Monday, September 25, 2017


Hello!  We had a pretty nice, but sort of low key weekend.
We have a lot of stuff coming up in October (and November, for that matter), so our general plan was to try to take it sort of easy.
Friday was the first day of fall, so I got in a long-overdue bike ride to work.  It wasn't too hot, but it was a little muggy in the morning.  (Notice the low-hanging clouds that are obscuring the tops of the buildings in the picture below).
(South First Street Bridge)
On Saturday morning we got up and went out to breakfast at Kerbey Lane.  As usual, when we were leaving Raylan insisted that the whole family sit together for a moment on the benches out front.  I'm not sure why he always does this.  The boy loves a good bench.

Saturday was pretty laid back. We played outside with Raylan a bit.  We worked on learning how to pedal that tricycle (he's getting there, but pedaling is still a little tricky).  We did some art.
I went to the grocery store.
Amy and I got exercise.
In the afternoon we went to Costco.
We had salmon burgers for dinner and went to Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone.

"Oh my gosh, I love ice cream.  I can eat this ice cream cone even better
with this spoon.  I don't know why no one else eats them this wa-"

"You gotta be real careful when you eat an ice cream cone with a
spoon, Mom...."
Saturday night we watched some more of the Ken Burns documentary, The Vietnam War.  It's a good documentary.  We're only a couple of episodes in, but I've already learned a lot of things that I never knew about the events that led up to the war.  I look forward to talking to my dad (who's a Vietnam vet) about it.

Sunday got sort of mucked up a bit by the dead car battery situation.  I initially thought that I could just buy a new battery and swap it out, but the guy in the battery department at Pep Boys told me he thought I ought to have my alternator checked before putting a new battery in (because my car was pretty new to already have a dead battery).  I ended up taking my car into a Firestone service center on Sunday, and the alternator turned out to be okay.
I guess the battery that came with the car just wan't a great battery.
Anyway, there was some maneuvering (and toddler wrangling) to get the car to the mechanic and to pick it up again.  It wasn't a huge deal, but it made the day a little bit more complicated than we'd planned.
We still got to work out and do some stuff.
Raylan got up a little late from his nap in the afternoon.
We weren't sure what to do with him, but we wanted to get out of the house for like an hour or two.
We ended up taking him to place called Hoppin' House over in the Brodie Oaks Shopping Center.
Hoppin' House is just a big retail space that someone has filled with inflatable bounce houses and soft, indoor kids' playgroung equipment.
When we first got there Raylan seemed sort of nervous and apprehensive.  It seemed like we might have spent a little money to watch Raylan refuse to go into any of the bounce houses.
Eventually Amy climbed up into one, though, and sort of showed him how it worked.  He started playing with some other kids after watching what they were doing, and eventually he started to really enjoy it.

"You can bounce AND crawl through a tunnel?!"
A couple of the bounce houses had climbing walls with handholds for kids to climb up and then go down slides.  At first Raylan couldn't figure out how to climb up, and he kept falling back down.  He got frustrated, but he didn't give up, and I have to admit that I was proud of him when he finally figured out how to climb some of the walls and reach the top.  It wasn't that big a deal to climb the wall, necessarily, but I was happy to see him stick with something that started out being a little scary until he figured out how to do it and started enjoying it.

The long climb.

Enjoying the vista from the summit.

The graceful descent.

The graceful descent continues.


Anyway, Raylan ended up really loving Hoppin' House. He played until he was sweaty and winded.   By the end, we literally had to carry him out of there (while he yelled, "Raylan needs to stay at Hoppin' House!!!!").

In the evening I went to band practice.  We were all there.  Decent practice.

And that was the weekend!  It was nice.  Hope everyone has a good week.

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: