Sunday, April 28, 2019


What's up?

We had a pretty good weekend.  On Friday we let Raylan pick what we were having for dinner.  S we ended up having Popeye's fried chicken.
Saturday night Raylan woke up in the middle of the night with an upset stomach.  I guess it could have been related to the fried chicken, but I'm not sure.  He's eaten Popeye's before without any problem.  At any rate, it was a long night.
On Saturday, though, he was more or less okay.

Saturday morning Amy went for a jog and took Kiddo in the stroller.  Meanwhile, Raylan and I hung out at the house.  We got out the kiddie pool and played with some new squirt guns that I had gotten for him for his birthday.

Raylan takes aim at me.
Not the phone, kid!  Don't hit the phone!
Saturday afternoon we were supposed to go to a birthday party for a couple of twins from Raylan's school.  Raylan went down for a nap, though, and we couldn't get him up.  He had been up feeling sick the night before, so he napped hard Saturday afternoon.
Once the kids got up we ran some errands.

Kiddo and Raylan doing... something... in the shopping cart.
Raylan realized at some point, while we were out shopping, that he had missed the birthday party for the twins.  He freaked out.  Inconsolable. He loves parties.
In an attempt to smooth things over, we went to Central Market and got hot dogs to cook out and some cup cakes.  We told him we could have a make up party at out house.
And we did.  
And it was good.

On Sunday morning Amy took Kiddo to her TuneBugz class.  I took Raylan to a concert for kids (put on by Rock and Roll Playhouse) at The Mohawk.  It featured the music of Phish, and it was covered by a really good band, who did an extremely solid job of covering Phish (they could have easily been playing for an adult crowd, and, in fact, many of the parents were into it as much or more than the kids).  Raylan wore a little pair of ear-protecting earmuffs since he isn't crazy about loud noises.
The music was good, and the people running the event were clever enough to bring props and toys to keep the kids engaged (they brought out dancing ribbons, parachutes, etc.).  It was a fun event.  We had fun.

Raylan does a ribbon dance

Under the parachute

A shot from before the show up on the rooftop balcony at The Mohwak. 

On Sunday afternoon we went to a cookout over at Mandy's house.  Hot dogs and sausage and chicken and grilled veggies.  All very good.  Kellie was there with Jojo and Goldie, so Raylan and Kiddo had fun hanging out with her kids.  Got to hang out with Vicki and Donna Rene and Spencer, as well.  We had a really nice time.

Jojo, Raylan, Goldie, Kiddo, and Mandy, checking out the fish in
Mandy's pond 

Kiddo, realizing that we are going home and that the party is over,
throws her sippy cup in protest
After the cookout I gave the kids a bath and headed off to band practice.
We were all there.  We played a lot of random covers and some of our older songs.

And that was the weekend!

It was a nice one.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

AZ Trip; Raylan and Kiddo B-Day Celebration; Easter

Hey!  Hope everyone is doing okay.
We just got back from a trip to Arizona!
We left on Thursday.  Our flight was a little bit delayed, but things went relatively smoothly.

Our version of the kids behaving themselves at the airport.
Raylan ponders the inefficiencies of the modern
airline industry. 
We got to Phoenix in the mid afternoon.  Jean picked us up (thanks, Jean!).  We rented a vacation rental house for this trip which was just a few blocks from Amy's parents' place.  We checked in there before heading over to Jean and Greg's house.
The kids played in the back yard at the Davis house, running in the sprinkler and playing with outdoor toys.  Nathan and Scott were both there, and Raylan and Kiddo had a good time playing with them.
Jean and Greg made us a nice dinner.  It was a sort of Thai chicken dish with peanut sauce along with salad and rice.  Very good.
There's a two hour time difference between Arizona and Texas, so the kids partied out pretty early by Arizona standards.  We headed back to our place to crash before it got too late.

On Friday, we got up and went over to Jean and Greg's for breakfast.  Then we handed the kids off to Jean for a little bit and went to work out over at Blackstone, the country club where Amy's parents are members.  The workout facilities over there are really nice, and it's a great place to exercise.  The club, on the whole, is just a really nice place.
While we were going to the gym and getting cleaned up, the kids were learning to golf over at Carol and Jerry's house!

Poppy, this is fun, but I'm not sure I can knock the ball
through your window from here...
Carol and Jerry, Amy's grandparents, have replaced some of the grass in their backyard with a putting green since the last time we had been out there.  It's really cool.
So the kids had fun playing some golf.  And then Jean took them to a nearby park for a while as well.
Later, after naps and lunch, we took the kids and met up with Heidi, Nathan, Scott, and Joanna at the Blackstone pool.  Blackstone actually has two big adult pools and a kids' pool.  Once again, they're beautiful facilities.  Jean was with us and helped wrangle the kids.

Nathan, me, Raylan, Joanna, Amy, and Kiddo in the pool.
The kids had a blast.  Raylan loves to swim, and he loved playing with his cousins in the water.  As far as we know, this was Kiddo's first swimming experience, and she loved it.  She didn't seem afraid of the water at all, and even tried to do some swimming kicks that we think she learned by watching Raylan "practice" his swimming in the bathtub at our house.  Anyway, it was really fun.

Friday night we went to El Encanto Dos with Amy's parents and grandparents.  We sat outside, and it was really nice.  The food at El Encanto is great, and it was really fun to sit out on the porch and chat with everyone.  Jerry walked Raylan around the restaurant outside, and Raylan had a fun time wandering around with him.

Carol, Kiddo, and Jean.

After dinner we went back to Jean and Greg's for a bit, but then we went back to our rental house.
My parents came into town for this trip as well.  They didn't want to miss Raylan's birthday, and the Davis-Koffel-Sinex clan was kind enough to extend an invitation for them to join us.  So on Friday my parents flew into town.  They went and visited Frank and Suk Hi, who now live in Phoenix, and had dinner with them before linking up with us.  So after we all had dinner, we met up at the rental house so we could let them in and get them situated.

Saturday was Raylan's birthday.  We got up and ate breakfast with him and then took him over to Jean and Greg's.  We went to work out again.
After that we all went over to Matt and Heidi's house.  They threw a party for Raylan and Kiddo (who has a birthday coming up pretty soon).
The party was great!  There was a bounce house, a popcorn machine, a cake, hamburgers and hotdogs, a piƱata, and pork ribs (which Matt smoked- I usually don't even eat pork, but I ate one of those ribs, and it was great).
The kids had a blast.  Raylan and Kiddo both played so hard that they really wore themselves out.

The bounce house had both a basketball court and a slide.
In the Austin real estate market it would have been
valued at at least $500k.
At one point, the bounce house, popcorn popper, and electric smoker managed to overload the circuit breaker.  Amy was inside the bounce house when it lost power, and although I didn't hear any crying from the kids as it slowly collapsed, I did hear Amy's howls of terror.  I'm pretty sure she was shoving children out of the way as she scrambled for the exit.  ;-)

The horror!
So Greg and Dad reset the circuit breaker moved around some extension cords, and we were back up and running about five minutes later.  Crisis averted!
The kids played inside and outside and in the bounce house and, generally, all over the place.

Scott gives Raylan a bracelet that he made for him.  Raylan kept that
bracelet with all the way back to Austin. 

Amy supervises the kids during lunch.  It's had to get kids to
 stop and eat when there's a bounce house 10 feet

Here's Raylan trying to sort of listen as we beg him not to spit all over
the cake while blowing out candles.

So the party was awesome.  We had a great time.  
Eventually Kiddo started really crashing (excitement + Arizona time change + bounce house jumping = worn out toddler), so that was when we left.
But the party was great!  Thanks so much to the Davis and Sinex families for putting it together!  We really appreciate it, and thank you so much for giving Raylan and Kiddo such a wonderful birthday celebration!  He really loves his Arizona family.  Arizona is a special place to him.

On Saturday afternoon, after nap, we went to the pool again at Blackstone for a little bit.  Mom and Dad (i.e., Grandma and Papa) went with us this time, along with Jean and Greg.  It was a really nice way to relax and play with the kids.

Saturday evening we (including my parents) had dinner at Greg and Jean's house.  They made a really good chicken and cheese and bacon dish.  Greg also had a really nice bourbon (Woodford Reserve) that he was kind enough to share with me, so that was fun.
We had a really nice meal.  The kids ate before the adults, so we had a nice chance to all sit down together and have a grown-up meal.  Great food and conversation.  It was a very pleasant evening.

Sunday was Easter.  We got up and went to church at Lord of Life Lutheran over in Sun City.  Raylan and Kiddo were remarkably well behaved and made it through the entire service without having to go outside.  I was sort of amazed.  It was really nice to make it through the Easter service with all of us there.

Making it through a whole church service!  An Easter miracle!
After church Amy and I ran over to her grandparents' house for few minutes to visit with them and hang out.  It was good for Amy to get a little alone time with them.  Afterward we all went to brunch over at Blackstone.  It was a great event.  The food was amazing, we got to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather and the view over the golf course, and there was both an Easter egg hunt and a petting zoo for the kids.

Raylan realizes that it's sort of hard to hide eggs on a golf course.

Raylan counts his Easter eggs while keeping
an eye out for that freaky bunny....
After brunch, the kids took naps for a bit.  Following that, Amy and I took Raylan and Kiddo to the pool with Jean and Greg.  We swam in the resort pool (which has frog fountains that fascinated Raylan), and it was really nice.  My parents skipped the pool and went to visit the Sinex family (my mom brought some Easter loot for the kids) and then to visit Jerry and Carol.  They said they had a good time visiting everyone.

Sunday evening we went over to Jean and Greg's for pizza and some hanging out time.  It was low-key, relaxed, and nice.

Raylan becomes hooked on the high-stakes sport of
Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.  Grandma is considerably
less invested.
On Monday we got up and had to get packed up again and straighten up the rental house.  We got Mom and Dad out the door to get to the airport, and then we checked out and went over to Jean and Greg's to hang out until it was time to leave.  We took Raylan and Kiddo on a walk on the Vistancia trails before leaving.
We were walking up to the waterfall at the front of the neighborhood when Raylan sort of pooped out.  I'm not sure if it was the sun or what (he walks similar distances at home when we go to the park in Austin),  but he was dragging a bit and tried to sit down a couple of times.

Anyway, we gotta work on his hiking legs a bit, I guess.

After, the kids got lunch, and we headed to the airport, and that was really the end of our trip.  My parents missed a flight and had a long day getting on a new flight, but our return trip was mostly unremarkable.  Ryan was good enough to pick us up at the airport in my car, so he gets the medal for outstanding brother/uncle/brother-in-law this month.

Our trip was really nice.  Thanks to Heidi and Matt for hosting such a nice party (with some Jean help), thanks to Jean and Greg for the great brunch, and thanks to all of the Davis, Coffel, and Sinex family for being such gracious hosts.  It's always great to go to Arizona and to feel so welcomed.

And the kids both had a blast.  Raylan will be bugging us to go back to Arizona for a long time to come, I am sure.  As far as he's concerned, it's the land of endless parties, treats, and kid-centered  fun.  

Thanks again.  I hope everyone has a great week!

Monday, April 15, 2019


Howdy!  Hope every one had a good weekend!
Raylan's weekend started with a "home day" where Papa took him to swimming lessons and to the park by Mansfield Dam.  It sounds like he had a blast.

That dam kid.
On Thursday evening we met up at La Posada for dinner, and to have a little celebration for Ryan's birthday.  Jamie had a cold and didn't make it, but she was missed.

Ryan and Raylan exchange an April birthday high five

Margaritas and birthday loot.  I think Grandma turned Uncle Ryan's
birthday card into a reading/writing lesson for Raylan

Uncle Ryan gave Raylan an early birthday present.
It's a fish tank with artificial fish.  I am grateful that fake fish
currently generate the same level of enthusiasm as
real pets.
On Saturday night we went to a wedding for Noe and Katie at Umlauf Sculpture Garden.  I've known Katie since she was about five years old and was adopted by her family, the Leihs, here in Austin.  We all went to church together growing up, and we spent a lot of time together as kids.  Nowadays all of the Leih kids live up in the New York City area, so we rarely see them.  It was good to catch up a bit at the wedding, though.
I'm embarrassed to report that I didn't get any great pics of Noe and Katie together.  It seems like whenever I had a clear line of sight for a moment a professional wedding photographer would jump on in there, so I didn't end up with a good pic of them.

Three cool cats in sunglasses

My beautiful wedding date.
And... Dad.... ;-)

Katie and her dad, Tom, share a dance

Wine and truth-tellin' with Mom and Ryan

Dad and Katie
The wedding was beautiful, the food was great, and we had a really nice time.  Thanks to Katie and Noe for inviting us!

On Sunday I took Kiddo to her TuneBugz class.  She is really loving it now that she's used to it.
On Sunday the weather was beautiful, and Amy let me out of the house to go for a bike ride.
I rode downtown and back up South Congress.  It was a nice ride.  Austin's spring weather is definitely one of the highlights of living in our town.

Even took off the bike helmet for this shot!
Heidi and Matt are in town on a vacation/maybe we'll move to Texas someday trip, and they came over later on Sunday afternoon.
We hung out in the back yard, and chatted for a while.
Eventually we went out to dinner at Odd Duck.  We had a really nice time, and a nice meal.  It was good to catch up with them.

Mom and Dad/Grandma and Papa were kind enough to babysit so we could go out to eat.  Raylan and Kiddo had a fun time with them.

And that was our weekend!  We went home after dinner and passed out pretty early.

Hope everyone is doing well!

Monday, April 08, 2019


Hey!  Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Our was pretty good, all things considered.  It rained quite a bit, so we always consider those weekends a success if we all get through them without barking at each other too much.

Friday night, before the rain, I sat on the front porch
and played guitar once the kids were in bed.
On Saturday morning we got up with the rain coming down and tried to take Raylan to a rock climbing gym near our house called Crux.  The kid section was all booked up for the day, though.  We ended up heading up north to Mt. Playmore.
Raylan and Kiddo both love that place.
I played some air hockey and a couple of videogames with Raylan, and I had fun, too.  Amy spent time with Kiddo in the small kid area, and they had fun.

I think I captured the exact moment when Raylan realized
mechanical, talking clowns are creepy.
It rained most of the day Saturday.  I think the kids tried to go out in the back yard for a little while in the afternoon, but it was pretty soggy, and I think it started to rain again.

On Sunday it rained for more than half of the day again.

marble run before breakfast
In the morning I took Kiddo to her music class.  Amy took Raylan to the Thinkery.
We all had fun.  Kiddo enjoys music.
Amy went for a run, and I went to the gym.

Raylan and Kiddo watch TV.  Notice the reverse stadium seating.
Sunday afternoon we played in the yard after the rain stopped for a bit.

In the evening I went to band practice.  It was fun.  Nice to do some rocking on a rainy weekend.

Below is a picture from Raylan and Kiddo's preschool from this morning.  The DPS officers came to show off their equipment and even some horses used by the mounted patrol.

Raylan shows off his motorcycle skills.
So that's it!  Have a great week!

Monday, April 01, 2019


Hi!  Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Raylan's class is studying community helpers this month, and they had a visit from the Austin Fire Department on Friday!  As you can see in the picture, Raylan was pretty excited about the whole thing.  Raylan told me that Kiddo's class got to come out and see the firefighters as well.

Anyone here have a strange fascination with
smoke detectors?
On Friday night we hung out at the house.  After Kiddo was asleep in bed, Raylan and I played in the yard for a little while.  Nighttime outside play is pretty much a weekend treat at this point.

No, I'm not sure what is happening in this picture.
Night time freeform dance?
Clumsy Superman?

Friday night Amy wasn't feeling great and didn't sleep super well.  So Saturday morning I got up and took the kids to La Posada for breakfast.

Table full o' trouble.
Later on Saturday we went to The Natural Gardener to get some potted plants for the front of our house.

Our intrepid explorer locates a small stream, deep in
the heart of South Austin's largest outdoor nursery. 

"I don't get it."

Saturday afternoon involved planting and gym.  On Saturday evening Susan came over to babysit the kids, and Amy and I went out to dinner with my parents.
We went to Cypress Grill, and we had a really nice time.  It was really good to be able to have some grownup conversation with Mom and Dad without having kids dominate the scene.
The food was good, the conversation was good, and it was a really nice evening.  Thanks to Mom and Dad for dinner, and to Susan for babysitting.

On Sunday I took Kiddo to TuneBugz class in the morning.  She seems like she's warming up to the class and enjoying it a little more.  She liked the little instruments and some of the dancing this week.  She really tried to participate in the little dances.  Amy stayed behind and played with Raylan at the house.

Later there was lunch and naps general tomfoolery.  We played outside a little bit, but a late season cold front had blown in, and it was a little brisk outside.  Kiddo got up from nap before Raylan and spent a lot of time trying to climb on me and sit one me while I tried to interest her in toys.

Sunday night I had band practice.  It was Reed and Jim and me.  Jim brought his upright bass, and I played my 12 strong, so we had an acoustic thing going.  We were sort of working out some of the stuff to try to make it sound better on acoustics, but we had some good moments.

And that was pretty much the weekend!