Grayson


Just had to post this photo of Grayson trying on his skeleton costume:

Too cute.

This past weekend, after Mary and Frank and Michael left, I decided that the boys needed to get out of the house. So, I asked Christine if she wanted to drive out to Enchanted Rock. She said “yeah!” … so we asked the kids if they wanted to go… and of course, they wanted to go…

Then I mentioned it to our neighbors, and offered to take their kids with us, if they wanted to go, so we picked up Jackson around 2:00, and headed out to Enchanted Rock.

The drive to the park is about 100 miles from Austin, so I drove… and drove some more. The boys watched Bionicles on the way.

As we got closer, I turned off the movie, and told the boys to look out the windoes, and tell me what they saw. And that whoever saw the big mountain without any trees on it first was to yell as loud as they could… because that’s when we’d know we were there!

We arrived around 4:00, paid the entrance fee ($6 for adults, kids get in free = score).

After parking, we got ready to hike up the hill. Grayson insisted that he carry the supplies backpack, because it was his backpack. So, I let him. A 40 lb. kid carrying a 10 lb. backpack up Enchanted Rock – I couldn’t believe it. And he did pretty well, btw.

Here are some photos from the hike:





At the top, we sat down and had a snack, and played around a little:

Then we hiked back down, got in the car, and drove home. Got home around 8:30. Next time we’ll leave the house earlier 😉

Oh, and Grayson’s so funny. For some reason he started calling it “Parrot Rock”, so that’s what we’re calling it until he gets it right!

All of the photos are here, if you want to see them all (there’s about 150).

Last night, we joined some friends of ours for the Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Austin State Supported Living Center.

The SSLC serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are medically fragile or who have behavioral problems. State supported living centers provide 24-hour residential services, comprehensive behavioral treatment services and health care services, including physician services, nursing services and dental services. Other services include skills training; occupational, physical and speech therapies; vocational programs; and services to maintain connections between residents and their families and natural support systems.

Jack, Grayson and Grayson’s friend Roman all made gifts to donate to the residents of the SSLC before the event. Christine picked me up from work, and we arrived around 6:30 p.m.

When we got to the area where the event was being held, we were treated to some music from Sarah Hickman (who also happens to go to our church and is a wonderful artist).

The kids wrote letters to Santa with help from the residents and volunteers.

Jack told the volunteer “I’m a little nervous, so I can’t think of anything I want. How ’bout we just tell him Merry Christmas, and to drive safely, and I’ll draw him a picture?” and then proceeded to draw a reindeer for Santa.

Grayson on the other hand knew exactly what he wanted. He asked the lady helping him to write “Dear Santa, I would like a soft stuffed animal, and another pillow pet, and a toy baby Jesus.” I chuckled at that point… and Grayson then told me and his volunteer that baby Jesus was born on Christmas, and he wants a baby Jesus to play with this year. Too cute.

After letters to Santa, the kids all decorated their own ornament and got Christmas themed tattoos on their hands.

We were treated to 5 or 6 songs from the “Austin SSLC Choir” which was made up of residents. Two of them had guitars and a few had bells, and they all sang their hearts out. It was special to see them bringing so much joy to the 100 or 150 residents and community members that turned out for the event.

We found the donation area for the gifts, had some hot apple cider, and then found our group of friends and sat down for the rest of the music.

Then, they lit the tree. You should have seen Grayson’s face. When the tree was lit, his chin hit the floor. He was so much in awe… it was awesome.

So, be in awe, this Christmas season… of the immense love and joy that God has for each of us, and if you can, try to put a little bit of that love and joy into everything you do. That’s what I took away from last night…

So precious.

I love Grayson. Tonight, he’s up late watching the Colts vs. the Chargers with me (he napped for 3 hours today), and out of no where he yells “Look Daddy, they’re standing on that big helmet! Did you see? Did you see! Go Horseshoes, GOOOO HORSESHOES!” and then after turning to look directly at me “The Horseshoes are losing to the Lightnings aren’t they Daddy?”

He’s always rooting for the underdog.

This summer, on our Vegas trip, we took the boys to the Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Las Vegas Mirage. Had a blast taking the tour, and taking these photos with the boys:

Jack started Tae Kwon Do last year, and he’s loving it. Here’s the “professional” shot that we got last year from the studio:

Follow that up with this year, where Jack AND Grayson are taking the class:

We’re in trouble!

Today, Jack was crying a little in the TV room, so I walked in and asked him what was wrong.

He said “Grayson hit me in the eye” and he whimpered a little.

I turned to Grayson and asked “What did you hit him with?”

Grayson pivoted his torso just a little, tilted his head, and with one crazy evil eye he whispered “with my magic powers”.

Found this photo today. Thought it was too cute, and realized I never posted it.

Christmas in September anyone?

Christine wrote this bio for Grayson for a project at his school last year:

Grayson is full of energy and imagination. Having recently acquired the self-awarded title of ‘big-boy’, he spends much of his time at home constructing LEGOs with his big brother and pretending to be Buzz Lightyear, Optimus Prime or various characters from Star Wars. Grayson’s extracurricular activities include riding bikes, swimming and gymnastics. His favorite things to eat include raspberries, cantaloupe and birthday cake. Grayson aspires to be a knight with silver armor when he grows up.

I can’t wait to see what she writes up this year!

I love taking photos. Really, I do. The photos I love taking the most, are photos of kids… because they’re just perfect, every time… kids can be dirty, stinky, frowning, smiling, jumping, running, falling, or just sitting there, and they’ll still be just perfect.

Here are some photos I took on my brother’s birthday at his house in Bellville:

And here are some non-kid photos from the day that turned out pretty good:

Happy Birthday Bro.

The rest of the photos can be seen here.

A week ago, or so, Jack and Grayson grabbed their guitars and a harmonica and sang songs to Christine and I, so I set the experience to some Jack Johnson, and edited the clips a little. Here’s the result:

Boy Band Movie

After watching it, Jack asked me “Daddy, did you name me after Jack Johnson?” so I got to tell him a little about his Uncle Jack, who he is really named after… which was a nice memory.

On Saturday, Christine and I took Jack and Grayson to Anderson High, here in Northwest Hills Austin, so that he could ride his bike on the running track around the football field without his training wheels. Christine figured he’d be less scared if he knew that the track was softer than concrete, or the road out in front of our house. It also helped that there weren’t any cars on the track to worry about.

They boys had a blast:

After riding bikes for a good thirty-minutes or so, we headed back to the car.

On the way back to the car Jack said “This is the best day of my life.” Christine just about melted when she heard that.

She did good recommending that we go to the track to ride bikes.

Last week, Christine and I, Jack, Grayson, Cyndi, Marc, Rowan, Caelyn, Elise, Maly, Jennifer, Steve, Brendan, and Mia all headed to Garner State Park for a Spring Break camping trip.

We spent a day at the Frio River… and yes, it lived up to its name:

Rio Frio!

We danced under the stars.
We climbed a mountain, and looked down at the world.
We cooked out on an open campfire.

We had a blast, and can’t wait to do it next year:

Father and Son

Photos are here and there are a few on my Facebook wall.

This year, for Halloween, the boys wanted to dress up like characters from Star Wars.

Grayson wanted to be Darth Maul. Jack wanted to be Luke Skywalker.

So, I give you:

Darth Maul:

And Luke Skywalker:

Between the two of them, we’ve had some major lightsaber battles around here!

(more photos from Halloween here)

In mid-October, I took Jack and Grayson, and we picked up Maly and headed to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to be part of their “Flight of the Monarchs” night. We had a lot of fun!

First, we met my Aunt Margo… my Dad’s sister, who I haven’t seen since I was in college 15 years ago.

Then we went into the main center and made caterpillars.

After that we walked up to the top of the observation tower, and I held each of the kids up high, so they could see the surrounding land all around us. They all thought that was pretty cool.

Then the kids were off. Off and running to be exact. I could barely keep up with them… running, running. Running. All over the place. Then we found some yard art.

An iron spider to be exact. And a friend. We played on that for a while, then right as it got dark, we headed back to the car… to home, and to bed.

Maly spent the night with us and the next morning, the kids all ran outside in their t-shirts and underwear, and played and got dirty… and looked for butterflys… Never saw any, but we looked.

What a great weekend!

(more photos here)

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