Here’s a few links to some photo galleries I finally uploaded:

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I don’t think I’ve written about this yet, so here goes:

I think Frank really loves being a Grandfather (we call him Granddad). I think he loves it because he’s constantly making Jack toys (and stuff).

Back before we went on our cruise, Frank made Jack a little doggy pull toy in his spare time. It was lovingly hand crafted out of wood, with little rolling wheels and a string, and leather ears even. It was cute as hell.

I brought it home for Jack after a business trip and Jack proceeded to break it within about 15 minutes of playing with it… so we didn’t get any good photos of him playing with it before it died:

When Frank and Mary came down to watch Jack while we were on our cruise, he took it home, to fix it up for another day.

Then, this week, I got some photos of another toy Frank made for Jack:

The wooden airplane.

Jack will have these wooden toys that his Granddad made for him when he’s 60, and he’ll look back and think “Man, that was one pretty cool dude.”

Thanks Frank!

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On Friday, March 17th, Marc Swendner called me in the morning and said something like “Today, I’m claiming my Irish heritage, so it’s a national holiday… take 1/2 a day off and let’s go drink!” I laughed. And then thought “great excuse!”

I told him to call Christine and talk her into it, and we’d do something.

Around 11:00 a.m., we met Marc, Cyndi and Rowan at the Dog and Duck Pub downtown. We paid $40 for 2 beers and 2 orders of fish and chips. Maybe not $40, but way more than they were worth for sure.

We walked around a bit, looking for seats… they had a big tent erected outside the pub, in the parking lot, and there weren’t any seats available… at least not 4-6, which we needed for the adults and kids. So we went inside to eat.

After eating, we headed back outside to enjoy the bagpipe band that was playing… yes, it’s entirely possible to enjoy a bagpipe band, but you have to work at it. Heh. Actually, the bagpipes were cool. Jack dug them… and when they were done, they played the “I’ve been working on the railroad”, or as they call it in Austin, the fight song of t.u. Then two of the bagpipers (do you call them bagpipers?) played the Aggie War Hymm… and there were a surprising number of people swaying during the “Saw Varsities Horns Off” part… cool…

We listened to another Irish-type band (they weren’t Irish, maybe Irish-Americans, but you could tell they wanted to be) or two… which was fun…

Around 2:00, we headed back home, so Jack could nap, and so I could finish out the day at the office, and at least act like I was working… though the Guiness didn’t want me to. Fun times!

On Saturday night, the 18th, Josh held his annual Godfather’s Club meeting. First rule about the Godfather’s club is that you don’t talk about what happens at the Godfather’s Club. At least until Josh does, so I’ll wait until he posts a story about it, and then I’ll point you to it.

Long story short: it was fun, but I paid for it on Sunday. And frickin’ Marc won the contest we had…

Godfather Club photos if you’re interested.

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The weekend of March 11th and 12th was a weekend of Birthdays.

I turned 30 on Friday, March 10th, and Ella turned 2 on Monday March 13th… to celebrate, we had a couple of parties!

Christine threw me a relaxed happy hour birthday party at Brentwood Tavern in Austin on Friday afternoon. We started things around 5:00 and ended around 10:00. Christine brought an Ice Cream cake from ___ and it was gooooood!

John’s 30th Birthday Party photos are here.

On Saturday, we got up and headed to Bellville for Ella’s party.

We got there in time for Jack to take a nap, so we headed over to Grandma’s house, and tried to put Jack down after a quick bite to eat. He wouldn’t sleep. He’s spotted a bucket of toy cars on his way from Chrsitine’s arms into the crib. He went nuts! He just wanted to play with his cars… so we played until it was time to hit the party.

Ella’s party was too much fun. There were kids galore, and lots of friends and family. Some kids fell off the new playscape Evan and Shadel bought, but no one broke them, but no one got seriously hurt. Ella got lots of presents. And all the kids got to eat cake and ice cream (as did the adults).

I took lots of photos, and got lucky (I think) capturing this photo of Conner:

Conner is Lori Lockett’s 3 month old son… isn’t he just adorable?

The photos from the party here.

On Sunday morning, we all got up, and headed to Newman’s bakery for Breakfast. Bussy met us for breakfast, and we had a nice conversation over omelets and pancakes, donut holes and kolaches. Then we went to Grandma’s house to play and show off the deck. She’s building a big deck off the back of the house that should be done in time for Easter.

She’s also got some great places for kids to play in the backyard… including this “funny car” built out of wood with horns and mirrors on it. Got a really great photo of Jack and Ella on that thing:

More photos from Grandma’s house are here.

On Sunday evening, Evan, Chad and Jake Payton (Jake was the ring bearer in our wedding almost 8 years ago (has it been that long?) and is now 15/16 or so), and I played poker. Chad took us all.

On Monday morning we got up, drove home, and returned to the grind.

Had a great weekend though!

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Josh. Stop what you’re doing, and go read this post:

Advice for expectant dads

I know you’ve gotten lots of advice from lots of folks on what to expect in 6 weeks when your kid gets here, but that post by Todd has some really great info for you to think about when you’re heading to the hospital… wish I’d have read it prior to heading to the hospital.

Oh, and the other piece of advice I’ll give you is this: You’ll forget all the advice you got from everyone from the moment they tell your wife to start pushing until the moment your kid pops out. Just listen to the professionals… they know what they’re doing.

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I downloaded some more photos from this weekend tonight:

Shoes, Church and Groceries – photos from the shoe fitting, the ride home, church on Sunday, a trip to the grocery store on Monday, and bathtime last night.

Also, here are some photos I took of Dylan and Herbert (neighbors down at the end of the street) flying a kite last weekend.

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Heh… Josh said cognizant.

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Amanda brought Ben over this morning, so Christine can babysit him all day, with Jack. It’ll be an interesting day to say the least. I’ll write up a little summary tonight, if my fingers aren’t bleeding from the insanity!!!

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We spent this weekend around the house… relaxing, playing and enjoying ourselves.

On Friday afternoon, Christine Jack and I went out into the front yard to play with our new bubble machine. It blows really big bubbles, and Jack loves trying to chase them down. While we were playing, and airplane flew over head… so Jack started imitating it. I don’t think he realizes the wings go straight out from the plane’s sides yet, but he’ll get it soon enough.

Before dinner, Jack and I watched the sun disappear over the house across the street.

After dinner, Jack gave me this look:

Sort of a “shit-eatin’ grin” don’t you think?

There are more photos from Friday here.

Then on Saturday morning, Jack and I got up early to play while Christine slept in a little (Jack only let her sleep until 8 though).

Around 10:00, we all headed to Sandy’s Shoes… a local kid’s shoe store for Jack’s first shoe fitting. It’s a fun store, but I think at least 20 other parents had the same idea, because the store was crazy when we got there. We played with toys, while we waited for Jack’s name to be called. While we were waiting, Jack tripped on the carpet and banged his noggin’ on the front door of the store. It left a mark (ouch!).

Jack got a pair of brown Mobility shoes, after the fitting lady checked his foot size. We bought a size 5 shoe, which should last him all summer… Jack is in this weird foot stage where neither the little baby shoes nor the big boy shoes we’ve been loaned/given don’t really fit that well, so we figured a good solid pair of sandals was in order for him. And, we know that someone else will wear those shoes someday… so they’ll get plenty of use. (We hit the mother lode when we had a boy, because my cousin Cheri has two older boys, and she gave us about a bazillion shoes for Jack!) You can see the new shoes here and here.

Right after buying the shoes, Jack got to eat lunch at Schlotsky’s… we all enjoyed it.

After getting shoes, playing in the front and back yard (got a cool photo of some bees drinking back there) and taking a nap, we waited for Christine to get home. Christine went to a get together with her friends around 1:00. They were meeting to discuss a book Cyndi bought that is supposed to help with their career decisions. Christine came home invigorated about the future.

We all loaded up in the car, and headed to Lakeway when she got home. Debbie and Raymond brought us a rocking chair for Elise, so we needed to get that, and we hadn’t seen Debbie since Christmas (we saw Raymond a few weeks ago here in Austin at a photographer’s convention that I totally forgot to write about).

After chatting for a little while, we loaded up the cars and headed to Mulligan’s to eat. Great food for a pool hall… glad they took us there. We’re definitely going to have to eat there again sometime.

We got home sort of late, so we quickly bathed Jack and put him to bed, before turning in around 9:00 ourselves.

More photos from Saturday here.

On Sunday, I got to sleep in, and Christine and Jack got up to play… then we got dressed and headed to church. At church we saw Erin and her new beau, Chris. Jack spent church in the nursery, so after church the four of us headed over to pick him up. Turns out Jack was a little clingy throughout church (and today was communion – so it was a long one) so they held him the entire hour and a half. Heh. Oh, and by the way (this one’s for Frank) we got taken at the second offering Frank… I thought only Catholics had second offerings before today, but nope… it’s infected the Methodists too.

We headed home after church, had some Macoroni and cheese, and Jack and Christine took a nap. I washed both the rice-burner and the safety-mobile and then I took the Honda for a lube job. When I got home, Jack had just woken up, so we loaded up the car and headed to Josh and Elise’s for a little play time and dinner.

Jack and Josh posed for an 80’s rock band album cover in between looking at the moon and a lady bug lawn ornament Josh has in the back yard while Christine and Elise chatted it up inside (talking pregnancy tips I’m sure). Jack also had a blast climbing up and down the steps on Josh’s deck. Gonna have to get me one of those soon.

Josh cooked steaks out on the barbie, and Elise made mashed potatos inside. We enjoyed dinner immensely… especially the ice-cream pie we had for dessert, and then we tootled on home to put Jack to bed and catch the end of the Oscars.

Photos from Sunday here.

Thank God Crash won best picture. Great movie and I don’t know that I could hear much more about Brokeback Moutain before I started puking… know what happens to gay cowboys in Bellvile folks? Neither do I… there aren’t any gay cowboys in Bellville.

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