May 2008


This morning, I got tasked with breakfast duty…

So, I looked in the fridge: no eggs, some milk, some pudding…

Then in the freezer: “Hey, look there are some skinless Turkey Sausage Links. Awesome!”

Then in the pantry: A box of Rice Chex with maybe one and a half bowls of cereal, a box of Honey Nut Cheerios with maybe 1/2 a bowl of cereal in it, and a brand new, just opened box of Frosted Mini Wheats.

I was perplexed: “What to fix?” I hate feeding the kids cereal, but that was looking like my only option…

So while the little monsters played in the backyard, I cooked five sausage links in the microwave.

Then I corralled them long enough to sit them at the table (having the movie Cars on helped, to be 100% honest)

So I sat them down.

Jack got a “big bowl” or Rice Chex.

Grayson got a tray full of Honey Nut Cheerios.

Then I brought over the sausage. Grayson chowed down on it. Jack hardly touched it… but it’s gone, so either the dog climbed on the table while I write this, or the kids ate all of it (I can’t touch the stuff… I hate ‘turkey’ anything that should be made with pork or beef).

Then I ate a bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats.

As I was finishing up, I realized Grayson was saying “more… more…” with his hands, so I stood up and walked around the table to him.

I tried to feed him my milk-soaked Frosted Mini Wheats. He wasn’t sure about the first one, but…

After he got a taste of the 3000mg of sugar on top of it, he wolfed it down, and started going nuts saying “MORE, MORE, MORE, MORE, MORE” really really fast.

So, I shoveled one Frosted Mini Wheat from my bowl to his tray, and I was obviously moving too slow, because at one point he pulled a total John Candy on me (actually, it was a lot more physical, like Chris Farley). He held his arms up horizontal with the floor, and with his fingers pointing all different ways, he pointed violently, but specifically at my bowl of cereal, and let out a very clear “MORE DADDY!!!!”

So, I got three Mini Wheats out of the bowl, and he wolfed them down before I could get the next three out.

And he was funny too. He’d pick one up, determine that it had too much milk, shake it a little, or tap it on his tray until it had just the right about of milk sogging it to the perfect consistency, and then he’d pop it in his mouth, chew precisely 2.3 chews, and then swallow. On each Mini Wheat.

I love being a dad and experiencing these fun little parts of the day. I just hope I don’t forget all of the fun times… and I have the feeling that there are a lot of them to go in this journey we call life.

Grayson has a horrible diaper rash right now.

He started getting it last week, and on Friday his poop turned into diarrhea, and that was all she wrote. Poor kid has the worst chaffing I’ve seen on a bottom, ever. I’m sure Jack had the same thing once or twice when he was a baby, but I don’t remember it (although, I’m sure Christine does).

And the sad thing is, he has had it all weekend, and when it starts bothering him, it really bothers him.

Nana and Papa were down this weekend for a really fun weekend, but night-time wasn’t a joy with poor Grayson waking himself up and then crying for 30 minutes after a diaper change in the middle of the night.

His poops are getting more solid again, so hopefully this diaper rash will clear up this week… hopefully really soon.

Last Wednesday evening, I was out in the front yard with the boys, when I realized that Thursday is trash day.

So, I decided to open the garage and take out the trash. Nothing too difficult, and actually rather mundane.

Well, when I opened the garage door, Grayson followed me in the garage, and just inside we found the trusty Bobby Car that Frank and Mary gave Jack for his first birthday.

I took the two containers of recycling down the hill, each time returning to Grayson trying to get his leg over the Bobby Car enough so that he could ride it. And each time, I told him “Be careful, if you get on that and start going down the drive way, it’s going to hurt when you fall off.” He’d look at me in his all-knowing, all-understanding 18 month old way, and say something in his baby gibberish like “Puckadoaloo”.

My third trip down the drive way was to take all of the cardboard Christine had dutifully bundled up earlier in the week.

When I got to the top of the drive way this last trip, I grabbed the large city provided municipal grey trash bin, and started to guide it down the hill (it’s usually so full and heavy that it’s all I can do to keep it from running me over if I’m in front of it, or from running away from me if it’s in front of me.)

I turned one last time and saw Grayson almost on top of the Bobby Car, so I say “Grayson. No! Be very careful. You’re going to get hurt.”

And I went down the hill, pushed by the trash can. At the bottom, I turned it to position it at the end of the drive way, and as I did…

I heard this roar of plastic wheels on concrete.

And it was getting louder… and Louder… and LOUDER.

I looked between the two cars that were parked at the top, and saw Grayson shooting out from between them. Hands holding on dearly to the yellow steering wheel. Face turning from fascination to total fear, then to full on terror. His feet were kicked up and he was leaning back. His knuckles were white, and his mouth was wide open… either in a silent scream, or a preemptive cry… I couldn’t tell which.

It went so fast, yet at the same time, everything was moving so slow.

I swear he was moving 50 miles-per-hour down that hill.

And I was moving less than half a foot per hour.

I couldn’t move fast enough to get in front of him, and so, as he got to the bottom of the hill…

I think I heard a sonic boom while he crossed over into super-sonic speed, and right at that moment, he lost control.

The Bobby car’s front wheels turned ever so slightly, and he rolled off to his right, as the car went to his left.

But he’d made it down the hill… a good 25 or 30 feet… at I swear, at least 50mph.

I was torn between swelling pride at my son, the next Evel Knieval, and the fear choking my throat that he’d broken an arm, or a leg, or both, and crushed his face when he planted himself squarely into the asphalt that the road is built out of. I was also afraid that some neighbor might have seen the whole thing progress, and was at that moment calling CPS.

At that moment, I became a super-hero, and cover the 10 feet from myself to Grayson in a flash.

The car was laying on it’s side too. Wheels still spinning… the body all dented in and crushed, and what I imagined was gasoline spilling down the drive way, just waiting for a latent spark to set it off and blow us all to high heaven.

Grayson was laying on his side too. Looking up at me with a questioning “why didn’t you catch me Daddy?” look on his face.

I scooped him up into my arms and held him tighter than I’ve ever held him.

He wasn’t crying.

Yet.

After what seemed like a minute (and was probably half a second) he started crying.

At first, just a sob. Then slowly the volume and intensity increased.

I could hear his crying echo off the valley walls from the hills miles to our north.

It was all I could do to not cry with him.

I just held him until he started to sob in between breaths, and then I pushed him back from my chest just a little bit, while I started to inspect him.

First his left left. Left ankle. Left foot. Left arm, left hand, left cheek. Nothing. Wow!

Then his right side. The side he landed on first. His right arm, shoulder, cheek, nose… All fine.

His right leg had a small, barely noticable abrasion on it, and his right ankle had a small (smaller than a dime) strawberry on it.

I sat him on my thigh while I tested his joints. All of them worked, and he wasn’t complaining about them as I made him move them back and forth.

Then I felt his head and there seemed to be no bumps or bruises.

He was pretty much done crying at this point… so I asked him “Do you want to get down and play?”

He said “down” perfectly (a first).

So, I put him down in the grass. He walked over to the big dirt pile, and started looking for rocks.

Episode forgotten. No collateral damage.

Later that night, as we put him to bed, Christine and I found a bump on the side of his head, but here, three days later, it’s gone.

Wednesday, May 7th, will forever go down in history for me as “The Day Grayson Went 50MPH on a Bobby Car and Lived to Tell Us All About It, But Couldn’t Yet Talk.”

What a day that was.

Aren’t kids fun?

Here are some photos of Jack and Grayson on April 30th, just acting silly.

See this hat?

Yes, it’s a turtle. Grayson with a turtle on his head.

And here is Jack with a fish hat…

But it’s not on his head. Silly kid put it around his chest… goofball.

And here they are just being silly together:

There’s a big dirt hill out in front of our house right now.

It’s there because we’re remodeling the back yard.

(It’s easier to think about spending money on the backyard if I call it remodeling, than if I call it landscaping for some reason. I think it’s because landscaping is something I feel like I should be doing myself, whereas I’m totally done with thinking about doing any more remodeling all by myself. I don’t know why, that’s just how I think about it).

Anyways, there’s this big dirt hill.

And Jack just loves playing on it. What 3 year old little boy wouldn’t?

We are always taking random photos of the kids when we have time.

Here are some photos from April 26th and April 29th:

I’m typing this entry at 9:15 a.m. from the comfort of our new outdoor patio furniture that I put together yesterday for our new back yard patio. Christine picked it up at Sam’s a few weeks ago, in anticipation of spending lots of time in the back yard this summer.

It’s a little chilly as I type this… the thermometer on the side of the house says about 60°F. (or as Jack calls it “six and oh … which means it’s very warm”). The wind is blowing ever so softly through the tree tops and slightly moving the hair on my legs.

The boys are up the hill just a little digging in the dirt and rolling their trucks up and down the hill. Jack took his pants off to pee in the yard just a minute ago, and Grayson is exploring the upper level of the yard while Jack looks for bugs on the middle level.

This photo isn’t the best, but it’s the best I can do with my laptop (Jack locked the back door when he came outside a few minutes ago… he came through the doggy door again).

side note: Jack just brought me a “rolly-polly” that he says is “Just for you… but you can share with Mommy if you want to…” and as he walked back up the hill he turned and said “I’ll try to find Mommy one too” and he joined Grayson a little ways up the hill, where they’re both standing with shovels digging in the dirt.

So, suffice it to say… I love our new back yard.

side note: Jack just brought me another “rolly-polly” saying “I got one for Mommy. Look Daddy, it’s big.” And as he walked off this time he mumbled “I’m going to find one for Lydia and Leo” and up the hill he went, purpose in mind.

I’m surrounded by limestone, sun, and the sounds of playing boys. Every once in a while the dogs in the yard over bark, but not for too long or too loud. We’ve been out here for an hour or two now, and Wesley is used to it, so he’s not barking back any more.

There are birds all around, though I haven’t seen any, I can definitely hear them all talking to each other. I can just imagine:

Bird One: “Hey Fred, got any good sticks or twine over there? I’m building a new nest.”

Bird Two: “No, Barry, no twine or sticks over here, but you should see this red-head I’m chasing… she’s a keeper.”

Bird One: “Fred. Concentrate. If you don’t build a nice looking nest first, you won’t have anywhere to take that red-head later tonight after we take her out on the town.”

Bird Two: “Damn, Barry, you’re right. Okay, back to work.”

Red-head: [to herself] “Thank God. That bird’s house is pitiful, I can’t believe he is so easily distracted. Doesn’t he know I want a big nest with purple ribbon running through it, and a little green moss on the sides? Sheesh.”

Where was I?

Oh yeah, the yard…

The Yard is now four levels. The first level is the patio. It’s made of sawn limestone and pea gravel. Big limestone blocks with pea gravel in between them. The “TV Room” opens right out onto the patio. The “Living Room” has brand new cedar steps that come down onto the patio. The patio is rather spacious, and we got rid of the cover over the old concrete patio, and it really opened up the space outside.

From the patio, you walk up three steps to the second level, and the first new planting bed. There’s a retaining wall that hols back the dirt, and helps with drainage. There will be sod on that first level in a few days.

Then up one more step to the third level, which is about the same size as the second level… probably about 100-150 square feet of dirt on each of those levels.

After that last step, you can also now walk up the hill just a little bit (maybe another two feet in elevation) around the new retaining walls to the top level of the yard… which is the largest. That level is about 700 square feet of yard, and is where the kids’ picnic table that Papa built is, and their sand box (need to go buy sand, and I’m not looking forward to carrying all that sand up the hill from the front yard). It’s also where we put the freebie table and chairs we got from Joel, a friend from the office.

That last level is also where all of the trees are, and I can just see the start of a tree fort that we’ll build in the years to come. For now, the kids just love running up there, and riding their tricycle and bicycles up there… oh, and getting pushed around in the Bobby Car.

Ok, enough typing… I’m going to play with the boys.

I love the new back yard.

On April 25th, Rowan and Caelyn came over to visit for the evening while Cyndi and Marc when out for the evening.

The kids had a blast together.

We ate dinner, and everyone had good manners… which was pretty amazing considering when we get them all together they usually go nuts and lose all semblance to humans for at least an hour.

After dinner, Jack and Rowan played with cars and drove all over the house, while Grayson and Caelyn played hide and seek and made either other laugh over and over and over… too cute.

Then we took baths in shifts: Grayson and Caelyn together, then Jack and Rowan. Everyone did a good job getting cleaned up, and Rowan even showed Jack how to scrub his knees and toes and back and under-arms…

After baths, Grayson went to bed, while Christine, Jack, Rowan and Caelyn and I watched a movie.

Then Marc and Cyndi showed up and took R & C home, and Jack went to bed.

It was a full night, but a fun night, for sure. The rest of the photos are here.

Leo, Jack’s best friend, turned three years old recently and he had a party the weekend of April 20th. Joan and Tim threw the party at Zilker Park, and the kids had a blast. We played on the playground for 45 minutes or so, and watched the train go past us a couple of times. Then after eating some yummy lunch, we all rode the train:

The kids had a blast on the train. And after the train, we went back over to the party zone to eat cake (Joan made a really cute little Thomas the Train cake) and hit a pinata. Talk about a great day at Zilker!

On Wednesday April 16th, Christine took Jack and Grayson to a place that had lots of air-filled bouncy things for the kids to jump on and slide down… which Jack just loves. They played for a couple of hours, and Christine got a couple of action shots:

On Monday April 14th, while I was in San Francisco on a business trip Christine had Jack and Grayson site down together and paint. They had a blast:

I took Jack and Grayson to the park after work on April 10th, and while they were both way up high on the top of one of the playscapes, I took a couple of photos of them way up high. We love that little park by our house.