Monday, September 18, 2017


Things have been pretty good over at our house.  It's nice to not have anyone sick for a change (BIG knock on wood).
Last week we had a meet and greet with the parents and teacher in Raylan's class at school (Amy and I are class parents for this year- because, ya know, we were bored and didn't have enough going on).
It was good to meet the parents and put names with faces.
On Wednesday we did another foster parent training at Upbring.  The training was pretty good, but probably could have been a little shorter.  There was a couple there who have had 14 foster placements in their home, so they had some good practical advice to share with everyone.
On Thursday Grandma and Papa took Raylan for the day so he could go to swim lessons an whatnot.  When Amy and I got home from work we all went to Phil's Icehouse so we could eat some dinner and let Raylan play on the playground.

People who say toddlers won't eat vegetables are crazy.
French fries are made out of potatoes.  Which are a vegetable.
I think.
I don't really remember what we did Friday night.  Sometime last week Amy and I watched a movie called Sing Street about a group of high school kids in Ireland who start a band.  It was sort of a coming of age story told through the framework of 1980's kids in a garage band.  It was pretty good.  We enjoyed it.  So maybe we watched that on Friday night.
On Saturday we got up and went out for breakfast and ran some errands.
We went to Home Depot, and there was a lady in the store who was playing a harp (inexplicably, she was also selling inspections for A/C units) as well as a therapy horse (miniature variety) in the parking lot.  Raylan also got to ride in a race car shopping cart.
I think Raylan's expectations have been artificially raised in terms of future trips to Home Depot.

"Dad, if you move the cart a little closer, I think I can get
right onto this horse."
Amy had purchased a new grill for us online, which was delivered earlier this week.  On Saturday I finally got around to putting it together.  The assembly was a little more involved than I had anticipated...

By the time I'm done we'll either have a new grill or a fantastic piece
of yard art.
On Saturday night I went over to Ryan's house (Jamie was out of town, visiting Heather Wagner) and watched the UT-USC game.  UT ended up losing the game, but it was a hard fought battle, with the game going into double overtime.
Given the fact that I had gone into the game thinking that we were probably going to get blown out by 20 or more points, I was actually pretty happy with the result.  Our 18 year old, true freshman quarterback, Sam Ehlinger, showed a lot of grit, recovering from mistakes to make big plays and appearing to read the USC defense better and better as the game progressed.
If he can maintain that level of play consistently, and if UT's defense and offensive line can continue to demonstrate the skill that they showed in the USC game, we're gonna be okay.

On Sunday Amy attended a dual baby shower that she helped to plan and put on for her friends Shelly and Emily.  The shower was at her friend Heather's house in Hyde Park.
So it was, at least in part, a Raylan and Dad day.
Raylan and I headed over to Uncle Ryan's house to help him move some furniture out to the curb for bulk trash day.
Raylan also got to see Ryan's dogs, Scout and Lucy, and play with a few of Ryan's toy- erm.... collectibles!  I think that Uncle Ryan's house is rapidly becoming a place of mystery and wonder in Raylan's toddlerbrain.

Raylan correctly pointed out that this helmet would probably protect
his head when he was flying his spaceship.
After moving furniture, Raylan, Ryan, and I went to La Posada for lunch.  We had a good time.

It also sounds like the baby shower went well!  Sounded like people were happy with it.
Emily, Amy, and Shelly

I took Raylan home and put him down for a nap.
Amy eventually came home with lots of leftover party goodies.

In the evening I went to band practice.  It was just Reed and Frank and I, but we had a good time and sounded pretty good.

And that was the weekend!  I hope everyone had a nice one!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution

Just wanted to write a quick post about this book that I read while I was sick.
I enjoyed it.
Nathaniel Philbrick did a good job of bringing the historical figures to life.
He also did a good job of depicting some of the subtlety and nuance of the political climate as the American colonists struggled their way toward a war of independence.  (In addition to the fact that many loyalists continued to support the British government entirely in the run up to the revolution, even those in the burgeoning patriot movement were initially interested only in gaining a greater degree of liberty while ultimately remaining loyal to the king.  The problem was not with King George III, the misguided theory went, but with a corrupt Parliament which refused to share the King's empathy, wisdom, and respect for his colonial subjects.)
At any rate, Philbrick paints the British Governors, generals, and leaders in an almost sympathetic light, suggesting that the shifting, and sometimes unreasonable, demands of the patriots were almost impossible to satisfy, especially given the fact that, in the end, conflict- of one fashion or another- was what many of the patriot leaders truly desired.
Incessant correspondence on the part of the various historical figures helps to flesh them out as characters, and lends veracity to Philbrick's depictions of character.
At any rate, I enjoyed it.  It took events that I had (scarcely) learned about in a dry, historical context and brought them to life.


Monday, September 11, 2017


Hi! So after a sort of rough month of August (with Raylan, Amy, and myself all getting sick), we had a pretty nice weekend.
I went back to work on Friday after having been out the rest of the week (two doctors visits, two different prescription for antibiotics, and some chest x-rays in between).
On Saturday we had some tree trimming done, which ended up taking up a lot of the day.
We have a lot of trees in our yard, which is great for beating the heat during Texas summers, but they require a certain amount of maintenance or they just get out of control.

We got to watch UT beat San Jose State by a score of 56 to 0.  I'm not sure that Texas really proved a whole lot by beating up on San Jose State, but if they had lost, that would have been an extraordinarily bad omen, so we were happy to see them win.  Also, Sam Ehlinger was able to demonstrate an ability to successfully execute plays during an actual game, and Chris Warren III showed an ability to run the football, so that was nice to see.  Amy made queso for the game.  Yum.

On Saturday evening we went out to my parents' house to celebrate Uncle Donald's birthday.  It was good to see him and spend time with the rest of the family.  Mom, Dad, Jamie, Ryan, Donald, Susan, Marlene and Tom Leigh, and Susan's friend, Lindsey were all there for dinner.
We had salmon burgers and sausages and cake and ice cream.

"A party AND a Longhorn game?!"
"Mom, it's cake!  Are you seeing the cake?!?!"

Lindsey, Donald, and Susan have some cake

On Sunday we went out to breakfast and then went to the zoo.  We had some really nice weather this weekend, so it seemed like a good day for it.

"Oh hello, goats!!"

Chad, Mary, and Truett met us at the zoo.  Raylan was insanely excited to see them.  He couldn't stop running around.  Raylan has a tendency to wander off (i.e., run away) when we're at the zoo, so it was good to have Truett there, since Raylan didn't want to lose sight of him.  Truett seemed happy to see Raylan, too, although he was perhaps slightly daunted by Raylan's chaotic hyperactivity (which was not at all inappropriate).

On the train with Cahd, Mary, and Truett

"Truett, you're aware that if you see a bench, chair, or other
elevated object, it's important to get on top of it as soon
as possible, right?"

The rest of Sunday mostly involved running a few errands and getting some exercise while Raylan got a nap.
We played outside a bit.  Sidewalk chalk art and playing on Fort Raylan.

Then we had dinner and a bath and went to bed.  Amy did some stitching in the evening.

And that was the weekend!
It was nice.  Lots of outside time and open windows, enjoying the beautiful weather.

Have a good week!

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Labor Day Update

Hey!  I'm gonna keep this one pretty short.  I started feeling sick Thursday afternoon, and by a Thursday night I had a fever.
I went to a clinic, and they prescribed me some antibiotics.
I missed work Friday, and was home and feeling funky the whole weekend.
Amy took care of Raylan.  They went to the park a couple of times, but mostly just hung out around the house.
I'm still home sick today, and I've got another doctor appointment this afternoon.
Thanks to Amy for bearing with me and for taking care of Raylan.  I definitely wasn't much help.
Have a good week!

By the way, Raylan loves the Curious George Halloween story.  Except he gets scared of the ghost.  Who is actually just Curious George in a tablecloth....


Raylan selfie:


Monday, August 28, 2017

Update; Hurricane Harvey

Hi! So our week has been sort of weird.

Here's a picture of Raylan attacking the caterpillar version of his mother.  That's Raylan's caterpillar tunnel, and he was amused when Amy got in it, but he also clearly wanted his tunnel back.

"You're hilarious, Mom!
Now get out."
We also had a water pipe break under our street this week, which required a city repair crew to come out and fix the street.  Raylan went crazy when he saw a dump truck and a backhoe pull up in front of the house.  The kid is bonkers for construction vehicles.  He was out in the front yard, hanging on the fence and jumping up and down with excitement.
I asked the guys if we could take a closer look, and they actually let us climb up into the cab of the backhoe and honk the horn.
Our water repair line guys became celebrities that day.
Our water was turned off that night, but back on by morning.

Raylan was sort of overwhelmed when we actually got to climb up
into the backhoe.
Too real!!!
This weekend Hurricane Harvey blew into Texas.  What a disaster for all of the people on the Texas Gulf Coast.  Houston is still flooding as I write this, and Rockport and Port Aransas have suffered massive, massive damage.
Amy was actually supposed to fly out to visit her family in Arizona this weekend, but her flight was cancelled, and she had to re-book it.
The news reports were saying we could have wind gusts up to 60 or 70 miles per hour.  Fearing the likelihood of a power outage (our lines are on poles in a tree-filled neighborhood) and the possibility that we could have tree damage to our house, we packed up and went out to my parents' house (with fewer large trees and underground power lines).
The storm was pretty intense, even in Austin.  The wind was howling and whistling its way around my parents' house for at least two days, and the trees in the valley below their place were whipping back and forth in the wind.  The rainfall wasn't too bad.  It was fairly steady, and the wind had it blowing in sheets, but it wasn't heavy enough to accumulate in dangerous, floodish ways.
We spent a lot of time reading, watching TV, and playing with Raylan.  Mom made us some good food, and we all kept an eye on the weather, worrying about people that we know in Houston.

Amy got in some much appreciated stitching time.
Amy woke up not feeling very well at my parents' house on Sunday.  We decided to head home, but leave Raylan with Mom and Dad so we could get some errands done before they brought him back to our house.
By the time we got home, though, Amy was feeling even worse.  She took her temperature and it was 101.  I ran to the grocery store to pick up some food, and by the time I got back her fever had climbed to 103.
Our house seems like it fared okay, mostly.  We had a couple of sort of medium-small tree limbs on the roof, but, astonishingly, the power never even went out (our power regularly goes out in even small storms, so I was sort of amazed by this).

Mostly the grocery store was the same as usual, but there were a few things
people had been stocking up on for the storm.
Raylan stayed with Mom and Dad Sunday night.  He's still there today.
Amy is still sick, but went to the doctor this morning.  She woke up with a fever.  The practitioner thought she had the same infection that gave Raylan pneumonia, and he gave her antibiotics.

Raylan is still with my folks.
I'm not clear on exactly what they're up to, but they're sending us occasional photos...

"Grandma, we're on the Fun Train!!!"

So that's us, at the moment.
August has been sort of a weird month.  A dental surgery, two family members with pneumonia, a hurricane, a couple of water outages on our street, and a lot of busy-ness with foster care trainings.
It's just been a little wacky.
Life is good, and especially after watching coverage of all the Harvey damage, I certainly don't want to complain, but I wouldn't mind if things would slow down for a beat!

Hope everyone is doing okay.
Our thoughts are with those impacted by the storm.  Stay safe!

Sunday, August 20, 2017


Well, it's been kind of a crazy week at our house.  In my last post I mentioned that Raylan had developed a bit of a fever.  Welllll... it was really hard to get it to go away.
Amy and I took turns with him at home on Monday, and Amy took him to a nearby clinic in the afternoon.  They checked his ears and looked him over and decided that he probably had a virus, and it would just run its course within a day or two.  He wasn't acting super sick or anything (just a little coughing from time to time), so we weren't too worried.
By Wednesday his fever was pretty much unchanged, though, so I took him in to see his regular doctor, Dr. Grady.
Turns out he had pneumonia.
So he got put on antibiotics.
Anyway, he was away from preschool all week, with Amy, Mom, dad, and myself taking turns with him.
Most of the time he didn't act all that sick.  Maybe a little mellow, but, honestly, he's seemed worse before when he had a cold.  Weird.

"Sure, I've got pneumonia, and I've been putting this plastic doughnut in
my mouth.... but I don't see any reason why you wouldn't want
to play with it, too!"
Anyway, by Saturday he was doing better.  We took him to the library and played with him around the house.  We went to the grocery store and the book store.
In the evening we went to dinner at Abuelo's to celebrate my Dad's birthday (which is actually on Monday, the 21st- which happens to be a total eclipse day this year).
We had a nice dinner.  Jamie made a really good chocolate cake.  It was fun to hang out, and the food was good.

Happy birthday, Dad!

Sunday we took care of some chores and ran a few errands.

Cleaning off the sidewalk so we can make new drawings.
We also took Raylan to the Garrison Pool on Sunday.  It made him really happy.  He'd been sort of trapped in the house for the last week while he was sick, so he was really excited to go to the pool and splash around.

The endless fascination with drains and filters continues.
After the pool we stopped by Dairy Queen for some ice cream cones.  Other from that, I went and had band practice with Reed, but that was about it.  We had a good practice.
So that's all!
Raylan is back to school this week, and since the Child Development Center runs on the same schedule as the Austin Independent School District, he's got a "new" class as he falls into fall (although he has the same teacher and a few of the same classmates that he had this summer).

I can't believe we're headed into fall!

Hope everyone has a good week.

Monday, August 14, 2017


Hi!  Hope you're doing well.
Things have been a little busy/crazy at our house.  My Mom and Dad got back from their trip to Scandinavia, Russia, and Northern Europe this week.  They traveled with our family friends, Rick and Peggy Magsig.  It sounds like it was a really good trip.  They met up with some family members in Sweden who are cousins to my mom through my grandfather on her side of the family.  It sounds like they were nice people, and it was an interesting visit.  I still haven't seen pictures, but I'm looking forward to it.
My parents took Raylan to his swim lesson on Thursday.  He got some new goggles.


Friday night we went out to dinner at La Posada and watched TV.
Amy and I are in the process of trying to become foster parents, and on Saturday we went to a training for most of the day at Upbring (formerly Lutheran Social Services).  It was an informative training, and we met some good folks.
Raylan spent the night with Grandma and Papa, so on Saturday night we met some friends for dinner at The Beer Plant.  We had dinner with Emily and Joe and Kit and Shelly.  Both couples are expecting babies, so we jokingly had been referring to out meet up as "The Last Supper".  (In truth, we're hoping to meet up again once or twice before the kiddos arrive.)
Anyway, we had a really nice dinner.  Good food and a good time.  It was good to see the gang.
Raylan had woken up a few times the night before, though, so we hadn't gotten a lot of sleep Friday night.  After the training all day and the dinner (with a few beers) I was tired.
On Sunday we did some grocery shopping and errands before Raylan got home.

"Grandma tells me that all of the kids in Finland dress like this, Dad,
but I don't know..."
On Sunday evening I went to band practice.  I got a text from Amy that Raylan wasn't feeling very well and had a fever, so I came home a little early.

Raylan had a fever, and Amy and I ended up staying home with him the next day (I took the morning, and Amy took the afternoon).  Amy took him to the doctor, and the doctor suspected a virus.

Sick?  Who's sick?

And so that was the weekend, Raylan is still a little sick.  He seems to be in pretty good spirits, but he still has a bit of a fever.  Hopefully it goes away soon.

That's it!  Have a good week!!