Monday, December 30, 2019


Well, the post-Christmas, pre-New Year week has been pretty good.  The kids are still home from school (which is closed), so we're taking turns taking care of them.

We were all home together on Thursday, the day after Christmas, and had a pretty low key day.  The kids played with their new toys, and we mostly spent time hanging out around the house.

On Friday Amy went to work, and I took Raylan and Kiddo out to Mom and Dad's house in Steiner Ranch.  Raylan had gotten some new toys that had stayed out at Grandma and Papa's house so that he can play with them when he's out there.  By Thursday he was already asking to play with his giant new marble run that was out at my parents' house.  So on Friday we rolled out to Steiner Ranch to spend part of the day, to hang out with my parents and to play with the new toys.

Marble run bliss in Steiner Ranch
The kids had a blast on Friday, and Mom and Dad gave me a chance to exercise while they watched the kids and played with them for a while.  Kiddo had a new doll stroller and high chair at their house, so she had some fun things to play with out there, as well.

On Saturday morning we all went to the grocery store and did some shopping together.  We've recently been using the online grocery service and then just picking up the groceries, so it was fun for us to all go together to the store on a day when we actually had time to do it (and the cold, wet weather outside made grocery shopping sound like a good outing).

Saturday night we went to La Posada for dinner and had a nice time.

On Sunday morning we went to Dick Nichols Park.  We brought Raylan's bike and Kiddo's balance bike.  The kids played on the playground, rode around a bit, and played in the sand on the volleyball court.  It was a nice tip to the park.

Raylan, still in his bike helmet, shows Kiddo
some advanced climbing skills

fun on the tandem swing

Later that evening I had band practice with the entire band.  We had a fun time playing.

And that was the weekend.
here we go- wrapping up 2019!

Friday, December 27, 2019


Whew!  Christmas has come and gone!  It was sort of a whirlwind, but, in the end, it was a really nice Christmas and a really fun Christmas season.
I'm not sure that I did a great job of taking pictures of everything for the blog, but we had a good time.  You'll just have to trust me.  (seriously, the thing I feel the worst about is that I don't have more pictures of the extended family- I've got plenty of shots of the kids)

Anyway, the run up to Christmas was busy.  I played Christmas songs with Robert, Lowry's dad, at the preschool for both Raylan's class and Kiddo's.  We played Christmas songs, with me on guitar and Robert playing a snare drum.  It was fun!
We had a Christmas luncheon at my office, and it was nice.
Raylan and Kiddo both had little Christmas parties in their classes.  Grandma and Papa went.

Raylan at his Christmas party with one
of his best friends, Dorothy
The kids stayed with my parents on Friday night while we wrapped presents and did some Christmas prep.  On Saturday Amy had a cookie decorating party/playdate for a couple of friends, Otto and Logan.  Their moms, Heather and Katarina, are friends with Amy from her office.  Uncle Ryan and Aunt Jamie stopped by to decorate a few cookies and hang out with the kids.  We had Christmas music playing, and the kids played in the backyard when they finished making cookies. Everyone had a really fun time!

Kiddo, Jamie, Ryan, Katarina, Logan, Raylan, A,y and Otto
work on decorating cookies

Otto and Raylan work on some gingerbread cookies
Sunday I had band practice.  It was good.
Monday I took care of the kids during the day while Amy went to work.
At Raylan's request, I drove them up to Mt Playmore.
We had a fun time!  Kiddo is big enough to play on the indoor playground now, and we also played some games.  Afterward I took the kids to McDonald's for lunch, once again at their request.

Pausing long enough for a picture before
commencing the invasion of Mt Playmore
On Christmas Eve we went to Triumphant Love with my parents and Susan for church.  The kids were well behaved, and the service was nice.

Afterward, we went over for a fajita dinner and very nice get together at Ryan and Jamie's house.  Dick, Doug, Kristen, Juan, Mom, Dad, Susan, and our family were there (and Scout!).  We had a really nice time, and the food was great, but I did a terrible job of taking pictures.  Thanks, Ryan and Jamie!

Doug, Juan, Jamie, Ryan, and Kristen
on Christmas Eve

The kids enjoy some Christmas Eve treats at Ryan and
Jamie's house

On Christmas morning we got up and opened presents at our house, of course.  The kids were excited.  Afterward Amy made some biscuits and gravy (yum!) and cinnamon rolls.

opening da presents!
Raylan and Kiddo, examining the loot....
Later on Christmas Day Amy went for a run, and I went for a bike ride.  We took turns watching the kids.

South Mopac pedestrian bridge on Christmas Day
Later on Christmas Day we went over to my parents' house.  Dick, Doug, Kristen, Jamie, Ryan, Susan, Donald, Mom, Dad, and our family were there.  There was a feast of food, and a whole lot of presents.
Once again, it was fun to talk to everyone.  The kids had a blast, entertaining everyone and being entertained.  Once again, I was a little negligent in taking photos.
It was a great Christmas gathering.  Thanks to Mom and Dad!

Amy helps Kiddo and Raylan open stocking stuffers

Kristen, Ryan, Jamie, and Susan

Jerry and Carol (Raylan and Kiddo's great grandparents) got them a battery-powered children's Jeep.  Raylan loved it from the start.  Kiddo initially was  afraid of it, but eventually joined in the fun (and now loves it).  The kids have already spent a ridiculous amount of time riding around in it.  When I got up this morning, Raylan had already gone out the back door, and I found him sitting in the Jeep.  The battery wasn't in it, so he was literally just sitting in it.  
In the dark.  
In 40 degree weather.  
In his pajamas.

I put the battery back in it, put a sweater on him, and let him back at it.  He rode around until I dragged him inside for breakfast.

Off roadin'!

Family photo from Christmas dinner at Mom and Dad's house

So that was pretty much it!  It's been a great Christmas!  Hope everyone had a nice one!

Monday, December 16, 2019


Hi, there!  Well, we're still barreling towards Christmas at our house.

On Friday I went to a holiday lunch with the directors and executive team from my office.  We went to Perry's, and it was very nice.

Brent, Corby, Kelly, David, Dan, me, Chantelle, Vicki, and Ruben
Friday night we had our office party at Dogwood.  It was a lot of fun.  Lots of people from our office came, in addition to judges, defense attorneys, and various people from the courthouse (in my case we had some social workers there who help out the mental health docket).  I hung out for a couple of hours and had a good time.

On Saturday morning I got up and took the kids to a Santa breakfast at Mom and Dad's church.  Raylan and Kiddo weren't too keen on actually hanging out with Santa, but they really enjoyed the food and the activities.  They got to make Christmas ornaments, decorate cookies, and eat doughnuts.  They also played on the playground.  They had a great time, and Mom and I enjoyed it, too.

Making ornaments with Grandma

Cookie decorating/eating
On Saturday afternoon, Lowry and Mirabel and Robert and Marina came over for a playdate.  Robert and I practiced some Christmas songs to play for the kids at their school this week.  
The kids played really well together, and afterward we went to ABGB for some pizza (and maybe a beer or two).  It was a nice afternoon and evening.

On Sunday it was foggy in the morning and damp.  We took the kids to the Thinkery.  As usual, they had a blast.

Kiddo and Raylan do some painting on the glass

Kiddo and Raylan enjoy the water room at the Thinkery
On Sunday afternoon, Santa stopped by the house for a visit!  The kids were a little nervous at first, but eventually they got excited.  They brought some of their toys out to show them to Santa, and they got to tell Santa about some of the things they wanted for Christmas.  Santa also gave each of them a Christmas ornament (although Kiddo insisted that her Minnie Mouse ornament was a toy, and would not let go of it for the rest of the day).

Raylan gives Santa a high five!

And that was about it.

I had band practice Sunday night and played with Reed, Jim, and Frank.  We sounded pretty good, but my singing was a little rough.

And that was the weekend!

Have a great week!

Monday, December 09, 2019

Arizona Trip!

Hi!  So we just got back from a trip to Arizona!
We left last Wednesday, and we got back last night!

It was a really good trip!  We flew into Sky Harbor in Phoenix on Wednesday, and Jean picked us up.  we drove straight up to Flagstaff.

We stayed in a hotel called Little America.

Jean, Greg, Jerry, Heidi, Scott, Nathan, and Joanna all joined us.

There was snow in Flagstaff!  The kids had fun playing in it!  There were some snowball fights and show angels and a snowman!  Raylan loved the snow.  Kiddo was less exicted.  "Too cold!"
Anyway, the kids had fun playing with each other and were excited to be together with their cousins again.

Kiddo experiences snow for the first time

Kiddo and Raylan pose with their snowman

Kiddo, Amy, me, Raylan, Joanna, Heidi, Scott, and
Nathan in the snow!

We played in the snow on Wednesday and then went out to dinner at a good Mexican place that I think was called Salsa Brava.  It was good food, and a nice dinner.  It was a good chance to catch up.

The hoodlums hang out by the fireplace at Little America
On Thursday we got up and went out to breakfast at The Crown Railroad Cafe.  It was a cool place with good food, and they had a model locomotive that ran in a perpetual loop on a track near the ceiling.  The kids loved it!
The Crown Railroad Cafe!
Later that morning we took the kids to a deer farm on the outside of town.  It was great.  There were tons of different kinds of deer, including reindeer.  Kiddo was a little afraid of the aggressively friendly dear (who, wanting to be fed, swarmed her and were much bigger than her).  Raylan, on the other hand, was fearless.  He wanted to feed the deer, and I'm pretty sure he would have ridden one if he could.

Raylan amongst the herd

Amy helps Raylan feed the deer
That evening we drove out to Williams to go on the Polar Express.  I ended up not feeling very well, and I ended up not riding on the actual train ride (Greg hung out with me instead)  The kids went, though, and had a blast.  They got treats and met Santa and sang songs.  Thanks to Amy, Jerry, Jean, and Heidi for handling the kids when I had to tap out.

our family gears up for the Polar Express
We spent the night in Flagstaff on Thursday night, and then drove back to Phoenix on Friday.

Back in the Valley, we gt to hang out and visit with Amy's grandparents, take the kids over to play at Heidi's house, and hang out at Amy's parents' place.
Poppa Greg and Nana introduce Raylan to the magic of Spirograph

Playing on the monkey bars with the cousins!

On the jeep with Joanna, Nathan, and Raylan!

We went to Anthem on Saturday, and the kids got to play on the big playground, and take a ride on the small train to see the Christmas lights.

Nathan and Raylan on the Anthem playground

Amy did some crafting with her mom .  I got to go for a bike ride.  We drove around and saw Christmas lights.
Saturday night we went out to dinner with Amy's parents and grandparents at The Cross Eyed Cricket.  It was nice to hang out with everyone.  The kids seemed to really enjoy hanging out with Jerry and Carol.

Dinner at The Cross eyed Cricket
After dinner we drove around to look at Christmas lights and went over to Heidi's house for one last visit with the cousins.
And that was about it!

It was a great trip!  It was really nice to see everyone again.  We enjoyed Flagstaff, but we really enjoyed our time in the Valley as well.
Thanks once again to Amy's family for all of your hospitality and warmth.  It's really great to feel so welcomed as part of the family when we go out to Arizona.  We always have a good time, it's always good to see everyone, and we love our Arizona family!

Until next time!

Monday, December 02, 2019


Hi!  So we had a happy Thanksgiving!  We hosted at our house this year!
In attendance we had Ryan, Jamie, Mom, Dad, Dick, Susan, Donald, and our family.
Various people did some cooking, and we got some food from Central Market.

We had a very nice day.  Mom and Dad took care of the kids during the day so we could get the house cleaned and get the food ready.  (so thanks for that!)

I think everyone had a really nice time.  The food was tasty.

Amy with smoked turkey

the spread

Susan regales Dad and Ryan

Raylan focuses intently on finishing off a cupcake

Mom and Uncle Donald

Dad and Uncle Donald 

Kiddo, Susan, Donald, Dad, Ryan, and Raylan.  Raylan eventually moved
to the other room because he wanted to eat next to Uncle Ryan


kids in leaves
On Friday we actually did a small amount of shopping to take advantage of Black Friday deals.  It was a little crazy out there.  In the afternoon, Katerina and Logan stopped by for a playdate with Raylan.  Raylan had a blast.  I mostly watched the UT-Texas Tech game.  (we won!)

On Saturday morning I took Raylan out to breakfast at Central Market.  He was the only one who would go with me!  We had a really fun time.
Boys breakfast!
We also got Christmas decorations put up (some on Friday, and some on Saturday).

Christmas was fast on the heels of Thanksgiving this year

On Saturday I also took the kids to the park

there was some debate ab out the proper way
to use the slide
Saturday night Mom and Dad took us out to the Long Center to see the Blue Man Group.  I had no idea what to expect.  It ended up being a lot of fun!  Sort of mime comedy combined with music and stuff.  Sort of hard to explain.

We're out omg the town!
After the show we went to Hyde Park by our house for a couple of drinks and some appetizers.  It was fun.  Nice family get together to kick off the holidays.  Thanks to Mom and Dad for taking us out!

On Saturday night I started coughing worse and worse.  Bu Sunday I was feeling pretty bad again.  I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with bronchitis.  I got some medication, but I'm at home today.

So that's it.  Have a good week!  I cannot believe we are in December of 2019!!!!!