Monday, September 09, 2019


Hi!  We had a good weekend, but it went by really fast.
I don't think that we did a lot on Friday night.
On Saturday my parents took the kids for the day and overnight.  They took them to church on Sunday.  Sounds like they had a good time.  They took the kids to the aquarium up on 183.  Raylan got to hold a parrot, and he was pretty excited about that.

Meanwhile, we ran some errands.
Selfie of me getting the tires changed on my car.
Which meant walking across the street to Radio and
having a beer while they changed the tires on my car.

In the evening we had Shelly and Kit and Spencer over to watch the UT-LSU game.  
It was a good game, even though UT lost.  We put up a strong fight.  Our secondary needs a little work, and we need to learn how to punch the ball in when we're in the red zone.  But, overall, we have some young players, and I was happy.
It was also really fun to hang out with Spencer, Kit, and Shelly.  Spencer played with us and had dinner, and then he got some sleep in Kiddo's bed (since she was staying with the grandparents).  He seems like he's really growing up fast!
Of course, it was good to see Shelly and Kit, too.

Spencer learns to play guitar.
We got the kids back on Sunday.  I'm not sure what we did on Sunday.  It just sort of drifted by...

Raylan tells Amy about all the cool stuff he did with Grandma and Papa
The weekend went by quickly.  I'm not even sure how we filled the time without the kiddos.

Hope everyone has a good week!

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Labor Day Weekend

Hi!  How are ya?

So we had a good Labor Day weekend!

On Friday, in the afternoon I went to a reception for Judge Denton.  He has been presiding over Vet Court since it was founded (10 years ago), and I've been working with him on the court since that time.  He is also going to be retiring as a judge so that he can run for the position of Travis County Attorney when my current boss, David Escamilla, retires at the end of 2020.
Judge Denton has done a really good job of presiding over Veterans Court.  He's an army veteran himself, and he has done a really good job of supervising the court, connecting with the veterans in the program, and making some difficult calls on cases where some of our guys were struggling.
I'll admit that, in the very beginning, I had a hard time seeing tough ol' Judge Denton as a treatment court judge (he usually presides over family violence cases), and I think that he had a bit of a learning curve in the beginning (we all definitely did), but he ended up doing a great job launching the court, presiding over it, and laying the foundation of what will hopefully be a successful program for many decades to come.  Sorry to see him go, but proud of his work.

Me, Judge Denton (who definitely isn't standing on
a step in this picture or anything), and Todd Dudley, the program's
first designated defense attorney.
Friday night I went out to a happy hour that was put on for the attorneys, judges, doctors, counselors, and staff people who work on the mental health courts in our county.  It was a lot of fun.  Mom and Dad took the kids overnight, so Amy didn't have to handle them alone.
I stayed out until the wee hours of the night (about 10:30), and then caught a rideshare home.

On Saturday we went out to my parents house.  Mom, Amy, and Jamie took the kids to the pool.
Dad, Ryan, and I stayed at the house this time.
It worked out pretty well.

Kiddo and Aunt Jamie playing something or other.
We ate lunch at Mom and Dad's house, the kids took naps, and then we went home.

Saturday night I ended up going to Ryan and Jamie's house for the first Longhorn game of the season.  We played Lousiana Tech, and we gave them a solid thumping.  It was basically a classic, season opening rout, but given the fact that we lost our season opener to Maryland the last two years, I hadn't been 100% sure that we'd easily win.  
Next week is LSU, though, and that will be... more challenging.  We looked pretty good, but sort of shaky at times.  I wish that LSU game wasn't so early.  It'd be nice to have a chance to work a few more of the kinks out, but, we'll see....
Thanks to Ryan and Jamie (and Scout) for having me over!

On Sunday we went out for breakfast at La Posada.
It had been a little wile.  It was good!

Back in the high life again
After breakfast we went to Deep Eddy for a swim.  We had to hit at least one city pool over Labor Day.  Felt necessary.
Kiddo did pretty well with the cold water.  Raylan loved it.  We had a good time.  Great way to cool off on a hot day.

Kiddo and Amy wade in

The agonizing wait of the once per hour 5 minute safety break
When we got home, there was a picnic lunch in the back yard.

Amy, Raylan, and Kiddo lunch it up in the yard.
Later, after naps, we walked to Joslin Park to play for a while.  It got a little cloudy and breezey, so it was only like a chilly 95 instead of the usual 101.

This wagon works fine, but we need a faster horse...
Sunday night I had band practice with Reed, Jim, and Frank.  I played my Danelectro 12 string, and we had a good time.  I thought we sounded pretty good.

On Monday, Labor Day, we went back out to Mom and Dad's.  We took the kids to the pool and ate pizza for lunch.  The kids both took pretty long naps before we drove home.

Kiddo suns herself on the steps while Mom and Dad play lifeguard.

Raylan does some swimming and splashing with Amy 
On Monday night, after dinner, the kids wrapped up Labor Day with a dance party with Amy.

Dance fever!

And that was our Labor Day weekend.  It was good.  Went by too fast.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Dad's Birthday Celebration; Update

Hey!  Hope everyone had a good week and weekend.

I spent two days last week at an environmental law training in Bastrop.  The training was held in a meeting space at McKinney Roughs State Park.  I had never been out there before.  It seemed like a nice park, although the 100+ temperatures sort of deterred me from wandering around too much.

Steanso gets closer to the environment.  To learn about protecting the
My dad's birthday was Wednesday. (happy birthday, Dad!  On Saturday we went out to Dad and Mom's house to go swimming and hang out.  We went to the pool, and had the whole place to ourselves (it's sort of crazy how Texans quit going to the pool the moment that school starts, even though it's still over 100 degrees outside).
We ate lunch and the kids got some rest time.  In the later afternoon, Ryan, Jamie, Dick, Susan, and Jeanne Farleigh came over to eat some barbecue and cake.  Jamie made a German chocolate cake (Dad's favorite), and it was really good.

Dad looks for Raylan and Kiddo while pondering the onset of some
mysterious back pain.
Kiddo does some coloring before dinner.

Raylan "assists" in blowing out the candles on Dad's cake.  Uncle Ryan
tries to prevent Raylan spit from landing on the cake.

Amy shows off the non-German chocolate, kid-friendly cupcake
We played hard on Saturday.  We went home tired.

On Sunday we got up and had breakfast.  Amy went for a run, and I loaded the kids in a wagon and took them to the park.
We had a good time, even though it was pretty warm and muggy outside.

Raylan gets in shape on the Joslin elliptical machine.

Kiddo gracefully descends the slide.

Raylan shows Kiddo the best way to put yourself
in danger.
I made it to the gym, and in the afternoon we played in the kiddie pool out back.

Raylan, jumping out to jump back in.

In the afternoon Amy made some tasty turkey meatloaf.  

In the evening I went to band practice.  Reed, Jim, and I played some songs, and Eric recorded them.

And that was the weekend!  
It was good, but went by very quickly!

Monday, August 19, 2019


Hey!  We had kind of a weird weekend.  On Saturday Amy and I had a foster parent training that took all morning and part of the afternoon.
May parents took Raylan and Kiddo out to their house to spend the day and the night.
It sounds like the kids had a great time.  I think they did some swimming, and they went to some kind of neighborhood celebration in Steiner Ranch.  Raylan got to see an emergency response helicopter up close and play on some sort of bouncing ride.

building Lincoln Logs with Papa

checking out the helicopter
Amy and I did our training.  On the way home from the training, Amy started to feel sick.
She ended up being sick for most of the rest of the day and night.  She was in bed for most of it.

She got to rest up, and I played my guitar and messed around the house.

On Sunday Amy was feeling better.  We went out for breakfast.  The kids came home after lunch.  They took naps and rested.  It was good to have them back!

When they go tup we played in the backyard for a while (until we got too hot).

August summer fun

They might be outgrowing this pool...

In the evening I went to band practice.  The weekend flew by much too quickly.

The end.

Monday, August 12, 2019


Hey! How is everyone doing?  It's really been getting hot outside, here in Austin.
My car thermometer was showing 102 degrees yesterday, and it's predicted to hit like 103 and 104 here today and tomorrow.
We had a pretty good weekend.
On Friday night we stayed in and had some Indian food.  Amy went to go work out/
On Saturday morning we got up and went to a play date over at Sam and Evie's house.  Dorothy and her parents came, too.  All of the kids are Raylan's age and go to his school (Sam and Evie being twins). 
The kids had a blast, and the parents had a good time visiting.
Although the afternoons are hot, the morning wasn't too bad.  The kids played in a kiddie pool in the back yard, and there was a nice shade tree.

Dorothy, Kiddo, Evie, Raylan, and Sam, hanging out
together in a non-school environment
After the play date we went out to Steiner.  We had lunch out there, and Kiddo and Raylan had some nap and rest time.  Afterward we went to Bella Mar pool.  The water felt good.
Mom made some chicken enchiladas for dinner.  They were really good.

Kiddo makes sure that everyone is ready to go, as dinner commences
After dinner, the kids were really tired (especially "no-nap" Raylan), so we headed home.

Sunday we were supposed to go to the pool with the Doggets, but Spencer woke up with some tummy trouble, so we didn't make it.  We went to Kerbey Lane for breakfast.

Amy wasn't feeling so great, either, so after breakfast, she stayed home with Raylan while I took Kiddo to the pool.
Kiddo and I had a lot of fun "swimming" and splashing around.  She played with two other little girls while she was there.
Raylan and Kiddo both took naps in the afternoon after lunch.

I had band practice in the evening with Reed, Frank, and Jim.
We sounded pretty good.

And that was the weekend!  It went by fast!

I didn't take a lot of pictures, but we had a good time.  You'll just have to take my word for it.  ;-)

Monday, August 05, 2019


Hey!  Hope everyone is doing alright.  It's real hot outside...
Our week and weekend was pretty good.
On Saturday, as has been our routine this summer, we went out to Steiner Ranch to go swimming and spend some time with our family.  Ryan and Jamie came out there, too, so that was really cool.  Also, Ryan just got a new job with the Provost's Office at UT, so it was an occasion to celebrate!
We got out there around ten, and stormed the gates of the Bella Mar pool.

My mom, watching Kiddo play in the Bella Mar pool.
I wonder how many total hours my mom has spent watching kids
at the pool....

On this trip, Uncle Ryan, a persistent spinner of yarns and teller of tall tales
as far as Raylan is concerned, was unable to convince his nephew that
flaying fish and sword fish were, in fact, real animals and not
make-believe creatures.
They're remodeling the bathrooms at Bella Mar, so they have bathroom trailers parked out front that have air conditioning and flushing toilets.  This was the highlight of the trip for Raylan, who has a strange fascination with urinals, in general.   
We played around in the pool for a couple of hours and then headed back to my folks' house for some pizza.  Ryan and Jamie took off after that, but our family hung out while the kids got a nap.  (well, Raylan "rested")
When the kids got up, Mom and Dad entertained them for a bit while Amy and I went for a walk. (which was nice, even though it was sorta hot out)

Grandma and Papa afternoon camp apparently involves
art and Play Dough
Later in the evening we went over to Waterloo Ice House.  We ate outside under the shade trees, fans, and misters, and the kids got to play on the playground.

Kiddo shows Mom around the Waterloo playground after dinner
Saturday was just a really nice, summer day- the kind of day that you want summer to be.  We had a great time hanging out with the family, and the kids had a really fun time.  They both love hanging out with the family.  Before bed Saturday night Raylan told me he had a really fun time at our "family pizza party".  ;-)

On Sunday, after Amy and I both worked out, we set out in search of adventure.  Interested in trying something new, we went to the Bartholomew Park splash pad.
This trip was not our greatest success.
It had been raining early Sunday morning, and it was really hot and oppressively muggy at the park.
The splash pad itself was mostly broken, with like 2 or 3 jets of water sort of feebly spraying into the air.  There was a birthday party at the park, so there were like 20 kids there, and most of them seemed intent upon standing upon the water jets so that no water would spray up into the air at all.  (I'm not sure why this was their favorite activity, but it definitely was)
The kids did play in the water a bit to cool off, and the played on the playground a bit until they got too hot and sweaty.  Overall, I guess they had a decent time (the kids really could have fun at a funeral), but it wasn't our most successful outing.

Raylan, doing what Raylan does at a playground.  Note that he's wearing a
swimsuit and is not wet
Later, in the afternoon, we went to Target.

Then I went to band practice.  It was Frank, Reed, Jim, and me.  Not sure hot it sounded, but we had a good time.

The end.

Monday, July 29, 2019


Hey!  So I got back from my training in Dallas on Thursday evening.  Amy and Jean had spent the day out at my parents' place, and Raylan had ended up staying out there to spend the night.

Jean, Amy, Kiddo and I walked down to Central Market Cafe to eat dinner.  We were experiencing a weird, midsummer cold front, and the weather was really pleasant.

Raylan, hanging out with Grandma and Papa on Friday.

Jean jetted out for Phoenix on Friday.  It was really nice of her to come help with the kids while I was in Dallas.  Sounds like she and Amy had a good time (they took Raylan to Natural Bridge Caverns!).
I was back at work Friday.

On Saturday morning we went to Mt. Playmore for a birthday party for Raylan's friend, Dorothy.  The kids, of course, had a blast.  (and the adults had fun, too)

Kiddo gleefully explores Kiddie Kanyon at Mt. Playmore

Amy helps serve pizza at the birthday party
After the pizza party we headed over to Steiner Ranch.  The kids had naps (well, Raylan had "quiet time"), and then we went to the pool.

Sometimes I avoid posting portrait pictures of Kiddo
because I have to blur out her face.  But this swimming
outfit needed to be memorialized....
We all did a lot of swimming and relaxing at the pool.  It was really nice.
Later, Mom and Dad (mostly Mom) fed us spaghetti for dinner.  It was great.
Afterwards we packed up and rolled home.  We had a really good time at the party and at Grandma and Papa's house.
On Sunday morning we went to church at my mom and dad's church.  Some kids from the congregation had been working on a sort of musical of Daniel and the Lion's Den.  They did a really good job!
Kit, Shelly, and Spencer came out to go to church with us.
Our kids were sort of mesmerized by the singing performance of the older kids.  Eventually Kiddo got squirmy and had to go to the cry room, but not until almost the end of the service.

Raylan and Kiddo take in the performance
After church we went home for lunch and nap.

Later, Raylan helped Amy make banana muffins.

When bananas look like they are going to go bad in our
house, muffins often magically appear...

Later, we played in the back yard.  They said it hit like 101 degrees yesterday, but it stayed breezy, and our back yard is shady.  It was actually pretty comfortable.

The engine on this car seems like it's running a little

And that was about it.  No band practice this week  I played a little guitar and tried to entertain the kids with it a bit.

Have a great week!  Stay cool!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019


Hi!  I'm in Dallas this week for the state bar's Advanced Criminal Law seminar.

I'm a little late on posting a blog update this week.

Last week Kiddo got sick.  I stayed home with her on Friday.  At one point I loaded her into the car to run a quick errand, and.... managed to back my car into a concrete pole in a parking lot.
Neither Kiddo or I got hurt.  In fact, Kiddo laughed.  I'm glad someone enjoyed it.

My next car WILL have a backup camera.
On Saturday we were taking care of a lot of stuff.  I had to do laundry for my trip.  Amy had to get some work done for a project at work.
The kids played in the yard a lot, including running through the sprinkler for a while.

Kiddo and Raylan do some summertime swangin'

sprinkler + slide = water slide
In the afternoon we took the kids to The Thinkery.  It gave the kids a chance to run around and be active in a nice, stimulating, air conditioned building.   We had a good time.

Kiddo tends to put the Lite Bright pegs in her mouth at home,
so they're usually off limits.  So this was waaaay exciting.

Kiddo in the water room at The Thinkery.
Despite the heat, the kids wanted to play a bit on the playground outside The Thinkery, afterward.

Raylan, determined to summit the playscape.
On Sunday we went to Garrison pool for a while.  It was fun.  Good time with the family.

Late Sunday afternoon I drove to Dallas for the seminar.  Jean got into town shortly after I left to stay with Amy and the kids.

The seminar has been pretty good.  The picture below is from an Italian restaurant called Campisi's.  It's sort of a Dallas institution, from what I'm told.  It was my friend, Carla's, birthday yesterday, so here she is with her birthday wine!

Carla's birthday/Advanced Crim Law 2019

That's it.  Have a good week!

Monday, July 15, 2019


Hello!  I hope everyone had a nice, summery weekend.
Ours was good!
My mom and dad got back from Michigan last week.  Sounds like they had a nice trip to the U.P. with Ryan and Jamie.  I think we might be headed up there with them next year.
Raylan was excited that they were back and Mom and Dad were excited to see Raylan, so Raylan went out to their house and spent Thursday through Saturday out there.  He had a blast.  Swimming pools, bounce houses, and generally being spoiled.  That kid has a rough life!  ;-)
On Saturday Amy, Kiddo, and I drove out to Steiner Ranch to go meet up with them and go to the pool.  Ryan and Jamie met us out there to go swimming as well.  It was really fun to see everyone and hang out.  We ate lunch at Mom and Dad's, and ended up staying all the way to eat the leftovers for dinner.  (Ryan and Jamie bailed out after lunch)

The whole family in the Steiner Ranch Towne Square pool

Raylan schools Papa on magna-tiles
In the evening Amy and I watched Stranger Things.
On Sunday we drove way up into North Austin (near where I grew up) to go to the El Salido pool with Shelly, Kit, and Spencer.  We had a good time.  I felt like I didn't get to talk to Shelly and Kit all that much because I was chasing kids around the whole time, but it was still nice to see them.

El Salido has a kid pool/splash pad with playground equipment in
the water.  Genius!
Raylan jumped off a diving board for his first time on Sunday!  He's been swimming better and better lately, and he kept closely watching some kids who were probably 6 through 10 who were going off the diving board.  I could tell he was intrigued.
The first time he got up on the diving board he walked out to the end and stopped when he realized that there was a little drop to the water.  Then a lifeguard blew their whistle and told him he wasn't allowed to wear his goggles when he was going off the board.  Then some girl little girl (probably 6 or so) started yelling at him that he should just climb back down.  He got a little rattled.
So he turned around and climbed back down.  He said he didn't want to jump.
I understood.  He's only 4, after all, and he really only started getting much better at swimming in the last month or two.  Plus, he always looks underwater at how deep the water is in the deep end by the diving boards and comments on how far down the bottom is.
But then we went back to the regular prat of the pool and kept swimming, and he kept looking over at those kids who were going off the board...
Eventually he said, "Dad, I want to try again."
He climbed out of the pool before I really realized what was going on.  I scrambled after him, and by the time I got by the deep end to watch him he was up on the diving board. 
He walked out to the end, stopped, said it looked a little scary, and then jumped right in.  He swam over to the side very capably on his own and then hopped out to go again.
I was very proud of him- not for going off the diving board so much, but for being brave enough to stick with something that was a little scary because he really wanted to learn how to do it.

After a few jumps, Raylan wanted his mom to see him do it, so we went and got Amy (and Shelly and Kit and Spencer).

By Raylan's 7th or 8th jump, he was doing spin moves
We swam for about 2 hours.  Then we headed home and had lunch and took naps.  Both kids slept hard.
Later on we played.

Amy reads a story to Raylan.  Kiddo, apparently dissatisfied, went
and got her own book to look at.

In the evening we had band practice.  All of us were there.  We sounded awright.

And that was about it!  Good weekend.  Went by too fast!