Monday, September 23, 2019

South Padre Beach Trip

Hi! Hope everyone is doing well!

Last week we took a trip to South Padre Island with Mom, Dad, Amy, Raylan, Kiddo, and myself.
We had a great time!
We stayed in the Bridgepoint Condos again, in a 3 bedroom unit.
We drove down on Wednesday.
We stopped half way down and had lunch.  The kids were good in the car.  They both wanted to ride with Grandma and Papa the whole way, but each time we took Kiddo in our car at the halfway point to try to get her to sleep after lunch (successful on the way back, but not on the way to the beach).
We got to Padre early enough to hit the beach, and immediately took the kids down there so they could run off some energy after the 6 hour car ride.

The beach was great!  It wasn't crowded, and the temperatures and water were nice.  We had a bit of wind, but it died down over the course of the trip.  Raylan was excited to be back on the beach, and Kiddo had never been before.  It took her a little bit to get used to the sand and waves and salt water, but once she figured it all out, she had a blast.  She really loved chasing seagulls, helping Raylan dig and build in the sand, and sitting in the shallow water.
Raylan, for his part, perfected the art of diving under ocean waves on this trip, as well as impersonating a (friendly?) shark in the pool.

Made it!
Raylan refuels with a snack from Amy
Grandma plays lifeguard for Kiddo
That night we ordered out for pizza.  I think the kids mostly ate sandwiches or something.

We got up the next morning and ate breakfast at the condo.  Amy and Mom had brought some food, and  Dad and I went to a grocery store the night before (on the island) and picked up a few things.
After breakfast we went back to the beach!
Da beach!

This was meant to be a calm, idyllic picture of Amy and Kiddo, but...
Dad and Raylan, splashing in the waves and combing the beach
Raylan wants a pic with his mom!
Thursday night we stopped off to buy some tee shirts and then went out for seafood at Blackbeard's.  It was good.  The kids ate hamburgers, and the adults got fish and shrimp!

Raylan ate a whole burger!
Thursday evening my folks put Kiddo to bed after dinner so we could take Raylan night swimming at the pool.  We started out at twilight, but eventually it got dark.  Raylan was really excited.  There's some sort of business (bar or restaurant?) on the bay side of the island that shines spotlights into the air at night, and Raylan was really excited to see them.  He remembered them from last year, and even though Amy and I had both forgotten about them

"I'm a shark!  Pet my back!"

Sunset from the pool
We got up the next morning and went out to breakfast at Manuel's in Port Isabel.

Sunrise view from our condo (we were on the 17th floor)
Manuel's has giant tortilla wrap/taco things for breakfast.  They're really good, and the people who work there are very friendly.  It's just a fun little local spot.  We had a fun time sharing the place with Mom and Dad, and they seemed to enjoy it.

After breakfast we went over to Sea Turtles, Inc. to see the rescued sea turtles.  It was fun!
We showed up right before feeding time for some of the larger turtles, so we got to see them eat.

Strange sea creatures.  And some turtles.

The whole family helps Raylan turn a penny into a souvenir.

Raylan and Kiddo watch the sea turtles eat

Later, after nap time, we all went back down to the beach.

We had a really nice time at the beach that afternoon.  The kids were in a good mood and the weather was perfect.

Kiddo and Raylan do some sand castlin' with Mom and Amy

Mom and Kiddo take it all in

Friday evening we went out to dinner at Gabriella's, an Italian restaurant near the condo.  We had a good dinner.  The kids were good eaters, and Raylan kept saying how much he liked the music (which featured a lot of Frank Sinatra and Benny Goodman).

When Kiddo is done, Kiddo is done.
And that was basically the trip!

We packed up the next morning and headed back.

We had a really nice vacation!  The kids really enjoyed the beach, and they enjoyed the family time and all of the attention.  They were really well behaved throughout the whole thing, really.

We also had a really nice time hanging out with my mom and dad.  They were a big help with the kids (Amy and I got to go work out in the gym each day!), and it was really special to have them with us.  We feel very lucky to have them in our lives and as part of our family!

So that's it.  We got back Saturday evening in time for me to watch UT beat OSU!

Sunday was filled with errands and kid wrangling as we got settled back in.

Hope everyone has a good week! 

Monday, September 16, 2019


Howdy! Hope everyone had a nice weekend!  Ours was good!

Raylan, enjoying the ride to school on Friday
Friday evening we went out to dinner at Hyde Park Grill.  It went well.  The kids were good and happy and ate their food.  Amy had gotten some coupons for free small ice creams, so after dinner we walked over to Amy's to get some ice cream.

Ice cream trekkin'
On Saturday morning, Amy took kiddo to a foster mom support group meetup.  I took Raylan to run a few errands.  We went to Target and spent a long time wandering around in there.  Raylan looked at lots of toys, but kept saying, "I'm interested in this, but I don't have to have it."  We also had a fun time looking at Halloween decorations, and Raylan helped me pick out a few groceries.
In the end, we bought some groceries and stuff, and Raylan got a Jenga game.  He also got an Icee, which he liked at first, but then decided was "too sweet".  (it shocked me to hear these words coming out of his mouth)

Running errands with Dad
Later there was some playing in the back yard.

Raylan shows Kiddo how to load a dump truck
In the late afternoon, evening, we got cleaned up and headed to the Macaroni Grill in the Arboretum for a birthday dinner for Uncle Donald (his birthday was on September 11th)

Getting spiffed up for the birthday dinner

Amy, Kiddo, Ryan, dad, Uncle Donald, Mom, Jamie, Raylan,
and Susan at dinner

Our family with Uncle Donald
Dinner was nice.  It was fun to see everyone.  My mom brought a sugar free cake for Donald, and the kids got some cupcakes.

On Sunday we got up and I took the kids to Garrison Park.  They had fun running around and playing on the playground.

Raylan shows Kiddo important Garrison Park landmarks.  Like the
drain pipes.  and some tree stumps.
In the afternoon we all went to Home Depot.  We bought some sand for our sand table, and Raylan looked at the washers and dryers. 

Checkin' out the latest models
After Home Depot we got some frozen yogurt.

Kiddo makes sure that no froyo goes wasted

When we got home, the kids played a bit, and then I gave them baths before heading to band practice.

Band practice was good.  It was Frank, Reed, Jim, and me.

And that was the weekend.  We're off to South Padre this week.  Keep your fingers crossed for good weather for us!

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.