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.
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)
|(Mom, Dad, Terri, and Kirk)|
|The Lower Austin crew|
|(Jamie patiently sharing Raylan's interest in|
|(Too much time indoors makes Raylan and Amy |
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.