Monday, July 25, 2016


Howdy, loyal readers! (and yes, I can assume you are loyal because otherwise you wouldn't be reading this)
Hope everyone had a nice week and weekend.
Last week I was at the Advanced Criminal Law seminar in Dallas from Monday through Thursday.
Jean came into town to visit Amy and Raylan and to help out while I was gone.
Sounds like she was a big help, and Amy and Raylan had a good time visiting with her.
Advanced was fine.  I've been to that seminar a number  of times over the years, and, to be honest, at this point it all feels a little repetitive.  Still, it's a good refresher.  Also, of course, it gives me pretty much all of my Continuing Legal Education credits for the year.

This was my seminar cell... er...hotel room

Having a post-class beer at the bar next to our hotel
with Afton, Allison, and Dan

I don't mean to sound overly sentimental, but the hardest part about going to the seminar was being away from Amy and Raylan for the better part of a week.  That's the longest that I've been gone since Raylan was born, and when you're spending large parts of each day watching repetitive lectures of DWI laws, there's a lot of time for your mind to wander and wonder how your family is doing.  Amy kept asking me if I had gotten caught up on sleep, but I actually had a hard time sleeping in a random hotel room without them around (although I did sneak in at least one nice nap).
Anyway, it was nice to get back home.
Amy dropped Jean off at the airport on Thursday night.  Friday I went back to work.
Saturday we got up and Dad stopped by with a water/sand table for Raylan.  We put it together in the back yard before Dad left to do some car shopping with Ryan.  It was really nice of Mom and Dad to get us the table, and for Dad to deliver it and help put it together.

Just like at my office, there were always at least two supervisors sitting
around to make sure I didn't mess up

"If you guys could find a way to fill this thing with
crackers, cheese, and hotdogs, I think we might
really be onto something..."

After Dad left we went to see Big Don at Strange Brew.  Big Don does hip hop for kids.  His show was fun.  Raylan started out a little bit wary, but eventually really enjoyed it.  Katerina (from Amy's office), Logan, and J.R. were there.  Raylan wandered around and danced a little to the music.  He's also starting to interact more with other kids, which is funny to watch.  He really loved one little girl's flower dress, but I'm not sure she was overly impressed with his display of appreciation (which mostly involved pawing at her). 

Big Don brings fresh beats and a smooth flow to
the Lower Austin kiddie hip hop circuit
After Big Don and some lunch/nap time, Chad and Mary came over with Truett.  Raylan and Truett hung out in the back, swimming in the kiddie pool, playing in the sprinkler toy, and playing with the sand and water table (although Raylan showed more interest in that last part).

South Austin water park
When all of the adults got too hot, we hung out inside for a while.  The kids had fun playing with Raylan's toys (there were some quality moments in his tunnel), and we had a good time chatting and drinking a few beers.

Chad does a dramatic reading from one of
our toddler magazines
And that was Saturday.  We tried to go out for dinner, but Raylan was a little tired (i.e., cranky) by then, so we stayed home.
On Sunday I went grocery shopping while Amy did house and Raylan stuff.  In the afternoon Amy went and had some pool time with Emily and Shelly while I hung out with Raylan.  In the evening I went to band practice.  I played bass and did some recording with Frank, Eric, and Reed (Jim was out).
Then we ate some BBQ chicken tacos and delicious cookies that Amy had made.

And that was the weekend!
It went by fast, but it was good.

Hope you guys had a good one!





Sunday, July 17, 2016


Hey!  How is everyone?  
The news has been sort of crazy this weekend.  An attempted military coup in Turkey and another ambush of police, this time in Baton Rouge leaving 3 officers dead.  I'm in Dallas this week for a work seminar, and the local news stations here are still dealing with the killing of 5 Dallas police officers from July 7th.  Meanwhile, protests continue across the country following police shootings of black men.
It's been a violent, ugly summer.

Closer to home, we've been doing better.
We took Raylan to Bubblepalooza on Saturday morning at the Long Center.  There were balls and bubbles and parachutes to play with, and the Biscuit Brothers were performing.  We had a pretty good time, but it was hot (and especially humid).  We played around for about an hour before taking off.

We ran into Chad, Mary, and Truett at Bubblepalooza, and they invited us to hang out at their place later in the day.
So after Raylan's nap we piled into the car and headed over to East Austin for some front porch swimming pool fun.

It was a good time, and it was nice of them to have us over.  We got to drink a couple of beers and visit while Raylan and Truett played.  They seemed to have a lot of fun.

Afterwards we all went to The Triangle to Maudie's for dinner together.  It went pretty well.  Raylan, strangely, hasn't figured out how to use his molars yet well enough to eat tortillas.  He happily chews them, but they pop back out.  Weird.
Anyway, that was Saturday.  
On Sunday we did a little shopping, I packed for my trip to Dallas, and Amy picked up for her mom's visit.  We took turns watching Raylan.
Then in the afternoon my parents stopped by for a bit, and I hopped in the car and drove to Dallas.
That drive is awful (the construction and slowdowns are brutal),
Anyway, I'm here now, and I already miss Amy and Raylan.

Hope you guys have a good week!





Monday, July 11, 2016


Hey! The weekend was good, but, man, did it go by fast!

Well, first of all, we got to see Frank and Suk Hi Ross this week, which was a nice surprise.  They were visiting Texas from Vegas to see our family and some of their friends from their military days.  it was good to see them and catch up.  I really like to spend time with them, and I'm glad they got to meet Amy.  We only got to see them for lunch, because of our crazy schedule during the work week, but I'm glad that we got to connect.
What else?
Friday night we ate some Indian food and watched Ant-Man.  Amy did not love Ant-Man.  I found it mildly humorous and enjoyable, although it was not, as I initially maintained to Amy after viewing it, the best movie I had ever seen.  Still, it gave me some chuckles.  Amy was right, though, I think when she said that it felt like a movie that wasn't sure what it wanted to be.  It sort of shifted back and forth between comedy and straight up superhero action movie, and perhaps as a consequence, it wasn't extremely compelling as either.
Still, it was lighthearted and fun.  I enjoyed Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas, and Michael Peña (who was especially hilarious).
On Saturday morning I got us some breakfast tacos, and then we took Raylan to his Little Gym class.  He seemed to really enjoy it.  He was better at engaging with the group activities this week, and he loves walking on the balance beam (with a little help) and rolling and playing with balls and bubbles (less excited about the parachute games, but maybe they'll grow on him).
After class we played at the house for a while.

(Raylan and Amy make some art with window crayons.
This way the yard will look different every day when Raylan
looks at it through the windows.)

(Raylan and Amy listening to a CD and singing along.
Raylan has been going to a music class with my mom on Thursdays,
and the materials are from the class.  He seemed to recognize
some of the music.)

On Saturday night my parents did some babysitting and took Raylan out to Steiner Ranch. 
We got to go out to dinner, so we joined Ryan and Jamie for dinner at Guantanamera, a Cuban restaurant down near us in South Austin.
We had a nice evening with them.  It was good to catch up and see what  they were up to.  I guess Ryan is in Boston this week for a work trip, with upcoming trips to Oklahoma and maybe Dallas on the schedule, so we have to catch up with them when we can.
On Sunday we got up, and Mom and Dad dropped Raylan off back at our house.  We scooped him up and took him to go see our friends Shelly and Kit for breakfast.  We attempted to go to Snooze, a new breakfast place on South Lamar, but the crowd of people trying to get into that place was insane.  The parking lot of packed full, and there was a line of cars that backed up out onto South Lamar with people just trying to get in.  For what appears to be (judging by the web site) standard breakfast food.
But the place is new and has a buzz.
And this town is tragically hip.
Anywayz, we blew it off and went to Kerbey Lane.  We had good food and good service (from a waitress who seemed to be taking her fashion cues from Batman's Harley Quinn).  It was fun to hang out with Shelly and Kit.  Raylan had a good time, too.

("Who left this hat on the table?")

("You get me, Shelly.  You really get me...")

After breakfast we mostly hung out at the house. Raylan took a nap and then played in the yard in his pool.  Amy and I both exercised.
In the evening I grilled some fajitas for dinner.  Amy made guacamole to go with them.
Afterward we watched Mr. Robot.  It's a pretty good show.  Computer hackers waging a war against the modern, corrupt, corporate overlords.  But our main character is mentally ill.  And a bit of a drug addict.  Yeah, it's good, but a little bleak.
But good.

("Dad, I wanna help you grill, but they got me in
bloomers, Dad.  BLOOMERS!!"

And that was pretty much the weekend.  It went by way too fast. 
I will vote for any president who promises to try to create a three day weekend every week.  God help me, if that was a key component of Donald Trump's platform, I might have to consider-
I'm gonna stop there.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

July 4th Weekend

Hey!  Hope everyone had a good Independence Day weekend!  Ours was sorta low key, but good.
On Friday morning Amy and I took Raylan to his class at The Little Gym.  It went pretty well, although now that Raylan's familiar with the place and recognizes the equipment, he seems more interested in wandering around and exploring as opposed to participating in the group activities.  We tried to gently keep him engaged as best we could, though.
Saturday afternoon Raylan got his hair cut for the second time in his life.
(enjoying a post-haircut ice water)
It went pretty well.  We just went to the Great Clips by our house, but the ladies there doted on him, and he only freaked out a little bit.  Mission accomplished!

On Sunday we got up and went out for breakfast at Kerbey Lane.
("The patterns!  This means something...")
Afterward we went to Target to do some shopping.
("But I don't want to buy things that are gonna just go out of style right
away.  You know what I mean, Mom?")
When we got home we played in the yard.  Raylan got a sprinkler toy at Target (actually picked it out himself), so we played in the water a bit.
Raylan loves to push this cart.  I'm trying to come up with a way to monetize
this hobby.  I'm pretty sure people would buy food if sold out of a cart by an
enthusiastic,sweaty toddler.
"This is your new sprinkler toy, Raylan.  I know it will probably take you
weeks to get used to it-"
On Saturday night Amy made a really good dinner of mushroom-tomatillo enchiladas.  Yum!

On Sunday we went to Mom and Dad's place.  Amy and I went to the pool for a little while.  Raylan hung out with Grandma and Grandpa.  Mom and Dad were kind enough to feed us some salmon, pasta salad, fruit, etc..  Amy made fruit pizza and brought it with for dessert.
We had a really nice time.  It always feels good to go over to their house and just have another set of hands to help with our little whirling dervish.  Sort of allows us to relax a bit.

The kid loves books.  And Grandma.  So this works for him.
A new generation takes part in the annual Steans tradition of
decorating Indy, the Independence Day Bear.

On Monday, July 4th, Raylan and Dad let Amy sleep in a little bit.  We got up early and ate breakfast, and then we used some window crayons (recently purchased at Target) to make some art on our windows.  Raylan seemed to really enjoy the colors.  We played with sidewalk chalk a little bit in the driveway, went for a little buggy ride, and when Amy got up, we all went to the park.  Raylan had a good time going down the slide and playing soccer with his ball under the covered shade area.
It was hot on the 4th, but it was unusually breezy, which made the heat more tolerable.
We played in the yard again with the sprinkler toy, and with a toy pool.
"Mom, lately I have not always been loving my baths, but somehow
this is completely different..."


In the evening we grilled some hotdogs (as required by law on the 4th) and Amy made some really tasty corn salad.  Also a few tater tots.
After dinner we relaxed and watched fireworks on TV.  We could hear fireworks going off in the neighborhood, but none of them sounded too loud or close.
We were all worn out and went to bed early.

Hope you guys had a good 4th!