Tonight is Jack’s first Halloween, and because it’s a Monday, he’ll actually be dressing up for the 3rd time this weekend.

On Saturday, Christine, Jack and I headed over to a neighbors house for their 2nd Annual Halloween Playgroup (yess, grown men go to playgroups too). Jack was too cute, as were the other kids in the neighborhood.

Jack was a “Jack in the box” this year, and he wore a costume that was completely handmade. Christine made the outfit on her sewing machine, and we painted the box in the backyard. The final touches to the outfit were added here and there (that means while Jack was napping) over the past week, with it all coming together on Friday night. The end result:


Christine did a great job, didn’t she?

We loaded our “Jack in the box” up in his little red wagon, and walked around the corner to the neighbor’s. Jack made it about 1/2 way before he had to come out of the box… he wasn’t digging it as much as we’d hoped.

At the playgroup, all of the kids played inside and outside, with parents hovering, talking, and taking photos. It was our first time to meet the hosts, and they were lots of fun. At the party, two of the five moms that were present were pregnant… must be something in the water.

See all of the photos from the playgroup here, those kids sure were cute. There’s nothing like seeing Superman testing the slide before going down it, or Piglet sitting at the foot of the slide. Here’s a princes in a swing, and another princess trying to get up on the hammock, a Jack sliding down the slide, and a hula girl sliding down too.

We came home around 5:30 and relaxed before our more adult party that started at 7:30.

Around 7:40, we headed over to Erin Taylor’s house for Carlo and Erin’s annual Halloween bash. We’ve attended this party two years in a row now, so we were excited about taking Jack this year. They toned it down a bit this year, but it was loads of fun…

Here’s a photo of the “Classic Toy Family”:


Baby Doll, Jack in the Box, and a Toy Soldier

See the rest of the photos from Carlo and Erin’s party here. And yes, Jack was the life of the party till Jack and I came home at 9:00 … after that, you’ll have to ask Christine, but I heard that it got pretty crazy.

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 260 user reviews.

Jack turned 11 months old on 10/23/05, which was this past Sunday.

In keeping with our recently started tradition of posting a milestone update as Jack gets older, here is the list of stuff Jack does now, at 11 months of age:

  • Jack now walks pretty well while holding on to only one hand from his walking helper (usually Mommy or Daddy).
  • While walking with a one-handed grip on his helper, he still holds his other hand up in the air, like he’s holding onto his helper with two hands… It’s too funny. He looks like he’s walking and saying “Yaaaay!” the whole time.
  • Jack is now a climber. Jack can climb up into his Janicek rocking chair really well, which makes Christine laugh, while at the same time putting the fear of God into her that Jack is going to fall out of the chair and break his head.
  • Jack dances. A lot. He hears music during a TV commercial, and he starts dancing. He hears the background track to a movie or TV show and he moves a little. He listens to the radio or a CD in the car and he grooves in his car seat.
  • Jack communicates relatively well. Jack can now tell us what he needs with basic signs and sounds… he doesn’t say words perse, but he can tell us what he needs.
  • When he’s done eating, he claps… meaning “yay, I’m done”.
  • When he’s hungry or thirsty and you ask him if he is, he acts very animated and looks to you to satisfy his need.
  • He says bye-bye and waves, though not always at the right time.
  • He says “da-da” and “ma-ma” mostly at the right time now… and he acts excited and calls us by name when he hasn’t seen either of us in a while.
  • Jack loves to go outside, as he always has, but he’s now not afraid to crawl around in the grass (he used to hate the grass).
  • Jack ooo’s and ah’s and squeaks and squawks, and says “uh-oh” and “quack-quack” when he sees his ducky. I think spending so much time with Raymond’s ducks this summer makes Jack partial to duck toys at times… though he loves his ba-ba and his big doggy, and his froggy too… He just can’t call those by name, but he knows his duck is a “quack-quack”. Come to think of it, he knows his cow is a “moo-moo” too.
  • Cagney is Jack’s riding buddy in the car (Cagney is a stuffed lion). When we get in the car, Jack’s just fine if he has his Cagney with him and his face lights up when he sees it. If we ask him where Cagney is (from the front seat) and he’s holding Cagney, he’ll usually hold him up to show us where he is.
  • Jack is a very happy baby when he’s not sick. He has a bout of illnesses there for about a month that he just couldn’t get over. In the past 3-4 weeks he’s been very well, and so much fun to be around.
  • Jack knows how to open the cabinets in the Kitchen, and he knows that he shouldn’t play with them, so he opens the ones he can, and then closes them, basically playing “open and close” with himself most of the time he’s messing with the cabinets. It’s cute.
  • Back to climbing: Jack can climb up on the dishwasher door when it’s open and we’re putting dishes in the dishwasher or taking them out. This makes it a challenge to do the dishes quickly, but it’s fun. He also climbs into the fridge when the door is open.
  • Jack plays “push the refridgerator door” when he’s standing in the fridge. He’ll stand there, holding onto one of the fridge shelves, and the door will close towards him, so he’ll turn and push it open and go back to the shelf, at which point the door will be swinging closed again. This back and forth will go on for hours if we let it… it’s cute to see Jack get frustrated with the door that keeps trying to close on him.
  • Jack is now taking toys apart if he can. He can disassemble the lego blocks that Grandmother and Granddad gave to him… and then he’ll try to put them back together, but he can’t quite line them up just yet… and he gets royally pissed. That’s funny to watch too, but we have to stop it eventually, so he doesn’t go balistic.
  • Jack knows not to play with the electrical outlets, or the gas lines that stick out of the floor, and will usually start shaking his head “no” as he gets close to playing with them… almost as if he’s telling himself no.
  • Jack went to his very first tailgate party on Saturday before the t.u. vs. Texas Tech game. Murphy (friends from Freese and Nichols) and his friends have this bus called the “Texas Pig” that they host a party at before every home game, so while Christine was working on Jack’s halloween suit, Jack and I went up there to hang out. I just have to figure out now how to get more of Jack’s “firsts” related to Aggie stuff instead of t.u. stuff… we need to find a way to buy season tickets next year without spending a million bucks to do it.

I’m sure there’s more I could add to this list, but it’s so hard to catch everything Jack does now… he’s growing and learning new things at such a rapid pace.

As Jack gets older and develops his own little personailty, it gets tougher and tougher for me to leave him for a sales trip. I think about all the time I’m missing with him, and I’m thankful that I work out of the house and I can spend lunches with him, and see him at various times thoughout the days when I’m home. I’m looking forward to taking a couple of weeks off during the holidays to compensate for the travel I’ve done this year.

Christine and I were looking at photos of Jack from when he was born the other night, and we just can’t believe how much he’s grown.

Jack turns one year old on 11/23/05 and we’re going to celebrate his birthday with a party on 11/25 or 11/26 (the weekend after Thanksgiving). I’m not in charge, so I’m not 100% on the date, but if you’d like to join us for the party, you’re definitely invited (we know a lot of folks will be out of town that weekend, so the more the merrier if you’re staying in Austin).

Here’s looking forward to another month.

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 207 user reviews.

On Tuesday morning, Brad Patak called and left a voicemail for me saying that he had an extra ticket to the Merle Haggard concert that night, and asked if I wanted to go.

I immediately called Christine and asked permission to go. She consented, and so I called Brad back to accept the invitation. I was going to see Merle Haggard in concert!

Around 6:00 p.m., Brad met me at my house, and I drove over to the Backyard. We parked, and got our tickets from Will Call, and entered the concert. Merle was playing at “the Glen” which is a smaller venue at the Backyard’s location. It was nice and cozy, and had maybe 20 rows of seats down near the stage, and lots of grass seating as you progressed up the hill from the stage to the entrance at the back of the venue.

When we arrived, some band was playing the opening, warming up the stage for Merle. We got two beers each, and hung out in the back talking.

Around 8:00, one of Merle’s long time friends and songwriters (Freddie Persons maybe?) came on stage and playing a few songs to warm up the crowd a little more. He also had some great one-line zingers that he threw in there between songs… Brad and I got a chuckle out of that.

Then Merle finally came on, and he opened with Mama Tried.

Talk about cool… seeing Merle Haggard play in a relatively small venue, listening to his signature guitar riffs and singing along with the songs we know all of the words too. Songs like: Mama Tried, Working Man’s Blues, Fightin’ Side of Me, Silverwings, etc…

Merle closed the show at 9:15 or 9:30 with Okie from Muskogee, and the crowd tried to get into it with him… I think they would have, but the venue didn’t keep the lights on the crowd long enough… Everyone was singing, but not standing and really putting there all into it. Bad move on the lighting guy’s part.

After Okie from Muskogee, Merle was done, which was bittersweet. It was good because it was 9:30 on a Tuesday night, and I had to get on a plane at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning, we still had to stop by Josh and Elise’s to let their cat in (they flew to Vegas Tuesday afternoon for the night) and we both needed to get home as it’s a work day today. But it was bad, because we wanted to see one or two more songs… we wanted an encore.

Regardless, it was a great night. How many people get to see Merle Haggard on a Tuesday night in the Hill Country surroundings of Austin? Not many, I’d bet.

Thanks for the invite Brad… we’ll have to do it again.

update: I posted the photos I took at the concert here.

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 159 user reviews.

Jack and I went over to Josh and Elise’s house this weekend, to watch Josh cook up pounds and pounds of Tuna filet that Phillip Ivey caught offshore recently. I don’t have time right now to write up a good story for the whole night. Suffice to say that Jack and I had a blast, and the food was mmmm, mmmm scrumptious.

Here’s a photo from the evening, where I got to display my super powers:

A Father’s Super Powers

Too funny Josh!

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 based on 262 user reviews.

I’ve got a bunch of stuff sitting around the house taking up space, not being used, and in need of a good home, so… I’ve decided to start selling stuff on eBay instead of donating it, or trashing it. My loss is your gain. Take a look if you see something you like:

I’m sure that I’ll be adding more this week and next, so you should bookmark my “search for auctions from me” page, in case I don’t update this website with a longer list.

Here’s a little theme music for you too.

updated: I added a few more items to eBay on Monday night:

  • Wacom Intuos3 6×8 Graphics Tablet – Professional Graphics Tablet for artists, photograpers, and doodlers.
  • Valeo 4″ Weight-lifting Belt – I honestly can’t believe I actually bought this… I don’t think I ever needed it… I wasn’t lifting that much weight… heh.
  • Corel Painter IX – The latest version of Corel Painter (great software) in a sealed unopened box. Full retail software here folks, that normally sells for $400 or so.
  • Belkin Laptop/Notebook Backpack – great little padded backpack for a laptop or notebook computer.
  • Apple M8209LL/A AirPort Base Station – A little dated, sure, but it’s a good Airport Base Station that was a workhorse for me for the past 3+ years… I upgraded to an Airport Express recently, so this guy needs a home.

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 based on 291 user reviews.

Jack graduated to boyhood today.

He officially went from being a baby to being a little boy today.

How, might you ask, did Jack become a little boy today?

He bled.

His first bleed. He got his first bo-bo.

And he bled.

Jack, Christine and I were enjoying ourselves in the living room tonight, before dinner… We’d tuned the TV to the music channel (rap music specifically) and we were all dancing.

Christine went into the kitchen to finish up dinner, while Jack and I continued dancing. He was bebopping along, shaking his head and booty, when all of a sudden…

BAM!

He’d pulled himself close to the couch table, and then rocked his head forward to the beat. And BAAAM!

He hit his chin on the table… really hard, and I saw him instantly wince in pain. I immediately picked him up to try to console him.

I then handed him to his Mommy, who’d come running from the kitchen, he had a little blood bubble in this mouth that he was spitting out.

I told him “Man, buddy, that was a good one” while Christine teared up at her little boy’s first bloody accident.

We went into the kitchen to see if we could figure out what was bleeding, but we couldn’t… he wouldn’t let us look inside his mouth, so I got a washcloth from the bathroom, put a piece of ice in it, and got it wet so he could suck on it.

He liked that, so we stood there by the sink, letting him suck on a wet rag, while we tried to figure out if he’d busted out a tooth, cut his top gums, or busted his lip…

He finally calmed down, so we all sat down for dinner, and as Jack was eating, I noticed the little spot inside his bottom lip that was busted… he’d bitten his bottom lip with his two little teeth.

From today forward Jack is officially a little boy… never again to be a baby. He’s shed blood.

It won’t be the last time either, of that I’m sure.

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 155 user reviews.

On Thursday night, Christine and her group of girlfriends got together for their “Third Thursday Thenorita’s” night.

As Christine was getting ready, Cyndi called and wanted to tell Christine that she was running late too, and that she was probably taking Rowan with her, and that she’d only be staying for a few minutes, but that she was definitely going to “drop by”…

I couldn’t let that stand, so instead of handing the phone to Christine, I told her to just bring Rowan over, and that I’d watch him…

Ummm. As soon as that slipped out of my mouth I thought to myself “oh shit… what did I just volunteer for?”

Cyndi said “are you sure?”

I said “of course I’m sure… bring him over, we’ll see you in a bit.” And I hung up.

So, around 5:30, Cyndi showed up, and brought Rowan in the house. He was acting shy, but Christine was almost ready, and so, we all walked outside, with the Wesley dog, and got the little red wago out of the garage.

I put Jack into it, and then asked Rowan if he wanted to walk or ride to the park. He just sort of whined and clutched himself closer to his mommy… so we explained that she was leaving and he had to stay with me.

Cyndi handed him to me, and I held him, and he seemed okay… though he didn’t want to stand up, or to sit in the wagon… and he was heavy (man that kid’s getting big … he’s 2 years and 2 months old), so I slung him up on my shoulders, and we all set off for the park.

I had Rowan on my shoulders, was pulling Jack in the wagon and holding onto Wesley’s leash, somehow, while carrying a camera in one shorts pocket and a cell phone, keys, and garage door opener in the other… I’m sure I looked sort of funny…

Jack and RowanAbout 1/4 of the way to the park, Rowan pointed at the wagon and sort of grunted at it… with a little “down” word coming out of his mouth, so I asked him if he wanted into the wagon, and he said “uh, huh”

I put him into the red wagon with Jack and he buckled himself in, which impressed me, and we all three strolled on to the park… having a merry old time.

When we arrived at Patterson Park, I slowly pulled Jack and Rowan up the hill from the street to the playground. As we four-wheeled it across all of the bumps and rocks, Rowan started giggling at every bump… so I looked for more of them… and he giggled more, contagiously getting Jack to giggle along with him. It was cute.

As we arrived at the playground, I got Rowan out of the wagon first and put him on the ground. He took off running after the black birds that were playing under some trees, as I took Jack out of the wagon, then my cellphone rang. It was Brad Patak, and he was around the corner at my house, dropping by for a visit. I asked him to meet us at the park, and then talked him into his parking spot, and we all said hi to Mr. Brad.

Rowan was having fun dragging Wesley all over the park, up onto the gymnasium pieces, and down the slides with him, while Brad and I tried to keep an eye on him while keeping Jack from eating rocks that he found on the ground.

After 10 minutes or so of running around, Rowan spotted the swings, and asked to get on them, so Brad and I put Jack and Rowan in the swings and we pushed them higher and higher, then less and less, then higher and higher, ad nausem… for a good 20 minutes or so, while we chatted about things like fishing, and bosses, and jobs… manly stuff… so the little boys knew what they had to look forward to.

After swinging, it was time to crawl up and down some of the playthings for Jack. Jack crawled up the steps all on his own on the smaller gymnasium thingy all by himself (with Dad close behind) while Brad kept an eye on Rowan, who was “borrowing” a trike that one of the other kids at the park had brought with them. Meanwhile, some mom came up to me with a whiny kid in her arms and asked if they could ‘take a quick ride’ in the red wagon. I said “sure” and thanked the little boy for asking.

Jack and I played on the gym set, and Rowan brought Wesley over to join us. The two boys then posed for a quick picture for me. After that photo, it was time to go.

We loaded up the red wagon, and walked Brad back to his truck, said our goodbyes, and headed home. We were all sort of exhausted after an hour at the park (ok, I was, but the boys seemed just fine … and Wesley was a little winded after running around so much with Rowan but he loved every minute of it).

When we got home, it was dinner time.

I put Jack in his high-chair first, and then got him a cracker to keep him busy. I then put Rowan in his chair, and got him a cracker too. Then I started Rowan’s EasyMac, while the two boys devoured a can of diced fruit (peaches, pears, and pineapple). I put all of the fruit in a little bowl, and asked Rowan if Jack could have some. He gave Jack a few pieces all by himself, and then proceeded to eat the rest of the fruit (Jack had plenty, and I had to tell Rowan that… he was more than happy to share more).

I finished up the EasyMac for Rowan, and returned to the dining room to see that Jack had stolen the last few pieces of fruit from Rowan, and the fruit bowl … heh… Rowan was looking at me like “I don’t know how he got that bowl.” Too fun!

So I put the EasyMac in front of Rowan with his fork and spoon, told him it was hot, and went back to the kitchen to get Jack’s Gerber Macaroni and Beef heated up.

I fed Jack his Mac and Beef a few pieces at a time, while Rowan worked on eating his EasyMac … blowing on each spoonful until it was cool, before eating it (smart kid). Jack got messier than hell with that dark sauce that was in the Mac and Beef, and didn’t like the beef at all (probably because Mom didn’t make it) and after a while, Rowan slipped Jack a spoonful of EasyMac, because he could tell Jack would like it better. He did.

When Rowan was done, we let him get down to chase the “Meow-Meow” (Patton), which he did very well in fact… eventually getting Patton riled up enough that Patton swatted at him. So we told the kitty good-night and locked him in the bedroom. Jack finished off the EasyMac while I wasn’t looking, and he was done with dinner too.

I took Jack into the kitchen, and asked Rowan to watch him, while I cleaned up the dishes a little, and then we retired to Jack’s room to play, after we all washed our hands and our faces.

Rowan and Jack took turns bringing me books to read to them, which I dutifully did. We had a grand old time playing until Wesley got a little riled up (Rowan loves chasing him) while I was changing Jack’s diaper. Wesley got a little crazy and scared Rowan, and Rowan started crying pretty inconsolably, so I picked him up, and then picked Jack up. And Jack starts to cry because Rowan is.

So there I am, holding them both in my arms, one on each hip, and they’re both crying so despairably that I can’t figure out how to get them to stop. They’re feeding off of each other, and I’m about to lose it. It was close to 8:00, which is when the girls were supposed to be home, so I grabbed the phone and dialed, putting it on speaker phone while holding it between Jack and Rowan.

Both boys stopped crying. Like just stopped… at exactly the same time…

They were both entranced by the phone in my hands, ringing.

Christine answered, and I asked if they were heading home. They were around the corner.

When they arrived, I handed each kid to their respective mothers, and I grabbed a beer out of the fridge. Out of the 12-pack that’s been sitting in there for a month… I generally don’t drink beer at home, but I felt I deserved one after making it through those past 2 and a half hours.

Moms have my utmost respect, and my mom has even more of my respect now than ever. It was a tough five minutes that did me in, though… just that 5 minutes where they were both crying… other than that, the evening was wonderful and lots of fun. I really enjoyed it.

Later that night, Christine and I bathed Jack and put him to bed in his brand new Superman PJs:

Man those are some cool pajamas.

See all the photos from the evening here.

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 based on 224 user reviews.

Earlier this year, Evan took an old Chevy pickup that was sitting in a pasture off one of his in-laws hands. It looked like crap at the time, as it’d been sitting in that pasture for a long time…

But today, it looks amazing:

It’s been refinished, repainted, repaired, refurbished and refitted… just about everything under the sun that Evan could do to it, he’s done… even down to the new pimped steering wheel and interior…

Great looking truck that I hope to see sometime in person in the next few weeks.

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 152 user reviews.

After we went to Baby Signs class on Monday night, we headed to Josh and Elise’s for some smoke Alaskan King Crab and Chicken Salad.

And, boy, was it good!

When we got to their house, Jack played with Riley, their cat, and tried to steal a kiss from him… Jack liked Riley, because he’s let him get close enough to pet him (Patton runs away pretty quickly when Jack is in the vicinity).

On to the crab and salad:

The King Crab was left over from a catering that Elise did this past weekend. And it was huge. Really huge. Here’s a photo of one crab leg on a plate. Here’s Josh holding one. Here’s a photo of the bag of crab legs… there were so many. I think Josh and I ate 8 or 9 crab legs together, and there were still 8 or 9 left. And man, were they good. Chef Happy (he cooked them) did a great job.

For the girls (pregnant Elise and sensitive stomach Christine can’t eat a lot of shellfish), Josh make grilled chicken salads with his special “poblano, cilantro & avocado” salad dressing, cheese, and pomegranate seeds. The salads were pretty damn good too… actually, I didn’t try the salad, but I did taste the salad dressing and it was amazng and Christine cleared her plate… and I helped pick the pomegranate seeds out of the fruit for him, and they were really good.

Our plates were full of crab shells when it was all said and done.

After dinner, Christine and I decided to stay over with Josh and Elise, instead of waking Jack up for the drive home, so…

Josh and I retired to the deck, with his laptop and some refreshments. Christine and Elise stayed inside talking.

We took some fun photos outside: Headshot without a head, Ahhhh!, That’s gonna hurt tomorrow, Annie’s “not sure about this” pose, Surreal Josh and real Jack, Really gonna hurt tomorrow, Fuzzy girls.

After we drained a good 3/4 or 4/5 of that bottle, we turned in for the night. 5:30 a.m. (when Jack woke up on Tuesday) came real early.

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 based on 240 user reviews.

Jack, Christine and I went to Gymboree on Monday night, to attend Jack’s second Baby Signs class.

Wow! Jack had soooo much fun, it’s hard to write about it, so instead, I give you these three photos of Jack playing on the Gymboree equipment prior to the class (click to see larger versions):

We got there early and played on the Gymboree equipment for 15 minutes or so, and then, when everyone that was in the class had arrived, the teacher corraled us all into the Baby Signs room.

We (us and about 5 other parents/kids combinations) say in a circle on the floor (made of soft squishy material) with our kids in front of us. The kids when wild, crawling all over each other, and playing with the community owned toys.

Jack wasn’t scared at all, or shy, which is good. He also didn’t have any concerns about germs, as he was easily gumming and chewing any toy he could hold on to. One of the kids is 15 months, and the rest are about 11 months old. The 15 month old is definitely more mobile, and into everything… he also throws louder temper tantrums than the rest of the kids.

Watching the parents was also interesting, because while Christine and I were satisfied to let Jack chew on whatever he wanted, even if another kid had just put a toy down, there was one parent there that wouldn’t let her kiddo play with anything another kid had touched… well, she’d let her baby play with it, but not put it in her mouth. Most of the parents didn’t care, though we all had to watch out for the 15 month old running over our own kids, or stealing toys from. It was interesting to watch the group dynamics.

The kids were an absolute joy to watch. They played, and sang songs, while we all signed the words in the songs to them. This week was “Bathtime” words, so we learned “duck” and “water” and “bath” and “frog” and best of all: “bubbles.”

The teacher got out two bins of water, with little baby dolls, and we bathed them, and played in the water. Lots of wet fun!

Then she got out a bubble maker, and blew bubbles in the air. Jack went nuts! He was crawling all over the room trying to pop all of the bubbles, and doing a pretty good job of it. It was so much fun to watch.

I’m looking forward to next week’s class already.

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 285 user reviews.

This past weekend can be summed up in one moment. On Sunday afternoon, Christine and I drove into our driveway after a great night out and saw Aunt Peggy and Jack sitting in the front yard on a blanket playing.

That moment made this weekend perfect.

Jack looked so happy sitting there with a few toys and a smile on his face, in Aunt Peggy’s lap. As soon as we stepped out of the car he waved at us and then acted shy and leaned into Peggy’s chest… then he realized who we were and acted excited to see us…

Jack had a good weekend.

Backtracking to Friday: Christine and Jack pulled into the driveway, after their treck to Bellville this past weekend, with Aunt Peggy in tow (she pulled up right behind them) around 6:00. I was in the middle of cooking dinner for them. As soon as they got settled in the house, we all sat down and ate. Then I bathed Jack and we all put him to bed. Peggy, Christine and I stayed up watching Ghost Whisperer and looking at photos from the Fair.

On Saturday morning, Christine woke me up at 6:00 a.m. to get up with Jack, so I got up, made myself some coffee and a bottle of for Jack, and played with Jack. I tried to feed him breakfast around 7:15, because I thought he was getting sleepy… he wasn’t hungry… and then I tried to put him down… he wasn’t sleepy either. His protestrations woke Christine up, so she joined us, and we three played in his room until Peggy got up. Then we all ate breakfast together before Jack took a nap.

I then did some yardwork in the backyard (we have a bunch of limbs that needed collecting and chopping up) and mowed the front yard (didn’t have the time or energy to mow the backyard) while Peggy took care of Jack and Christine went grocery shopping.

Christine and I were invited to Brian DeRosa and Erin Bayer’s wedding, which was a 2:00 p.m. in downtown Austin. We got ready, and headed downtown while Peggy watched Jack for us. We walked into the church with seconds to spare… the entire church saw us arrive, just before the bride’s maids entered the chapel.

The ceremony was gorgeous, as were the people in it, and Christine and I feel really special for being invited to share in their special day. Erin and Brian are those kinds of friends that we wish we hung out with more often, just because they’re so much fun to be around, and because they always make you feel like you’re special to them.

After the ceremony, we chatted with a few friends before heading home for a break. The reception was at the Austin Club downtown, but didn’t start until 5:00. So while I took a nap, Christine and Peggy chatted, and we packed a bag for the night, in case we felt like heading out to Debbie and Raymond’s lakehouse for the evening after the reception.

The reception was amazing. There was a seating chart, and Christine and I were amazed to find that we’d been set next to the bride and groom at one of the front tables. We enjoyed sitting with Adam and Erin Taylor, Erin’s mom, Phillip, Tracy Wood, Troop, Asi and Phillip. Erin, Erin, Tracy, Troop, Asi, and Phillip all used to work together at the Iron Cactus back in the day, and they’re quite the clique (not in a bad way, by any means), and we felt like they were including us in the group… that was fun.

We partied all evening… it was a lot of fun, and the food… Oh my gosh, the food was amazing. We ate filet mignon and halibut. And it was amazing. If you ever have the opportunity to plan a wedding in Austin, use the Austin Club, if you can… they did an amazing job.

Brian and Erin rode off in horse-drawn buggy, and really looked like they’d had a good time.

[More photos from the wedding here]

Also, the wedding was just perfect from a “feeling” perspective. Honestly, it’s the first wedding we’ve been to in a long time where there wasn’t any tension at all between any of the groups represented. I think that says a lot about Erin and Brian. I think the last wedding we went to that was like that was Josh and Elise’s (though I may be over looking a few… it’s been a long time since Josh and Elise got married).

At the end of the reception, Christine and I decided to call it a night (the rest of the group was heading to the Omni hotel to party it up some more). We did that two weekends ago after Brad and Kim’s wedding, and we decided we just weren’t up for it this time … nothing like having a killer hang-over and trying to take care of a 10 month old to cure you of your drinking problem! (not that either of us has a drinking problem, but if we did, we’d be cured).

So we headed out to the lakehouse, got there around 11:30 p.m. and got into bed to watch a movie (Debbie and Raymond happen to also run the Lakeway Blockbuster movie rental place out of their bedroom). We started a movie on the big screen, and turned it off 10 minutes later. We were both exhausted.

We slept in until noon, got up, showered, bathed, brushed our teeth and headed for Austin.

Which brings us back to driving into our driveway to see Peggy and Jack playing in the yard, and eating really big acorns.

[More photos from the front yard]

What a great weekend… Thank you Aunt Peggy for joining us, and for taking care of Jack all weekend!

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On Wednesday night of this past week, Christine and Jack drove to Bellville for the Austin County Fair.

Oh my gosh, did they have fun.

They stayed with Grandma, and got to spend a lot of time playing with Ella and Aunt Shadel.

On Thursday morning, they all got up, and headed to down the road to the Austin County Fair Parade. They found their spot on the side of Highway 159 near Mrs. Payton, Jennifer, and their bunch of kids, and settled in to watch the parade. They were also sitting next to Mrs. Hueni and Brian was there (Haven’t seen them in forever and I’m sorry I missed them).

The parade started, and soon, there were firetrucks and ambulances from all of the towns in the county driving through town, making all sorts of racket. There were a few bands, and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts paraded through town. The fair queen candidates rode in on a trailer, as did all mannner of cheerleaders and mascots.

The kiddos were getting tired towards the end of the parade and ended up falling asleep in their strollers.

On Thursday evening, the family got dressed up and headed to the fairgrounds. The saw the opening of the rodeo, and met some goats, and pigs, and cows, and other animals, before heading over to the carousel for some fun. (The animals scared Ella just a little).

Christine finally got to meet Dixie Haverlah, who babysits Ella for Aunt Shadel and Uncle Evan. They all had lots of fun on the carousel.

Jack got to taste ice-cream at the fair for the first time ever… bad mommy… she gave in to temptation…

Ella and Jack got some whirly light toys and had lots of fun playing with them, before eventually heading home. On the way out of the fair, Christine plopped Jack on a tractor. Jack was totally in command of his element.

Now that you’ve looked at all of those photos, here’s a quick video from the Fair photos and videos that Christine shot:

See all of the photos from the Fair in this gallery.

On Friday, they all headed towards the pumpkin patch in Sealy to take photos with all of the pumpkins. Evan told them that there were plenty of pumpkins out, but the Great Pumpkin must have liberated them all, because when Peggy met the girls and kids there, there weren’t but two pumpkins left…

So they took lots of photos with the two pumpkins that were there, and then Aunt Peggy and Christine drove back to Austin.

Sounds like they all had lots of fun at the Fair this year… I’m gonna have to make sure I go next year.

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Steven Kamp (Christine’s little brother) had a birthday on October 10th, so Christine, Jack and I headed up to Dallas to visit. Here are the photos from that trip.

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Christine, Jack and I flew to Dallas this past weekend to visit with the grandparents and see Jack’s Uncle Steve on his 27th birthday.

We flew up Saturday morning. Jack and Christine got to fly first class to Dallas for their first time ever… fun! Jack fell asleep while the plane was coming down to land and stayed asleep in my arms all the way out of the gate, into the terminal. He woke up as we walked into the baggage claim area.

Mary picked us up, and we headed to their house.

On Saturday evening, Christine and I let Mary take care of Jack for the night, and we headed to a movie. We ended up seeing “In Her Shoes” with Cameron Diaz. It’s a sappy girly movie about two sisters growing up without a mother (dear old mom killed herself when they were 6 and 8) and finally rediscovering their grandmother after they got into a fight. Sappy movie, but Cameron Diaz appears quite a bit wearing little more than her underwear and a pair of high heels, so it’s not a bad movie for the fellas to go see. In fact, we both enjoyed it a lot.

Baa BaaOn Sunday, we slept in (Mary got up early with Jack) and then hung out with the family. Christine made a trip to an Oshkosh retail store that was going out of business. She spent about $100 on clothes for Jack, but came home with probably 20 items, which ain’t bad for Oshkosh clothes… gotta love that thrifty streak in that wife of mine ;). She also picked up a second Baa Baa (by Boyds, order online here, pictured on the right) for Jack – so that we have a second one, just in case we lose the one Kim gave us.

Steven and Michael came over for dinner, and we all enjoyed a good meal, and then home made cheesecake before Steven opened his presents. Mmmmm that cheesecake was good!

This morning, we got up, said our goodbyes and Michael picked us up for the return trip to the airport. We boarded as soon as we got there, and we were sitting in row 3, seats E&F, which happens to be the first row on the airplane, with easy access to the first class lavatory…

Jack drank a bottle during take-off, and proceeded to giggle and play all the way to Austin. About 2/3 of the way to Austin, Christine decided she needed to pee. So, she got up, and went into the lavatory.

As soon as she closed the door, and latched it, we hit a little turbulence. I laughed a little to myself, as I knew Christine wasn’t enjoying that. She’s usually pretty clausterphobic and hates flying, especially take-off, landing and turbulence. Think of the last time you used the toilet in an airplane… small space, doesn’t smell great, and combine that with a fear of flying and a hatred for turbulence.

Anyways, as soon as we hit the turbulence, I started giggling. Then the stewardesses came running back up the aisle with the drink cart. The were storing it, when I noticed the “occupied” sign on the lavatory door changing to “vacant” which meant Christine was coming right back out. But there was a stewardess standing in the way (remember Christine hates flying and turbulence).

Then we hit a little more turbulence. At this point, I was trying not to roll into the aisle laughing, and Jack was just having a good old time bouncing in my lap.

The stewardess moved out of the way, right as Christine opened the door to the lav, she looked out at me… saw me laughing and starting laughing at herself too. As she tried to cross the aisle, I told her to close the bathroom door. She pushed it and tried to sit down again.

I had to point out that the door wasn’t closed. She pushed it again, and tried to sit down.

I cracked at that point, and pointed to the door. She lost it too and was laughing hysterically as she shoved the lav door shut and finally plopped into her seat.

We both laughed so hard at that point that I thought I was going to need to pee too.

Then, after we calmed down a bit, Christine laid back in her seat and started zipping her pants up. Turns out, she was so freaked out by the turbulence that started right after she unzipped her pants that she decided to hold it, and then tried to get back to her seat with her pants still unzipped, and then the damned bathroom door wouldn’t close.

We proceeded to laugh until we had tears streaming down our cheeks.

We landed uneventfully about 10 minutes later, taxied to the terminal and got off the plane. What fun!

We went to baggage claim to get our suitcase and Jack’s carseat, and American had lost Jack’s carseat. Great.

They let us borrow one of theirs, and we drove home, stopping at Sonic for a super heathy lunch before getting home.

Jack took a nap from 3:30 – 6:00, and a guy from American showed up with Jack’s carseat around 4:30.

All in all, a great trip! It’s always fun to see the Grandparents.

Next big trip up — the Austin County Fair this weekend!

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Here’s the top search queries that brought traffic to this website in September:

September 2005 Zeitgeist

Try searching for those terms on Google… see where englers.org ranks for yourself… heh…

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