magsigs.  They're going on a riverboat cruise, and I'm sure they will have a nice time.
Meanwhile, back here things continue to chug along.
Raylan is transitioning to a new class at his preschool this week.  Last week he did half days in his new class, and this week he has completely moved up.  He's gone from being an Owl to being a Butterfly.
On Thursday night Raylan had a low fever and said that his ear hurt.  On Friday morning I took him to the doctor, and he had an ear infection.  We caught it pretty early, though, and he started antibiotics.  By Friday night he was already feeling better.
On Saturday Amy and I had a foster care training class to attend.  Mandy was nice enough to watch Raylan during the day on Saturday, and it sounds like he had a really fun time playing with her.

Steanso and Amy get a little silly after a few hours of sitting
through the same training for the second time in two years.

Lunch with Mandy!
We got out of our training on Saturday a little earlier than we expected (which was nice).

Saturday evening we met up with Ryan and Jamie at Mandola's for dinner.  It was good to see them. It seemed like it had been a while.  We had a nice meal, and then afterward we went out to the playground behind the restaurant.  Raylan got to burn off some energy and play with Uncle Ryan and Aunt Jamie a bit.

Raylan shows Uncle Ryan some climbing techniques

There were other kids at this playground, but somehow
not in these pictures...

Uncle Ryan is maybe going to throw Raylan back up the
slide once he reaches the bottom?

On Sunday we got up and went to Mt. Playmore.  Mt. Playmore is a giant indoor playground and sort of arcade/amusement park for little kids.  Raylan has been watching some Blippi on TV, so he's seen videos of Blippi at trampoline parks and indoor playgrounds (case ya don't know, Blippi is some sort of weird Millennial with a five o'clock shadow and colorful suspenders who makes internet videos for kids- screenings of Blippi videos at our house may not be the high point of my performance as a parent, but Raylan looooves them).  Anyway, Katerina, J.R., and Logan showed up to see us at Mt. Playmore, as well as Libby, Jordan, and Rowan.  We had a fun time!  Raylan played so hard on the playscape that he got all winded and sweaty.

Rowan and Raylan, junior fire fighters
Later on Sunday there was some playing and some cooking.

Raylan and the colorful lion

Making some blueberry crumble with Mom.
Upon looking at this picture, it occurs to me that putting your hand into
a food processor while you have a preschooler in easy reach of the
blending buttons is an act of faith...

Coverin' da blueberries wit da crummmble......
Later I went to band practice and played with Reed and Jim.  I played my 12 string acoustic, and Jim played his upright bass,  It was fun.

Today Raylan started in his new class, The Butterflies, at the UT Child Development Center.  His new teacher is named Ashley, just like his old teacher, so that should be easy to remember.  She seems really nice.  Going into his classroom this morning was interesting and fun.  Last year when he started a lot of the kids weren't even really talking much yet.  This year they aren't toddlers- they're little kids.  Two of his old buddies from last year's class were there, and they were already having a very classic little boy discussion about how "poop" is a hilarious word.  Other kids were discussing their snacks and talking about their toys.  I'm excited for this year.  ;-)

Raylan's shirt says "Call My Own Shots".  This includes picking his own
outfit and shoes for the beginning of the new year.  Hahaha!!
Well, that's about it.  Have a good week!!

Monday, August 13, 2018


Hi!  Well, both Amy and I had very busy weeks at work this past week, but our weekend was pretty slow and uneventful.  Amy had a cold or some kind of bug during the week, and then I woke up feeling sick on Saturday.
I had planned on joining some friends for the Pride parade downtown Austin on Saturday, but in the end I wasn't feeling up to it.
So our weekend was pretty uneventful.  Amy took Raylan to the park on Saturday, and in the evening we went to the grocery store.
The weather kept threatening to rain all weekend, and we got a few brief showers, but not much rain in the end.

Raylan builds some garages for his Transformers on Saturday with Amy
Sunday we went out to breakfast.  Raylan played outside a bit, and in the afternoon Amy took him over to Mary and Chad's house to play with Truett.
I went to band practice in the evening.  It was just Jim and Reed and I.  It was good to go and get out of the house for a bit, and our music actually sounded pretty solid.

pre-lunch Sunday chillaxing
And that was about it for the weekend.  Pretty uneventful.
My folks are leaving for a two week trip to Europe this week.  I hope they have a really good time!
That's about it.
Hope everyone has a good week.

Sunday, August 05, 2018


Hi there!
We had another busy week here at out house.
On Tuesday evening we met up with Jaci, Josh, and Ginny, friends of ours who are currently living over in Bangkok, Thailand, for a couple of years for to a work assignment.  They were in town so Jaci could do some training, and since they were last living in Washington, D.C., before being sent overseas (Amy and I visited them there before Raylan was born), it was an especially rare treat to have them in two so we could visit them here on our home turf.
Since the time we had seen them last, Jaci and Josh had welcomed Ginny to the family, adopting her right before heading off to Thailand.
It was great to see Jaci and Josh and awesome to meet Ginny.  She's an adorable kiddo with a really fun personality.

Ginny wants to share the tablet.  Raylan isn't sure about
sharing the tablet.
We went out to dinner at Cane Rosso.  We had pizza, a drink, and a chance to catch up a bit.

Rylan wants to share the french fries.  Ginny isn't sure about
sharing the french fries.

Jaci, Ginny, and Josh- back from Thailand to make America
great again!  (or to flee back to Thailand until things get better)

Turn the statue on, Dad!  Turn it on!!!
So it was great to see their family.  They're good friends.  Hopefully we get to see them again sooner than later!
On Thursday my mom and dad took Raylan for the day and he stayed with them for two nights.
While he was staying with them at their house it sounded like he had a good time.
They all met up with my mom's old friend, Delores, and her grandkids at the Austin Pizza Garden.

Pizza and a playground?  This place is nuts!!

Friday night we went out to dinner with Emily, Joe, Shelly, and Kit at True Food Kitchen.  It was down in the new(ish) Seaholm District, and we had a nice dinner.  It was good to get a chance to talk to everyone, and the food was pretty good.
Afterward we went to an escape room called Lockout Austin.  I had never done a panic/escape room, and I was a little skeptical, but it ended up being a lot of fun.
During dinner, Emily had taken a poll of who we thought would be the best puzzle solvers our group.  Taking the safe route, I picked the three women.
I think I was mostly right.
The guys weren't necessarily bad at solving puzzles, but the whole thing is on a time crunch, and the women were much faster (as well as being good at solving the puzzles).
We were teamed up with four people that we didn't know, but they were nice (and also smart), and they were fun to work with.

Our victorious picture after solving the murder at the asylum!
Anyway, fun night out.
On Saturday Mom and Dad brought Raylan home, and we took him to Garrison Pool.
We had a fun tome swimming, as always.

That's Raylan and me under that tree (during life guard break)
On Saturday night we walked down to Central Market.  There was a jazz band playing, so we got have dinner at the cafe and listen to some live music.  It was nice.

One more bite of food and then I get to pick, gelato, right?
When we got home Raylan did some chalk drawing.  I know I'm biased, but I think the boy has got some serious skills for a three year old!

Race car.  With motion lines.  So you know it's fast.

Self portrait.  With blue eyes.  And a smile.  Because he's happy.  Right now.
On Sunday we played with trains and went to the grocery store and tried to take a nap.  We played in the back yard and filled up our pool.

Come one step closer, Dad!
Sunday evening I had a band practice with Reed, Jim, and Frank.  I brought my new acoustic 12 strong and played on that.  It sounded pretty good, although I'm still fine tuning it in terms of amplifying it through my amp while avoiding feedback.  It was a fun practice.

And that's about it.
I hope you guys have a nice week!