Monday, April 27, 2020


Well, we're still in quarantine lockdown, and it's still pretty weird.
I didn't write a blog post last week because I think that all of the days have just sort of been running together for me a bit, and I lost track of time.
Last Saturday Dad and I put together a dome climber for the kids to play on.  Grandma and Papa got it for Raylan's birthday, and the kids love it.  Raylan has already learned how to do a "kitty flip" on the bars, and Kiddo has turned out to be much better at climbing the thing than we expected.

And they're off!!
Let's see, what else...? 
Well, Raylan has been figuring out how to ride his bike without training wheels!
He's been doing a great job.  We practiced in the empty parking lawn at Woodlawn Baptist Church, and he really seems to have been figuring it out!

Look at that kid go!
On this Sunday, he rode about 4 miles around the neighborhood with me without any training wheels!  We're so proud of him.

Last Sunday, while I was on my daily bike ride (my gym replacement during quarantine), I hit 3000 miles on my trusty ol' bike.
I haven't ridden the bike quite as much since Raylan was born, but I've been riding a lot since the gym has been closed.  I was downtown on the Pfluger Pedestrain Bridge when the odometer hit 3000, which seemed appropriate because it's one of the most scenic spots that I ride through on a regular basis.

In other news, I bought a Gretsch resonator guitar.  I'm not sure that it's a purchase which makes any sense, but, then again, neither does a global pandemic and quarantine lockdown.

it's loud!
My parents continue to help out a lot, taking the kids some days during the week so it's easier for Amy and I to get work done.

creating structures with Papa
Raylan's birthday was May 20th.  On the following day we had a little birthday celebration at our house with the grandparents.  We had pizza, cake, and milk, per Raylan's request.  We also had a Greek salad that Amy made, which was tasty, but not part of the request.

Cake excitement

Other from that we've just been working and playing with kids, mostly.

Jean/Nana sent a kit to make bath bombs for Raylan's birthday, and the kids had a lot of fun making bath bombs with Amy.

child laborers in the bath bomb factory

Raylan files troubling ways to use his playscape as Kiddo wonders why

in the sprinkler

story time
That's been it!  It's a strange time, but we're doing okay.  We're definitely getting some good family time out of it!!

Everyone stay healthy and safe!

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Ryan's Birthday, Easter, Update

Hi!   Well, like everyone else, we're still sheltering in place.
We're still fumbling through working remotely, taking care of the kids (my parents have been a huge help- THANK YOU!), and trying to preserve some semblance of a social life and connection to our friends, family, and community.
The weather for most of this week was pretty warm.  The kids got to play in their inflatable pool in the back yard and then play in the sprinkler.

God as my witness, they asked me to take a picture of their butts.
Both of our jobs have continued to keep us fairly busy.  Amy is still running, and I'm still riding my bike.

Workin' at the car wash...
On Friday I had a virtual happy hour with some of my colleagues from the mental health team.  It was good to see some friendly faces and blow off some steam.  It's really weird when you work with people all of the time, and then all of a sudden they're just names on emails and instant messages.

On Saturday, I attended a sort of virtual birthday party for Ryan.  Like myself and Jamie before him, Ryan's birthday landed smack dab in the middle of this whole pandemic, so he's not getting to celebrate the way he expected to, but the virtual party turned out to be fun.  I got to see some mutual friends from all over the country, including some folks I hadn't seen in a while.
It was also interesting to hear the perspective of people in places from Seattle to San Francisco to New York City, and to hear how the COVID pandemic is playing out in different parts of the country.  Steven and Lauren are living in Manhattan, and both actually contacted the virus and have now pretty much recovered from it.  A couple of people had colleagues and neighbors who had died from coronavirus.  Hearing the stories somehow made it feel more real.
Anyway, that was only a small part of the conversation.  Mostly it was a lot more lively and less depressing, luckily.  It was good to see everyone.
And happy birthday again to Ryan!  We still want to eat some cake with him when we can get out of our holes.
Sunday was Easter.  The Easter Bunny came to our house, bringing candy and a lot of books.  We had some cascarones, and the kids had fun smashing them in the yard.
We watched a cartoon that told the Easter story in a way that was pretty kid friendly, and we took the kids for a walk/bike ride.  The weather was great, and we spent a lot of time outside.

The Easter Bunny left a note explaining that there
weren't as many eggs this year because of the virus,
but since the libraries were all closed, he was
bringing books instead!

Reading the Easter loot!

In the afternoon we went over to Mom and Dad's house for dinner.  The kids played a lot, inside and out, and Mom made us a nice turkey dinner.  The food was great, and we had a really nice time.

Me, Kiddo, and Dad

Amy, Raylan, and Mom
It was a really nice dinner, and it was great to be able to spend some time together.  I wish it had been even more of the family, and I hope it can be again, soon.

So that's about it.

Happy Easter to everyone!  Stay safe.

Monday, April 06, 2020


Hey!  Well, things are continuing their strange progression during our period of mandatory shelter-in-place for the COVID pandemic.
Amy and I have both been working from home.  It's very strange for me.  Usually my job doesn't lend itself to working remotely very well, but right now we're just using virtual meetings, emails, and virtual courts to keep the most critical aspects of the system going (mostly hearings for incarcerated inmates who can't get released on bond), and everything else is being postponed.  Still, since I work on a caseload with a lot of homeless people who continue to get arrested and who don't necessarily make bond, my workload has remained fairly busy.
Mom and Dad have been a huge help in providing childcare on some days while the kids have been home with their school shutdown.  In terms of the lockdown, we've basically just been considering them part of the immediate family.  We don't really go anywhere else, but we see them.
I've been going to the store once a week, although the last time I went to pick up groceries I wore a bandana over my face.  Not sure if it helps, but the CDC is saying to wear a mask.
Amy tries to run every day, and I've been riding my bike pretty much every day.  We keep our fingers crossed for days when it doesn't rain all day (which hasn't been very often).

Raylan has amassed quite a collection of nightlights
He had 4 of them on, but I only got 2 in this shot.
Someone posted this on a fence somewhere in the South Austin neighborhoods between our house and downtown.  Saw it on my bike ride.

Stay safe.  Stay sane.
It's, of course, been a bit of a challenge keeping the kids occupied with no school, no play dates, no playgrounds (closed), and nowhere to basically go.  Raylan and I take some bike rides.  We play outside a lot.  We play with toys, build forts, read books, and, yes, sometimes they watch a little TV (particularly when Amy and I both have to get something done).  Amy has been trying to do some "school" at home with Raylan, and I know that my mom has been working with him, too.  We also read and do alphabet and art and stuff with Kiddo.

science experiment!  putting objects in flour to
see how craters are formed on the moon

nature hike out at my parents' house

car picnic!  this is what happens when you're desperate to eat out, but
all the restaurants on the way to Grandma and Papa's are closed

chairs for the kids at the grandparents' place
tree climbing!  (he's not as high as this
picture makes it look)

Front yard races to work out the wiggles

And that's been about it!
It's getting weird.  It's been weird.  We're adjusting, and that's the weird part, I guess.