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!!!!!

Monday, November 25, 2019


So, it was kind of a weird weekend.  I got sick while I was at work on Wednesday.  By Wednesday night I had a fever that was somewhere between 101 and 102.  So I stayed home Thursday and went to the doctor.  I took a flu test, and I tested negative.  Then she told me that she thought I had the flu, anyway, and put me on Tamiflu.  Anyway, I felt sick for a few days.

Mom and Dad took the kids on Saturday.  They got to go to Mt. Playmore, and it sounds like they had a good time.
Amy had been coughing and sort of suffering from a cold, as well.  We used our free Saturday to take a big nap and to rest and recover.

Raylan serves as tour guide for Kiddo in the exotic wilderness of the
Mt. Playmore playscape

Just a shot of some of the color in our yard as the trees are changing colors.

We really did not do much Saturday.  We watched The Mandalorian and went to Central Market to get some dinner.

On Sunday the kids returned, and we were happy to see them.  Kiddo took a big nap.  We played with Raylan and then played with both of them once Kiddo was up.  The weather was nice, so we were mostly outside.

chalk art

using the bucket swing while he can still squeeze into it

With Raylan inside, Kiddo cautiously approaches the cardboard house....
And that was really the whole weekend.  I skipped band practice on account of both Amy and I still not feeling great.  We've all been coughing and sniffling to various degrees.  Winter is here!

Hope everyone has a good week.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


Quick update today.  Things have been very busy!

On Friday I had a diversity training (which was good).  I got home, and Raylan wanted to go out for dinner.  Not only did he want to go out for dinner, he specifically wanted to go to Tarka for Indian food.  On the drive to Tarka, halfway there, he told us he had changed his mind and wanted pizza.  We still went to Tarka, though, and he and Kiddo both liked it.  Afterwards we went to Dairy Queen for some ice cream.

Howling as the post-ice cream sugar rush hits.

On Saturday I played with the kids at the house in the morning while amy went for a jog.

Raylan scales the crape myrtle

Kiddo and Raylan do some swangin'.

In the afternoon we went over for a playdate at Cesar, Sue, and Dorothy's house.  Evie, Sam, and Charlie were there as well.  We walked to the park, and the kids had a lot of fun.  We also ordered some pizza and watched the UT - Iowa State game (UT totally blew that one with some stupid penalties towards the end and some just downright dumb play at various points throughout the game).  It was a fun get together for kids and adults alike.  Raylan was very sad to leave.

Evie, Raylan, and Kiddo on the see saw (with an Amy assist)

Pizza party!
On Sunday Amy took Kiddo for a jog in the stroller.  I took Raylan for a bike ride.  We rode 2.33 miles.  Raylan is back to using training wheels because he forgets how to stop and crashes (the balancing is apparently the easier part for him).

Bike ride on pause while Raylan tries to make friends with a neighborhood cat.
He rolled around on the ground and tried to act like the cat.  Weirdly, it
sort of worked.
Uncle Ryan stopped in for a surprise visit on Sunday afternoon.  Kiddo was sleeping, but Raylan was excited to see him and to have a short chance to play with him.

Sunday evening I played acoustic guitar music with Frank on our front porch because band practice had been cancelled.  We had a good time and even occasionally sounded good.

And that was about it!  Have a good week!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Update; Veterans Day

First of all, yesterday was Veterans Day, so I want to thank my dad, Greg, Jerry, Amy's Uncle Jeff, and any and all other veterans out there for their service!
Thanks to all of our active duty and former service members for keeping us, our country, and and our families safe.

In terms of our weekend, it was a good one, but I now realize that I did a really subpar job of shooting any pictures this weekend.

On Friday night we took the kids and went to Olive Garden for dinner.  It was nice.  The kids were good and ate all their food.

On Saturday morning I took Raylan to his soccer game.  Mom and Dad met us there to cheer him on.  It was his last game of the season with the Tiger Sharks.  Raylan played a good game and seemed to have a lot of fun.  He's really enjoyed soccer this year, and it's been fun to watch.
At the end of the game, Coach Josh handed out some medals and said a little bit to each kid about why they deserved a medal.  Raylan got praised for learning to really follow the ball and keep after it.  He went from not really understanding soccer to getting a couple of goals this year!

Tiger Shark team photo!

Raylan gets a medal!  Despite his strange, pained
expression here, Raylan was VERY excited
about his medal!
After the soccer game Saturday morning, I took Raylan to get his flu shot.  I had bribed him to behave for the flu shot with a promise of ice cream, so afterward we went to Dairy Queen.  He was very good.
Saturday afternoon I watched the Longhorns play Kansas State.  We somehow managed to win that game despite some ridiculous errors and bad plays.  A win is a win, and I'm happy to take it, but even in this win it was clear why we were never going to be contenders for a national title this year.  Texas still has a fundamental lack of discipline and consistency that drives me nuts.  We have great athletes, and on one play we might have beautiful execution, while on the next play, our heads clearly aren't in the game, and we make a stupid mistake.  Like I said, it's frustrating to watch, especially when it's clear that we have the skill and the talent to be a much better team.
Oh well.  We won!

On Sunday I took the kids to the park in the morning while Amy exercised.  The weather was beautiful, and we had a good time.  We played on the playscape, played on the swings, and kicked a soccer ball around.  Also, we stared intently into storm drains....

There is nothing in this one, either....
On Sunday afternoon, once Kiddo went down for her nap, I went for a bike ride.  It was great weather for it.

Clearing the noggin with a bike ride to Ladybird Lake
Sunday evening Frank came over and we played out acoustic guitars on the front porch (Reed was out of town, so no practice at his house).  We had a good time.

On Monday Amy and I both had the day off for Veterans Day.  Amy and I went to the gym, and then went to see Terminator: Dark Fate.  The movie was fun, and we had a good time.  During the movie, a cold front had blown in, and the day turned wet and very chilly (it was in the 40's during the day and below freezing over night).  My mom picked up the kids in the morning and took them to Catch Air.

Later, we drove out to Steiner Ranch to have dinner with Mom, Dad, and our kids.  Amy brought a lasagna that she had made the day before.  Mom provided salad and garlic bread.  It was all very good.  It was a nice dinner, and we had a good time.

And that was the weekend!

I'll try to take better pictures next weekend.....

Monday, November 04, 2019

Halloween; Update

Hey! Hope everyone is having a nice fall!
We had Halloween this past week, and it was a good one.
The kids were with my parents most of the day on Halloween Thursday (going to swim lessons and having a fun grandparent day).  In the evening we all met up at our house, picked up some pizzas, and headed over to Ryan and Jamie's house to go trick-or-treating.  My parents went, and Dick came over, as well.
It was pretty cold on Halloween this year (it got down into the mid 40's).  Raylan switched up his costume at the last minute, and was Batman (he was Catboy from PJ Masks for the party at my office).  Kiddo was some sort of combination of Wonder Woman, a ghost, and an unidentified, masked character that only Kiddo understood.
We hit some houses and collected some candy.
In an awkward/sweet moment, at one house, a woman wished Raylan a happy Halloween and gave him a big handful of candy, and he just looked up at her in his Batman mas and responded with, "I love you."
She looked a little surprised, but said thanks.

Batman Returns

Putting in the work.  Racking up the loot.
We made it home, and Amy gave Kiddo a bath and put her to bed while Raylan sat on the front porch and gave out some candy to the trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood.  Raylan got a kick out of handing out candy and wishing the kids a happy Halloween.

That was about it for Halloween.

On Saturday Raylan had a soccer game with the Tigersharks.  He scored two goals!!  I got one of the goals on video.  Maybe even more important than scoring goals, he kept his head in the game a little better this week (although he did stop to collect some especially nice acorns at one point).  Anyway, I was proud of him.  He tried really hard, and he seemed to have a lot of fun.

Tigersharks Assemble!

On Saturday afternoon we went to a birthday party for Raylan's friend (and classmate), Lowry, over in Mueller.  The weather was beautiful, there were a lot of kids from his class there, and the park was really nice.  We had a good time talking to parents and watching the kids play.

Raylan helps Dorothy summit a challenging peak

Raylan "supervises" the cutting of Lowry's
birthday cake

The kids roll down a nice, grassy hill.

On Sunday we went out to breakfast (La Posada), and then took the kids over to ride their bikes in the big, open parking lot at the Burger Center.  We'd been telling Raylan that he needed to practice riding.  He insisted on training wheels, and he told us he didn't want to crash into anything (he has a hard time braking), so we took him to the most wide open space we could find.

Amy helps Kiddo and Raylan practice their bike skills.

Later on Sunday we mostly played outside (we had great weather all weekend).  We got groceries and got exercise (taking turns).  Both kids actually took naps (Raylan has had a bit of a cold, so he actually passed out).  We played a little bit inside, too.

Another one of Raylan's cool marble runs
Sunday night I had band practice.  It ended up being just Reed, Frank, and I, but it was a good one.

And that was the weekend!