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.

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This summer, Ella came down to visit, so we met them out at Debbie and Raymond’s lakehouse.

The kids had a blast… Jack and Grayson love handing out with their favorite cousin!

See all the photos here.

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On November 15th of last year, Ella and Momo came to visit, as did Michael, Nana and Papa. So we had a little “family” birthday party at the house (we were planning the big party with all of the friend’s the next day).

Some of the photos we took came out great:

There are a bunch more here.

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Evan sent this photo today:

Ella has a new puppy. His name is Cash… like Johnny Cash. Cute puppy!

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This year, we took the boys to the Austin County Fair, but only on Thursday and Friday, because we flew to Tulsa on Friday for a wedding.

On Thursday, we drove to Bellville earlier than we’d planned so that we could see Ella compete in the Little Miss Austin County competition:

Her outfit was adorable, and she told the judge she wanted to be a singer when she grew up. When the judge asked who her favorite singer was she said “My daddy.” I turned to Evan and said “I didn’t know you sang?” He replied “I didn’t either” and we all laughed a little. It was pretty cute.

In between the contest and the awards, Ella, Jack and Grayson shared juice boxes and candy confections.

Afterwards, we went and got dinner. While I was chomping down on a humungous turkey leg, Christine took this photo of Momo and the kids:

Then it was time to ride rides. And boy did we ever. Momo sprung for about $60 worth of carnival ride tickets, and the kids used them all up in the course of about an hour or so. Grayson and Ella were cute as they watched the other kids ride, while they took a moment to say “I love you” to each other:

The rode a train ride, and a truck ride, and a motorcycle ride, and a helicopter ride, and an airplane ride. Jack went way up in the air on the burlap sack slippy slidey ride. Twice. All by himself. It was pretty cool to see him having that much fun on something that high, all by himself.

Then, for the last ride, Jack and Grayson and I rode the big ferris wheel. Here we are before the ride, looking up at it:

After the rides, we moseyed over to the cars. On the way, we rode a few tractors.

On Friday morning, we got up and ate breakfast at Momos house, and then headed to the fair. We got there early enough to claim our premium seating, next to the little house with a dirt drive way (okay, I know, most houses in Bellville are like that, but you know the one I’m talking about, right there on that corner).

From our premium seats, we sat, and waited, and then watched:

The ambulances and fire trucks that passed by us were really loud. Again (they are loud every year). The kids got to meet the fire dog that was driving down the road too… he came right up to them and said hi. We also saw bands and big tractors.

Towards the end of the parade, the kids decided to lay down on a blanket to watch. It was a great trip:

Movie coming when I have time to edit it a little. It’s got some fun footage of Jack driving a jeep after dark. The rest of the photos are here.

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I’m finally finding some time to focus on englers.org, and specifically to get some photos up that we’ve had just sitting around…

Here’s the first installment of those photos:

Momo came and visited us this summer a couple of times. This gallery has most of those photos from her June/July trip.

The did things like playing in the back yard, made oatmeal cookies (and ate a lot of the dough) and other fun stuff. We rode bikes.

We also headed out to the lake and spent time with Momo, Evan, Shadel and Ella. Ella and Jack just loved playing together, Grayson and I hung out, and Evan cooked a little.

You’ve gotta love these shoes Grayson was caught wearing, and the sunglasses too.

We all swam. Ella jumped in the poolGrayson floated… and Jack and Ella were cute… then Grayson got tired.

We fished. We swam in the lake. We kayaked. We Jet Skied… All of us. Grayson and Jack.

Check out all the photos from her trip up to Austin here.

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This past week, Grayson and Jack went to Bellville for Camp Momo… something we all hope will become an annual event.

On Tuesday, Christine drove them down to Bellville, and dropped them off. Momo took over. And Ella was there too!

We got nightly progress report phone calls, and the boys came home telling us stories about how much fun they had, and asking to call Momo. Grayson called for Momo for a few days every morning when he woke up. All-in-all the boys had a blast, and we can tell.

They did things like play outside…

Play in the water…

And got to climb on and inside an ambulance…

More photos here.

What a great week. And Christine and I had fun this week to with our little mini-vacation. More about that in the next post.

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We’re on vacation this week in Lakeway. Here are some photos I took today:

Lakeway Vacation Day 1

I’ll come back and write more about what we’re actually doing during the day as soon as I can, I promise… needless to say, we’re having a blast, and everyone is exhausted at the end of the day. Lots of swimming, running, playing, and very little napping 😉

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So, here it is, almost the end of April, and I’m just now getting around to posting a group of photo sets from the end of March… Sorry… these would have been up earlier this week if I wasn’t having problems with englers.org this week. I ended up having to reinstall the whole site from a backup, so hopefully nothing to missing from this week and last. Nevertheless… I’m not traveling this coming month (hopefully that’ll stay true) so hopefully we’ll find more time to post updates and photos. The thing for me to remember is that I really want to spend more time with the kids, not necessarily time writing about the kids… But, hopefully I can do both this coming month.

Anyways, on with the show…

Here are some photo galleries from mid-March through the end of March:

Jack runningMarch 15, 2008: Around the House – just some photos of Jack and Grayson playing at home, when it was just the three of us… Christine was out shopping or maybe riding her bike (she’s become quite the little cyclist lately).

March 18, 2008: At the table – These photos are of Grayson having a blast at dinner getting food and pudding all over himself. There are also some good action thoughts of Jack in his underwear jumping off the couch arm onto the couch seat, which was pretty funny, and was in no small part responsible for Grayson’s laughing…

March 23, 2008: Easter 2008 – This year, we did Easter in Austin, for a variety of logistical reasons, and we all had a blast. The kids had a few opportunities to collect eggs, get candy, and spend time with friends. We did the First United Methodist Egg Hunt on the lawn of the State Capital. The Easter Bunny left baskets of candy for us, and we went over to Leo and Lydia’s (Ted and Joan) house for an Easter Hunt and Easter Dinner.

March 28, 2008: Momo’s House – We drove down to Bellville this last weekend in March, and had a BLAST with Evan, Shadel, Ella and Momo. I won’t say anything more about these photos except to say that the kids were adorable in the outfits they dressed up in while a Momo’s:

March 29, 2008: Evan’s House – . This group of photos is from Evan’s house and has a lots of great shots of the kids, Jack, Grayson and Ella. Suffice it to say the kids had a blast playing in the yard with each other.

March 30, 2008: Ella’s Birthday – Shadel and Evan hosted Ella’s Fourth Birthday Party (she’s already four… I can’t believe that) at the Teddy Bear Factory at Katy Mills Mall in Katy on March 30th. The party was a blast. The kids spent a lot of time before the party playing on a bunch of rides that were in the mall concourse (since when do rides cost $2.00 to ride on?) – they also walked down to the Rainforest Cafe and looked at the elephants and alligators. Then during the party, we had pizza and cake. After cake, the kids got to build their own bears, and afterwards we all went home, fat and happy.

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This year, my mom, threw a huge bash at her house for Easter. There must have been 50 people there, even though the weather was horrible, and we were all wet and cold 😉

Everyone that came (lots of family and friends) gathered inside where there was plenty of warmth, thanks to the gas fire place and heaters scattered about. And food, oh, boy, talk about food. It was a huge potluck… chicken, meat trays, veggies, pasta, and more…

And, then, to top off all of the good conversation, the Easter Bunny showed up and treated all of the kids to photos on his lap, and gifts from his basket:


There are lots more photos from Easter Saturday here.

On Sunday, we all went to church, and when we got home, we took some family portraits in the front yard (the weather was perfect for family photos on Sunday)

I also took some random photos of Grayson and other things. Those photos are here.

And how can you not fall in love with this photo of Grayson in pure amazement at the wind blowing on his face:

Wonderment

Hopefully next year the weather will cooperate, and the other 50 people that didn’t make it (the weather was that bad folks) can make it too!

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So, it’s been since mid-January since I’ve posted a real update. Sorry folks: Two kids and a travel schedule that’s been unreal are my excuses. With that said, here goes (and I hope I didn’t forget anything):

On January 21st, I headed out to Las Vegas for a tradeshow for work. I didn’t make any money on the slots, but we did have a great tradeshow. Met lots of people at this show, and started a few really good relationships for the company I work for.

That same week, Josh turned 31. He was now officially a “thirty-something”. We all went to dinner at a nice place over near his house, and it was great to hang out with all of our friends.

Then, I headed for San Francisco on January 30th for another tradeshow/conference. That was a lot of fun. I really love San Francisco. Again, started building a few strong relationships that I only hope get stronger.

On the third of February, after bath time, Christine and I were sitting on the couch, when Jack spotted my cowboy boots, and said “Jack wear boots.” He was in his towel still at the time, but he wanted in those boots right then and there, so, being the responsible parents we are, we said “why not.” I helped him get into the boots, and he proceeded to ‘walk’ along the couch, to the table to get his purse, to the front door, and tried to unlock the door to go outside. I know we live in a eclectic neighborhood and all, so he probably could have gotten away with it, but that’s all I need: a two-year old in my front yard strutting his stuff. Jack wear boots.

On February 4th, we hosted a small superbowl party at our house. Our friends were kind enough to bring food and drinks with them, and the kids all played Jack’s room, while the adults sat in the living room and watched the commercials. Interestingly enough though, this year, we actually talked to each other more than we watched the commercials or the game. Both were just “so-so” and our friends are definitely more fun than either the game or the commercials were this year. I don’t even remember who played at this point, much less who one, but I do remember Maly sitting on Josh’s lap laughing and Grayson hanging out with me drinking a beer:

The next night was a lot of fun: Jack decided he wanted to crawl into and out of the new “media center” we got over and over and over. Heh… he was hilarious climbing in and out of that thing.

I don’t remember what Christine did on February 6th, but I do remember that I was hope with both boys, on my own, for the evening. I had to figure out how to feed them both, bathe them, and get them in bed. While in the bathroom bathing Jack, I sat Grayson in his little sitting chair, and took a few photos of him watching us and looking around. Overall, the evening went off without a hitch, though I was really happy to see Christine when she got home that night and took over getting Grayson into bed (since I’m the one without the boobs and all, it’s really hard for me to feed him sometimes ;)).

That next week, Maly and Elise made a surprise visit to the office, literally 20 minutes after Jack, Grayson and Christine left after lunch. I was crazy busy that day, but I did get to spend some time with Elise and Maly just hanging out in my office. At the time, I thought Maly was growing by leaps and bounds… but she started walking in earnest this week, just a month later… crazy…

On the weekend of February 11th, Grayson was baptised at the church. This note on our life really deserves it’s own post, but since I haven’t done that yet, we’ll let this work for now. Grayson did a great job up in front of the congregation, and we know that he is loved, because so many of our friends and family made it to the church to show their love and support for him. After the church ceremony, we all headed out to Debbie and Raymond’s lakehouse for a great reception.

After a couple of weeks at home, I was on the road again for a few days: I flew to Pittsburgh on 2/16, then to New Jersey on 2/19 and Boston on 2/19. It was as cold as a witches titty up there. 4 degrees in Pittsburgh, like 10 in New Jersey, and 14 in Boston. I got home as fast as I could, but all of the visits I made on those trips were awesome. And seeing a lot of snow every once and a while, helps me remember how much I love living in Texas.

That next week, we got the sad news that Lenora Munk, Uncle Raymond’s mother, had passed away in her sleep over the weekend. We drove down to the funeral on February 21st. It was a somber event, but a touching one. The young preacher at her church spoke very lovingly of Lenora and all the work her and Raymond’s dad had done to support the church and the community within it. I know she’ll be missed by her family, and it was nice to hear how much she is obviously missed by her friends and church.

Since we had all of my mom’s grandkids together in nice clothes at the same time, we took a few photos of them all too:

On March 2nd, Elise picked Christine, Jack, Grayson and I up at our house, and we all drove up to Dallas, and then Oklahoma City for the weekend. It was Christine’s Grandmother’s 95th birthday that weekend, and we wanted to take the kids to see her and the rest of the family. On Saturday afternoon, we arrived in Oklahoma City, got settled in our hotel room, and spent some time with family. Then we headed over to IHOP for dinner with Grandmother. Jack wasn’t feeling well, so I played with him while the rest of the family ate, and we ended up getting our food (the two of us) as takeout and took it back to the room.

That night, all hell broke loose. Jack was sick. Really sick. And he just couldn’t sleep well in the hotel room, in his pack and play. And Grayson wasn’t feeling all that well either. Around 2 a.m., I remember Christine getting up to try and get Jack to take some cough medicine, and almost losing her marbles, she was so tired. But, she managed to get him to wake up enough to take the medicine, and that next morning she made the decision to drive her tired, sick, sad looking little boys back to Dallas and to forego seeing the family that day. It was the right decision. I learned that night how much love a mother has for her children, as Christine cried while holding Jack, not because she was mad and him or herself, but because she truly felt the pain he felt from his illness, and I could tell she would like nothing more than to make it all go away. Mom’s are truly special.

I flew out to Miami while Christine took care of two sick boys. I felt horrible about it, but what do you do? I was in Miami and Boca Raton for work for three days, and on the last day, I made sure I grabbed an early flight back home to get there in time to see the boys to bed. Turns out both of them have had ear infections, and I’m pretty sure I picked one up too… and Christine’s finally getting her sick on this weekend.

Last weekend (3/10) we drove down to Bellville for Ella’s third birthday. It was lots of fun, and I took lots of pictures, which I haven’t put online yet. I’ll do that soon.

Oh, and it’s 3:21 a.m. on a Sunday morning right now as I write this (started writing it at 2:04) … why am I up? Because we’re sleep training Grayson finally, and the poor guy is still crying. I’m up so Christine can get some much needed sleep. Too bad kids don’t come with on/off switches. He hasn’t stopped crying completely yet, but he’s close. I hope.

One last thing: I turned 31 a week ago too. Thirty-one is totally over-rated.

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Well, let’s see. It’s been almost a month since I’ve written… seems like the days keep getting shorter the older the boys get.

This year, for Christmas, we decided to make two trips over two weekends: one to Houston, and the second to Dallas.

We made our annual trek to Houston for the Teaff family Christmas on Friday, December 22nd. Jack is definitely growing up. Last year, he couldn’t even walk this time of year. This year, he was a rip roaring two-year old, and was really looking forward to Santa and presents (he figured out how much fun it was to open presents at his second birthday party in November).

Debbie and Raymond got a new dog. He’s a cutie.

We really had fun in Houston, seeing all of the family, and opening presents. Jack got plenty of presents, and totally had a blast. He really got into the whole tearing open the presents thing, and helped Christine and I open our presents, and opened most of Grayson’s presents for him too.

Dinner with the family was amazing. I think my favorite dish was the macaroni and cheese. I think I remember that Shirley made it, and her trick was to put a little sugar in it. Mmmmm, good.

For Christmas Eve, we needed to stall the kids, and help them burn off some excitement (while Santa was heading up the front walkway) so my mom (Momo) had all of the kids (Paige, Patrick, Iliki, Matthew, and Ella) dress up in nativity scene outfits and act out a nativity scene. It was so cute to see them all dressed up as Mary, Joseph and the other players. And they did a great job too.

Jack was a little scared of Santa, and wouldn’t sit on his lap, but we got him up there with Christine and Grayson for a photo. Grayson joined me for my visit with Santa too.

Everyone seems to be doing really well, and this year’s Christmas went off without a hitch. More photos from the Teaff Family Christmas here.

Then on New Year’s weekend, we made the trek up to Dallas for Christmas with the Kamp’s. The weather was pretty bad on the way up, but we made it in 4 hours… and as soon as we arrived, it really started pouring. We got lucky to make it there before the storms really hit hard.

Jack was in full present mode at Christmas at the Kamp’s too… and had a blast helping everyone open their presents. He got some great toys in Dallas, and Grayson did too. Funny thing though, is that Jack enjoys Grayson’s toys as much as he enjoys his own…

Frank let me borrow a bunch of old camera’s he’s been holding on to for a while including an old Agfa Box camera that was his first camera, a Rolleicord IV, that was his Dad’s, and his Nikon F1 with a really nice 55mm macro lens and a bunch of assorted attachments. I’ve been playing with them since I got home, and have shot three rolls of film already. I’m gonna have to learn a lot to get good with any of them though.

We worked on the Scout a little, dropping the fuel tank and replacing part of the fuel line, and I used a couple of old rags and some soap and water to clean out the interior a little. Hopefully Jack will get to drive it someday, if we can keep it in good enough condition for 14 more years.

Christine and I actually stayed awake long enough on New Year’s Eve to see the ball drop (which I can’t believe). Then we watched a lot of football while in Dallas, and spent New Year’s day watching USC with Michael.

The drive home was better than the drive up, and we made it back to Austin in 3 hours instead of 4. Photos from the Kamp Family Christmas here.

We’re all enjoying 2007 so far, and look forward to a good year, and hope you do too.

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On December 9th and 10th, Shadel and Ella came up to Austin to visit. On the evening of the 9th, Christine and Shadel went to Central Market to learn how to cook, while I stayed home with all three kids by myself. Woohoo! We had fun.

The next day, Ella and Jack put lights on the tree for us, and I snapped a few photos:

More photos of the kids putting the lights on the tree here.

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Christine and I were looking through old photos today. This is one of our favorites:


Kissing Cousins, March 2006.

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Last week, I flew to LA, drove down to Irvine, then up to Santa Babara, then over to Pasadena, flew back to Austin, spent the night consoling Josh, and then drove to Bellville after work on Friday. Long week.

But what a great weekend!

Christine had driven down to Bellville on Thursday, and spent two days with Mo-mo (my mom’s name from the grandkids is now “mo-mo”) while I was traveling. They had an absolute blast for two days, and then we kept it going through the weekend.

We didn’t do anything spectacular, other than just hang out with each other, visit and catch up with each other, and let the kids play… and play did they!

Jack and Ella had a lot of fun on Saturday playing outside, and I took a few photos:

After a long day, Jack took his bath, and then we all sat on Ella’s bed reading books while Jack drank his milk. Ella read to us, and found Jack’s “piggies” when she got to the “This little piggy…” nursery rhyme:

After reading nursery rhymes, we sang some songs:

Like I said, it was a fun weekend. Even mowing the lawn at Mo-mo’s house was fun with the new riding lawn mower.

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