Sunday, October 28, 2018

Anniversary Weekend

Well, hello!
Last weekend Raylan ended up in the ER with breathing problems, and then he was at home for a good part of this week, with Amy and I taking care of him on Monday, and my mom taking care of him on Tuesday and for most of Wednesday.
On Wednesday Amy and I had a meeting at our house with our new caseworker from our foster agency and her supervisor.  It was scheduled to be a relatively routine home visit to just check in, doing a quick home inspection, and make sure that we were up to date on everything.  Without a child currently placed in our home, we thought it would be relatively quick and uneventful.
And the actual home visit did, in fact, go well and was pretty routine.  When our caseworker asked us what questions or concerns that we had, the only thing that we expressed was that we just hadn't been getting any calls for placement.  We asked if there was anything else we could do to help facilitate a placement, and we were told to just be patient- that these things go in cycles.  We'd been keeping up with our training classes and whatnot, but we hadn't had any calls about a child since July.
Well, we said our goodbyes, and there was a knock on the front door a minute later.
I looked around, assuming one of them had forgotten a phone or a purse or something.
Instead, they had just gotten a call from CPS about a little girl in need of a placement.
We spoke with them for a few moments and quickly agreed.

A couple of hours later, we had a little foster daughter in our home who is about a year and a half old.

We are really happy to have her (truly, truly happy), but we had been planning to leave for vacation the following day for an anniversary trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  My mom and dad had been scheduled to care for Raylan, and we were planning to fly out Friday and return sort of late on Monday.  Instead, we quickly cancelled the trip, and started scrambling to get situated with our new little girl.  We had to arrange a doctor's visit, set up daycare, shop for some toddler supplies, get some little girl clothes, and get our new kiddo adjusted to life with our family.

We're not allowed to do anything to give away her identity on the internet, so I'm blurring her face out and I'm not going to use her name.  Maybe I'll have to eventually giver a fake name.  Or just call her Kiddo.
But she's very sweet.

Raylan really seems to like her.  He gets a little jealous for parental attention, but he doesn't seem to take it out on her, really.  If anything, he seems a bit annoyed with us.
He's doing extremely well, though, all things considered.
Our little girl was in a bit of shock for about the first day and a half after she got to our house.  She didn't move or make many sounds at all during that time.
Then she started crawling and walking (while holding onto things) and babbling and laughing.

On Friday we met up with Raylan to his fall festival at his school (it was at the end of the school day, so he was already there).  Grandma and Papa came, too.

Raylan makes Halloween art while Grandma, the Kiddo, and Amy look on

After the fall festival we walked over to El Mercado and all had dinner together.  It was nice.

Another benefit of our cancelled trip was that we were able to make it to Spencer's first birthday party at Ramsey Park!  It was a lot of fun.
Raylan had a blast eating cake and playing on the playground.  Our little girl was a little shy, but eventually warmed up to people and seemed to have a good time.
Kit and Shelly put on a nice party.  They may have set the bar a little high for future events, but at least Spencer won't remember this one!  ;-)
Amy, Raylan, Kit, and Spencer show off their Halloween birthday spirit!
On da slide!

Raylan decorated this birthday party pumpkin all by himself!

our little girl, having fun on the infant slide
Saturday evening we were going to go out to an anniversary dinner, and Mom and Dad were going to babysit.
I got a call while I was taking a quick bike ride, though (a substitute for going to the gym), and Mom had tripped over a plant while she was out for a walk with Dad.  She banged herself up pretty badly, and ended up having to go to the ER to go get checked out.
It was sort of a scary deal.
It turns out that she is mostly okay, but she has some bad bruises and soreness, and had to get a glue suture on her eyebrow.
Given that she hit her head, though, things could have been much worse, and we're all just glad she's (mostly) okay!

So Saturday night was pizza and a little bit of beer.  Amy and I were okay with the fact that we were celebrating our birthday at home, taking care of Raylan and our new little girl.
It felt right.

On Sunday we got up and went out to breakfast at Kerbey Lane and then played around in the back yard a bit.

Raylan sharpens his big brothering skills by handing out some high fives

Good times!
Sunday evening we met Mom and Dad out at their church, Triumphant Love, for their Trunk or Treat event.  Raylan wore his Batman Costume (he picked it out himself, and it sort of looks like the old Adam West outfit).  People had their cars decorated, and they were handing out candy.  Lots of kids were there and dressed up.  Some high school kids had a live band.  They had food and drinks.  And Raylan got to play on the playground until he was all sweaty.
Everyone was friendly.
It was a good time!

He's the hero Austin deserves...

Is that candy over there?

Trick or treating or trunk or treating:  Raylan can figure out the
mechanics so long as there's candy involved
And that was our weekend.  
A little different than the one we had planned, but a good one, nonetheless.

We're still sort of getting settled in with our foster daughter, but she's really cute and sweet, and we love having her here.  She's a joy to have around.

That's it for now!

Have a great week.

Monday, October 22, 2018


Well, it's been a sort of wild ride at our house, lately, and in Austin, in general.  We've had a lot of rain over the last few weeks.  The Hill Country has had even more.  Central Texas even made the national news as heavy rains up near the Highland Lakes filled waterways to capacity, flooding out homes, bridges, and roads.  The water has been moving downstream, and now it's worked it's way into Lake Travis, Lake Austin, and Ladybird Lake.  Our water treatment system is failing under the strain caused by the sediment and debris from the flooding.

A picture of Ladybird Lake from the Lamar bridge on Thursday.  Note that
the trees along the shore and near the bridge are half submerged.
Friday night we went out to Bombay Bistro for some Indian food.

On Saturday we went over to Mom and Dad's for lunch.  Uncle Bob and Aunt Linda were in town, so we got to catch up with them and spend some time. It was really good to see them!  As usual, Raylan enjoyed the family get together.

Amy, Mom, dad, Raylan, Linda, Bob, and me in the back
We got home from their house and ran a couple of quick errands.  Raylan got some new jeans, and got to sit in a tree in the shopping center...

Giddyup, oak!
Unfortunately, we got back from running errands, and at some point we realized that Raylan felt warm.  He ended up having a fever.  he ate a little dinner and went to bed.

Sometime around 9:00 he made a weird noise from his room.  Amy went to check on him, and he was having a really hard time breathing.  He couldn't talk, and his chest was heaving.  We went in the bathroom and turned on the shower to get some steam, but it didn't help much and he got sick to his stomach.  The whole time he was making a really bad wheezing sound, crying, and struggling to catch his breath.

We ended up putting him in the car, and since it was relatively late on a Saturday night, nothing was open except a standalone Emergency Room by our house.

We got him their and they gave him a breathing treatment, steroids, and took some x-rays.  They kept him under observation for about 6 hours before letting us go home.  He mostly slept in a bed in their observation room.  It was a scary deal.

He's still sick (croup), but he's doing better now.  Still coughing and wheezing a bit, but better, and he's on meds.

We went out for breakfast the next day, but later than usual since we hadn't gotten much sleep.

I had the weirdest dream last night, Mom....
Raylan got to go to a park for a little while after breakfast and after picking up some groceries.

Add caption

"Come in here, Mom!  It's cozy!"
We woke up this morning to find out that a water alert notice had gone out over night asking everyone to boil their drinking water.  The flood silt overwhelmed Austin's water treatment facility.
I ran to the store to buy a pack of bottled water, and found people cleaning out the supply (people were filling up shopping carts with pallets and pallets of water;  it was a little nuts).

Anyway, Amy and I took turns taking the day off to stay home with Raylan.

Not too sick to build some awesome gear contraptions
Last night we watched the Ready Player One movie.  I know it's a cliche to say this, but the book was better.  Still, it was fun.

And that was our weekend.

Hope everyone has a good week!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

ACL 2018

Well, it was another successful ACL Fest.  Hard to believe I've been to 17 of these festivals.
I'm gonna lay out a list of all of the bands that we saw each day (mostly so I can remember it later).

Bishop Briggs
Duncan Fellows
Alvvays (good, but only heard a few songs)
David Byrne
Jungle (partial)
The National
Hozier (from a distance)
Paul McCartney

Ikebe Shakedown
Curtis Harding
The Breeders
Brandi Carlile
Trampled by Turtles (partial)
Lil Wayne

Mt. Joy
Twin Shadow
Elle King
Janelle Monae
Houndmouth (partial)
The Revolution (a few songs)
St. Vincent
Arctic Monkeys (partial)

We saw quite a bit of good stuff.

David Byrne's show was great.  I've seen him several times before, and this was one of the best shows that I've seen him play.  His band all played while dancing and marching around on their feet.  The drums were covered by a marching band style of combined percussion.  Really great show.

David Byrne reminds everyone that creativity and musicianship
don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Amy and Steanso get photobombed by David Byrne 

Here's Frank, overwhelmed with joy at David Byrne

Of course, it was fun to see Paul McCartney.  He had a good band, played with a lot of energy, and put on a concert that was a legit rock and roll show- not just leaning on nostalgia.

We actually moved up a little closer than this during Paul McCartney, but
I didn't take many other photos
Ikebe Shakedown were good.  Funky, jazzy goodness.
Curtis Harding put on a good show.  I'd like to check him out again sometime.

Curtis Harding
The Breeders brought some good, quality noise rock to Zilker Park.

The Breeders
Frank and I went to Lil' Wayne sort of on a whim.  He had a big crowd and probably could have played on a bigger stage.  People were WAY INTO Lil' Wayne.  They knew all the words, and it was one of the only shows were people really packed in so much that it started to feel pretty crowded.

Lil' Wayne!!
On Saturday night we saw Metallica.  I'm not sure I ever bought a Metallica album, but I think I borrowed a couple from people over the years.  In high school, there was a late night show on KLBJ, one of our local radio stations, called "Midnight Snack".  People could send in their requests for about a half hour song list of music, and the DJs would play it.  A lot of people from the local state jail and federal jail would write in with requests, and they almost invariably included Metallica.  When I was living with Lee my senior year, I remember laying in our room and listening to Metallica in the dark before going to bed.
Anyway, Metallica was really good at doing what Metallica does.  They were fast and loud and dark.
They're actually really good musicians.  Their brand of music, in my mind, sort of represents the logical conclusion of so much of the almost competitive musical athleticism that that was a hallmark of hard rock and metal bands on the 1980s.  Operatic vocals, guitar pyrotechnics, thunderous double bass drums and drum fills.
It was fun to see Metallica.

James and the boys laying it down at the Metallica show
Mt. Joy were really good.  They were the first show we saw Sunday.  They're a good, solid band.  I previously had seen them at SXSW, and they were good each time I saw them.

Mt. Joy

Elle King and The Brethren were also really good.  She has a great voice, and band with a big, powerful, driving sound, and a whole lot of attitude.  I definitely recommend seeing her, and I plan to check her out again when I get a chance.  I think she said she has a new record coming out.

Elle King

Janelle Monae put on a great show.  Music was good, dancers were good- the whole thing was good.
I would go see her again, too.

St. Vincent also put on a really good show.  Her music is interesting.  Her live show had a lot of interesting art, and she and her band wore some crazy costumes (almost to the point of being a distraction from the legitimately interesting music, but the stage show is definitely a big part of who she is, so...)

St. Vincent

We stayed for Arctic Monkeys, but only for a few songs.  They weren't bad, but it was crowded, they were loud, and we were tired after three days of rocking.

Overall, it was another fun ACL Fest.  They had been predicting rain for Saturday and Sunday, but we didn't get a drop.

It was really great to have Amy with us on Friday, and, as usual, I had a good time with Frank.

Thanks to Mom and Dad for taking care of Raylan this weekend!

Today, as I'm writing this, the temperature has dropped from being about 90 degrees and humid yesterday to being in the 40s today and rainy.  Crazy.

Hope everyone has a good week!!

Sunday, October 07, 2018


Hey, hey, hey!

Our weekend was good, but, man, did it seem like it went by quickly.
Friday night we went out to dinner at Cypress Grill.  The food was great, as always.
On Saturday the Texas Longhorns played the Oklahoma Sooners in the Red River Rivalry up in Dallas.  Going into the game I had some trepidation.  Texas has definitely been playing better than expected this season, but I'd watched OU play Baylor in the previous week, and the Sooners looked really, really good.
Well, much to my surprise (and delight), Texas came out strong and took the lead for most of the game.  They almost blew it in the 4th quarter with a bit of a letdown (we're still Texas, after all, and Oklahoma has an explosive offense), but, in the end, the Horns put together a strong, last minute drive, and Dicker the Kicker put up a field goal to win the game.
The Longhorns looked good.  Mostly, I was impressed with the overall consistency, the lack of turnovers, and the determination that Texas displayed.  UT is often an emotional team, overconfident one moment and panic-stricken the next.  In this year's OU game we had more of a calm self-confidence, executing plays and just getting the job done.  It was nice to see.

Ryan and Jamie came over to watch the first half of the game.
Raylan was excited to see them and hang out. 
Ryan had to leave for an eleven day business trip the next morning, so they left at halftime so he could go do laundry and pack.

Raylan helps Jamie and Ryan cheer on UT
Kit and Spencer came over, too.  (Shelly was up in Dallas helping her sister with wedding prep)
Amy, who isn't a huge football fan, spent a lot of time playing with Spencer and Raylan during the game.

Spencer enjoys a bean bag

Spencer uses Raylan's washing machine to do laundry

Amy and the boys hang out in the back yard during the game
I'm not sure what we did on Saturday evening.  Not too much, I guess.Raylan took a nap in the afternoon, and that night Amy and I watched Pacific Rim: Uprising.  (It was fast paced and fun, with some entertaining characters.  Not sure it always made sense, but it was fun.)

On Sunday we went to Kerbey Lane for breakfast, and took Raylan to the park.  We gave him different options for parks, but he chose Joslin. 

Here I am, doing a terrible job as a spotter for my son, the
gymnastic daredevil.
In the afternoon, Amy went to a baby shower for a co-worker.  I played with Raylan, fed him lunch, and put him down for a nap.

In the evening I went to band practice and played with Frank and Reed.  We had a good practice.

After practice I went home and watched American Horror Story: Apocalypse while Amy sat on the couch and read.

And that was the weekend!

Hope everyone has a good week.