Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Memorial Day

Hey! How's it going? Hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day weekend! 
Amy and I had the second half of last week off from work for vacation.  We had planned a trip to Tullum, Mexico, a month ago, but then we cancelled it because it looked like it was going to rain the whole time that we were gonna be down there.  We rescheduled it for a month, but by the time the trip rolled around this time we just had a hard time leaving Raylan behind for a week, so we ended up cancelling it again.  It might sound weird that we had planned to go on the trip a month earlier and then ended up cancelling, but, as crazy as it sounds, during that one month timeframe Raylan really became more aware of his surroundings and of the people coming and going out of his daily life.  Suddenly he started calling out to us when we showed up to pick him up from daycare and running over to greet us.  He started watching us leave and sometimes waving goodbye to us when we left.
Basically, suddenly we felt like we were going to be missed in a way that probably wouldn't have been as much of an issue the month before.
So we stayed in Austin, took time off work, and had a staycation.
And it was fun!
Raylan still spent a couple of days with my parents, so Amy and I still got to do some grownup stuff, and we both got a needed break from work.
On Wednesday we played with Raylan for a lot of the day.  I know I read him a lot of books.  He demands books these days.  To be honest, I'm not sure what we did on Wednesday.  But we did not work.
On Thursday my mom and dad came and picked up Raylan in the morning.  Amy and I went to the gym and ran some errands and went to see The Jungle Book.  We both really enjoyed it.  It was a fun movie.  Definitely a worthy successor to the animated version that I remember watching as a kid.
On Thursday night we went out for dinner at a restaurant called aRoma Italian Kitchen on South Lamar.  Dinner was good!  The restaurant was nice, the food was tasty, and the service was good.  They have wood fired pizzas and other Italian foods along with a pretty respectable wine and beer selection.  We had a nice evening there.

(I love Raylan, but you know what you don't get
with a toddler around?  This!!)

On Friday we ran some errands during the day, exercised, and relaxed.  I got to play my guitar for a little while.  Amy worked on some needlepoint while I went to see Captain America: Civil War.
I enjoyed it.  It was basically a fun action-adventure, popcorn flick, but the plot, centered around who should shoulder the responsibility and blame when superhuman battles inflict sizable collateral casualties, was grounded enough to keep the movie from devolving into a completely ridiculous superhero joyride.
Friday night we went to see B.J. Barnum at Strange Brew.  Barnum is the lead singer of American Aquarium, a band I had previously seen at SXSW and at one of the smaller stages at ACL Fest.
For the Strange Brew show he played a solo, acoustic singer-songwriter set, playing a bunch of tunes from a solo record that he plans to release later this summer, mixed in with some American Aquarium songs more typically plays with the band.

BJ Barnum

The show was good!  Barnum's new album, and much of his music in general, deals with the trials and tribulations of working class life as a Southerner in modern America.  He's good at conjuring up images and evoking emotion.  He kind of reminds me of Bruce Springsteen with a bit of North Carolina twang.
Anyway, the show was really good.  The music was good, and Barnum was a funny, engaging performer.

("While Mom and Dad were on vacation, I had my own vacation at the
ranch house with Grandma and Grandpa!")

On Saturday we went out to Steiner Ranch to pick up Raylan.  We also took him to the pool.  He'd been to a pool before, but last summer he was so little that he didn't really know what was going on.  This summer he loved it.  We were a little afraid that the water would be too cold or that he would be freaked out by the bigger kids or whatever, but- nope.  He wanted to play in the water and on the splash pad and in the kid pool.  The family pool in Steiner Ranch near my parents' house is really nice, and it has all kids of features for kids.  Raylan had a blast.  The water was a little bit cold after the recent rains, but he wanted to stay in- up to and beyond the point where his lips started to turn blue.

("Mom, are you seeing this?!")

Mom and Dad took Raylan back to their house once he was worn out, and Amy and I got to hang out at the pool by ourselves for a little while.  Afterward we went back to their house and had a really nice dinner of salmon burgers, corn, salad, etc.  Thanks so much to Mom and Dad!
Saturday night we watched an episode of Silicon Valley.

On Sunday we ran some errands.  We took Raylan to the store with us.  In the afternoon, Jamie and Ryan came over and we headed over to Doc's, a beer and burgers place near our house that has a big playground out back.  We got to take turns watching Raylan and taking him to the playground while visiting with Ryan and Jamie.  It was fun.  It was nice to see them.  Seems like it had been a while.
Later in the afternoon we played in the backyard a bit.

("I'm back at the fancy pool!  I'm back at the fancy pool!!")

Sunday night we watched Jupiter Ascending.  Having read the reviews when it was released, I was prepared for a total train wreck.  Instead, I thought it was just a mediocre science fiction movie with some good ideas, amazing visuals, and an inability to deliver on its potential.  I actually liked the overall plot (featuring a wealthy, space-dwelling aristocracy that seeds planets with humans so that they can later be harvested in order to produce life-prolonging materials).  The writers mostly failed by way of dialogue, character development, and a compulsion to hastily and overzealously explain every potentially wondrous thing in the movie.  With some relatively minor tweaks, this could have been a classic.  Instead it sort of fell flat.
On Monday it rained in the morning.  In the afternoon we went back out to Steiner Ranch and went to the pool.  Once again, Raylan liked it.  More kicking, laughing, smiling, and playing.  The weather was nice, which was amazing, given that we had woken up to a morning of storms.
Monday night we watched Game of Thrones while Raylan slept.  It was good.

And that was the staycation!  It was fun.  It was actually really nice to have time off from work without having to deal with the hassle of travelling somewhere, packing, unpacking, etc.  Also, we got spend time with Raylan, my folks, and Ryan and Jamie. 
We had a nice, relaxing time.

Now... back... to... work...

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!