February 2005


Wow. Wow. Wow.

Marc Swendner is a god. Ok, maybe not a god, but a demi-god, for sure.

I say that because his photography is amazing.

Marc came over last Friday with his two assistants and his lighting equipment and took photos for Christine and I. I’ve posted a few of them here, just so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about:

Flying Jack by Marc Swendner

On top of taking great photos, Marc is great on the service end of things too. He had proofs of our photos to us very quickly, and was able to get us a few of the best photos within a day or two, so we could use them at Jack’s baptism reception (the fact that I forgot to take them to said baptism should be ignored for a moment).

Marc is a great photographer, and I’m lucky to be able to call him my friend.

If you are looking for a photographer for any occasion, or for portraits or other shots, shoot him and email or call him. His contact information is on his website.

Finally got around to cataloging a few more photos we’ve taken, and thus, I posted these galleries today:

Peggy Visits
Taking a bath
Standing in the crib
The Dog and his Jack
Jack up close and personal

Today, Jack turned 3 months old.

He’s such a little man now, folks.

He gets up every morning with a smile on his face around 6 a.m. to eat breakfast (definitely doesn’t take after his Dad there) and plays with Mommy until 7 or 8 a.m. Then Mommy wakes up Daddy so Daddy can go to work. Jack gets a kiss from Daddy, and if he’s awake, he sends Daddy off to work with a big smile.

Then he usually naps from around 9 a.m. until noon or so, and wakes up with a voracious appetite. After his noon meal, Mommy and Jack head off to the nursery to play. Jack plays with all sorts of things now: He bats at his floor gym toys that hang over head, rattles his rattles (and tries to eat some of them). He loves his butterfly toy that makes all sorts of noises and has many different places he can hold onto it.

Somedays Mommy and Jack do baby aerobics, which Jack just absolutely loves. That always gets a giggle out of him. (Baby aerobics is basically Mommy bouncing around the room with Jack in her arms to the tune of Jack’s playtime music CD.) Daddy joins them during playtime whenever his schedule permits… though that’s not often enough, and never long enough.

After playtime, Jack eats a hearty afternoon meal before taking a short nap, usually with Mommy on the couch.

As the workday comes to a close, Jack sits in his bouncy seat and watches his Baby Einstein DVDs for a few minutes while Mom figures out what’s for dinner. Dad usually emerges from his office around this time, and plays with Jack until dinner is ready, or, if Mommy’s real lucky, Dad cooks dinner sometimes too.

At dinner time we all sit down for a family meal. Dad at the head of the table, Mommy at his side, and Jack on the table in his bouncy seat. Discussions at dinner range from what Jack did that day, to how our families and friends are doing, to what we’re doing that weekend or next. Sometimes Jack is in a fun mood at dinner, sometimes he’s not.

After dinner, Dad usually spends time with Jack while Mommy gets caught up on things she needs to get done. Jack does a lot of standing and jumping whenever he’s with Daddy. You should see how excited he gets to see the baby that comes to visit him in his mirror. It’s a hoot.

Around 7 p.m. or so, Jack’s day is beginning to wind down, and he is usually ready for a nap. Sometimes he takes his evening nap in his crib, and sometimes he takes it in his swingy seat. Mommy and Daddy try to watch a little TV during this nap, and relax a little.

Man it's been a long day
Man it’s been a long day

Anywhere from 9 – 11, Jack starts to wake up for his nightcap. He eats his last meal of the day, while barely awake, and then heads off to his crib to sleep. He’ll usually make it to about 3 a.m., before waking Mommy up for his early morning meal (gotta teach him where the fridge is someday).

During that 3 a.m. meal, Jack usually looks up at Mommy and smiles real big, and Mommy tries not to laugh at Jack, because he’s the one that got them both up, but she just can’t help it. They laugh at each other for a while, and then he finishes eating before Mommy puts him back to bed for the rest of the night.

And then we do it all over again.

Man how time flies.

It was a long week last week… sorry for the lack of updates. So let’s start where we left off.

On Monday night, Valentine’s Day, Elise and Josh came over and babysat Jack for us, so Christine and I could go out for Valentine’s day. We decided to do something low-key, but fun, so we went to the Alamo Drafthouse and watched “Hitch” while eating dinner and having a couple of beers.

Hitch is a hilarious movie, especially for two middle-aged parents that don’t get to see movies in the theatre any more. Actually, it’s a good movie for anyone. Will Smith is great in it. We laughed pretty much all the way through it.

Also on Monday, Christine met with her boss and told him that she was more interested in raising our son for the next six months to a year than she was in coming straight back to work. He was totally understanding, and asked her if she’d mind staying on the employment rolls, and helping out here and there with reviewing reports and the like. She said that she’d be happy to help out when her time permitted. I’m so thankful she works for a company that can afford to be understanding of her wants and needs and can accomodate her for the short-term, with their long-term interests being protected as well. She’s an asset to any company, and I’m glad they know that too.

Let’s see… then the week flew by. I don’t really remember us doing anything spectacular last week. Oh, I closed my first couple of sales at the office. Felt good to finally do that.

On Thursday, Christine and I joined Weight Watchers. I’m tired of not being able to button the neck on my dress shirts when I wear a tie. And I can’t afford to keep buying new suits and new shirts. Enough said. Erin babysat Jack while we were there… Jack told me he had a great time hanging out with Erin after she left.

Then, the weekend came. And I was lucky enough to have President’s day off.

Christine saddled me with the kiddo for a few hours each day, so she could get out and get some things accomplished, and we did a little visiting with friends as well.

On Sunday we met with Pastor John at the church about Jack’s baptism, and Elise and Josh joined us. Afterwards, Josh and I hung out with Jack while the girls went shopping, or something. Then Sunday night, we joined Lisa and Spencer (Lisa is Christine’s cousing from Tulsa who now lives in Austin) for dinner and conversation. Lisa cooked an amazing roast and ice-cream pie. I mean an amazing roast! Spencer’s doing well in his MBA program. Wish we got to hang out with them more often…

On Monday, Elise and Christine drove all over town getting things finalized for the baptism coming up this weekend… Jack and I stayed home and drank beer and smoked cigars. Ok, that last part isn’t true, but I’ve got to make sure you’re still reading.

And I forgot: On Sunday afternoon, Christine and I were playing with Jack in his nursery, and he started laughing while we were playing “Flying Jack” so Christine shot the footage in this quick video … He’s too funny here:

Believe it or not, I’m walking on air…

We had a great weekend folks. Peggy came to visit, and she really helped Christine and I relax on Saturday night, so we could enjoy ourselves at dinner at Hudson’s on the Bend. Dinner was truly amazing. Amazing. After dinner, we stopped by Debbie and Raymond’s lakehouse to visit with them and Uncle Roland and Aunt Barbara, and to see the new bathroom.

This morning, Christine and I got up and went to church, and then afterwards, we took Peggy and Jack to lunch at Serrano’s on the river downtown. Before lunch, while Peggy and Christine were playing with Jack, I happened to grab the camera and take a quick movie. It’s too cute:

A Laughing Movie starring Jack, Christine and Peggy

Jack’s starting to learn how to laugh folks!

Oh, and thanks again for coming to babysit for us Aunt Peggy.

This weekend is gonna be great.

First, our Aunt Peggy (my mom’s younger sister) is coming up to Austin for the weekend. She’s offered to “baby sit” for Christine and I tonight, so we can have a good Valentine’s Day dinner. We have reservations at Hudson’s on the Bend, which is where Christine and I had our first nice dinner in Austin two years ago.

We’ll probably start dinner tonight with the Diamond Back Rattlesnake Cakes or their Giant Rabbit Ravioli. We’ve had the Rattlesnake cakes before, and they’re fantastic. I think for salad I’ll have the  Ruby Red Grapefruit and Avocado Salad while Christine might have the Candied Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese atop Mixed Field Greens. For the actual meal, I’m thinking of having Venison Osso Buco, Chorizo stuffed Pork Tenderloin, or the Rack of Venison. I might talk Christine into eating the Cascabel & Espresso rubbed Smoked Elk Backstrap, or the Pecan Smoked Duck Breast.

My mouth is watering this morning, just thinking of dinner tonight.

On Sunday, we’re planning on spending time running a few errands and spending time catching up with Aunt Peggy.

Then, on Monday, Christine is having lunch with her boss to talk about future employment options, and that night, we’re thinking of going out to a movie, as Josh and Elise have graciously offered to babysit Jack for us on Monday night.

Valentine's Day Coupon

What a treat. Two nights out in one “weekend”.

Like I said: We’re looking forward to this weekend.

Guess what folks. There’s a whole new world at 7:00 am on a Saturday morning that I didn’t know about, or at least didn’t remember.

Who knew the sun got up early on Saturday mornings too?

And who knew that the big three networks had news shows at 7 am? Cartoons aren’t on ABC, CBS, or NBS until 9 o’clock in the morning? Time to watch the WB I guess. Or maybe HGTV?

Jack just wants to be up with me. He doesn’t care what I watch.

We gave Jack a bath the other night, and now that he’s enjoying them, I decided to take some photos. Due to Christine’s censorhip of the exposing photos, there are no money shots, so the photo gallery is PG-13. View at your own discretion though 😉

And last night, I took some time to talk Jack into sitting up for the camera. I know he does things like sit up, stand, walk, and play baseball when he’s in his nursery and he knows no one will be barging in on him, but he won’t do those things for us yet on command. So I promised him some girl-scout cookies when he’s able to eat them if he’s let me take some photos of him sitting up. (I hope all of the girl-scout cookies we bought don’t disappear between now and when he’s old enough to eat them). Here are some photos of Jack sitting, and then making funny faces at me after he got tired of sitting up.

I wandered out into the backyard last night while cooking the steaks we had for dinner, and took some night time photos of the tulip tree. It’s in full bloom right now and is stunningly gorgeous. Remember, if you want to see it in bloom, you probably need to come over to the house in the next week or so… the blooms will be dropping soon.

Tulip Tree at Night

We were treated to a visit from Sandy Budnick and her boyfriend Jason on Monday during the day as they travelled home from spending a weekend in Wimberly.

Sandy brought Jack a really nice cross-stich that’s hanging in his room now. Hand-made gifts really are precious.

It was really nice of them to stop by, but I wish I wasn’t working when they did… It’s tough to visit with friends when you’re “at the office”. Christine visited with them for an hour or so, though, and enjoyed it a lot. Jack did too.

Sandy holding Jack

Last week, I was in New York all week. I went there on business, as we had a quarterly sales meeting at the new corporate offices. I was in New York Tuesday – Friday.

Thank gosh Christine made me go to Foley’s and buy a good wool overcoat. It was 20 degrees in New York most of the week. If I didn’t have the overcoat, I don’t know what I would have done.

The sales meeting was very productive, and after work each day, we all headed to a bar to get to know each other better. Each night was long, and that made for a tough Friday. I was doing all I could to stay awake at the airport waiting on my flight to leave.

I was really glad to be back home on Friday night.

While I was in New York, Christine and Jack spent the week in Dallas with Grandmother and Granddad. Christine spent some of her time there visiting our old friends from Fort Worth, and from the sounds of it, I missed out on some fun lunches and dinners, and visits with the old neighbors. Christine didn’t take any pictures like she was supposed to, so I don’t have any pictures to share with you… sorry.

When I got home on Friday, I swear Jack had grown 2 inches. His face has filled out, and he’s definitely developed some new skills. Jack is now almost laughing at times, and has learned how to be ticklish (I think Mary taught him that skill). He’s making more noises now, and has a lot better motor skills. He can now hold an object in his hand for a little while. It’s funny to see him holding his toys… he can hold them, but can’t actually control his movements… it’s cute.

On Saturday, we drove home, and briefly visited the brithday party Josh threw for Elise and Michelle. It was Elise’s 30th birthday party, and Josh did it right. Wish we could have stayed longer, but we had a good time while we were there. [photos here]

On Sunday we watched the Super Bowl, which I’ve already written about.

On Monday night, I realized that I missed New York, so I pulled two strip steaks out of the fridge, and grilled two New York Strip Steaks for Christine and I. And before I cooked the steaks, I spent 20 minutes excercising… probably the first 20 minutes of excercise I’ve done in a year… my calves hurt today.

Christine and I hosted a small Super Bowl get together today, primarly because last night we meant to spend time at Josh and Elise’s celebrating Elise’s 30th birthday and Michelle’s birthday, but we had to leave early because it was past Jack’s bed-time.

Kim, Brad, Elise, Josh, and Victor all came over. Brad brought some brisket he’d cooked the day before that was really good. Josh brought some salsa. And Victor brought paper towels. (Gotta love it when your friends pitch in).

It was fun to watch the game with good friends that were looking for a laid back environment to watch the game in.

Jack enjoyed the game, and went to bed right before it ended. He’s sleeping good now that the Patriots won.

I played with Jack a little this morning, and shot some quick video footage of him in his bouncy chair. His facial features are really starting to develop, and he’s kicking and grasping for things with his hands:

Jack and His Bouncy Seat Movie
(Quicktime required)

I also took a few pictures today of him in the bouncy chair … some of them are too cute.

So, I’m about to turn in for the night, when someone emails me about the latest website for dog lovers…

It’s a place that any dog lover can visit to order some really yummy “scooby snacks” for their most precious companion

check it out for yourself:
Brown Dog Institute

Yum, yum…

We took Jack to our church on Sunday, January 30th, so that we could introduce him to the congregation. We aren’t an extremely devout family, but we want to be more active in the church, so this past weekend was our first attempt to do so.

Christine read that our church was inviting all babies born in 2004 to come to church Sunday morning to meet the congregation and to be a part of a ceremony celebrating their birth. We thought that was a perfect way to introduce Jack to the church.

We met Erin and Kaulen at church, and asked them to take pictures of us. We had our little camera, and Kaulen was kind enough and thoughtful enough to bring her good camera with the telephoto lens to get some closer shots than our camera would handle properly.

Going to church with Jack was fun. We started downstairs in the pews with the rest of the congregation, but soon after our introduction ceremony, we headed upstairs to the cry room. The cry room was really nice, and was full of babies (not all of them were crying).

We listened to as much of the sermon as we could, and then later went downstairs to join the church. That was comical… we barely made it to the front of the church in time to join the new member ceremony, but we did.

After church, we were welcomed into the fold by the congregation, and we ran into Stewart Pickard, whom I worked with while at the Statesman, and his wife Lisa.

Thanks to Erin and Kaulen, we have photos of the event to share with you.