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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We had a very good Thanksgiving this year, out at the lakehouse with Debbie and Raymond. Cheri, Greg, Paige, Patrick, and Matthew were there too, and our friends Joan, Ted, Lydia and Leo joined us as well. I took a bunch of photos but haven’t downloaded them to the computer yet. So here are a few that Peggy took:

Like I said, Thanksgiving was very good this year 😉

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We went to Dallas a few weekends ago, on our way home from Tulsa, and spent a few days. I had to speak at a DFWIMA meeting on Tuesday evening, and we wanted to spend some more time with the family, so we just stayed over for a few days on our way home.

We did lots of fun things while we were there:

1. Frank set up a tent in the back-yard for the boys to play in… and Jack and I spent the night in it the first night in Dallas. Who knew that my kid tossed and turned so much? I woke up at one point with toes digging into my neck. We slept inside the rest of our trip. heh.

2. We celebrated two birthdays. Steven turned 30, and Grayson turned 2. They were both good sports about sharing a party, though afterwards Grayson pulled me aside and said “Next year, remember I’m the one that’s most important, and while I love my Uncle Steven, he has to get his own party… oh, and I’m not wearing a damned hat again. One last thing: that cake was good. Do that cake again, please, Daddy.”

More photos of the party here.

3. We opened presents. Woohoo! Presents!!!!

4. I spoke at DFWIMA, and Christine got to come with me and see what I do when I’m speaking at industry events. It’s always fun to speak to peers with other peers.

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“… I’m too young to marry…” – or at least that’s what I remember hearing about Tulsa from some country song…

Christine and the boys and I headed to Tulsa the weekend of October 11th for, Christine’s cousin, Christopher’s wedding.

Talk about fun!

First we flew to Tulsa (on Southwest of course), rented a car, and then drove to the Embassy Suites. We were experimenting with staying in a hotel room that actually has two rooms and a door between the two with the kids. It worked, although, sleeping on a pull out couch isn’t ideal.

We went to dinner with Uncle Ben, Aunt Gayle, and Angela on Friday night (at Luby’s) and had a lot of fun (the boys running around) and great conversation.

Then on Saturday we got up and went to a wedding.

It was great to see all of the Kamps in one place. Everyone looked fabulous:

The wedding was a lot of fun, and we were really glad we went.

That evening we drove out to their land just outside of Tulsa, and had fun getting to know more of the couple’s friends, listening to good music, eating good food, and drinking good beer.

On Sunday we flew to Dallas for a few days…

More photos here.

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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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Back in July, Christine decided on a Monday that it had just been too long since she’d see Oma, and it was time to go see her.

So, on a Tuesday, she threw the boys in the car, called her Dad and asked him if he wanted to go visit Oma with her… said she’d be in Dallas in a few hours to spend the night, and hit the road.

I stayed in Austin to man the fort.

She got to Dallas, let the boys plan with Nana and Papa, and spent the night. Then that next morning, Frank and her and the boys hit to road to Tulsa.

They spent a day or two with Uncle Ben and Aunt Gayle, and spent a lot of time with Oma, and had a blast.

See all of the photos 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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I found this post on Ancestry.com:

Hi looking for information/relatives on a great, great uncle WILLIAM FISCHER. Born to Martha and Johan FISCHER in Langland Denmark, approx. 1858. Immigrated to America with his brother Edward in 1881 to Iowa, moving after first year to Grayling Michigan. Died in Compton California after 1915 (?). He married Marie Johnson and had eight children two who died in infancy. THe six remaining; Mrs. Margaret ENGLER (MR. Anthony R. Engler married January 1, 1908) and William FISCHER of Madison Wisconsin, Mrs. Camilla Sorenson of Grayling MI, Mrs. Lillie McPeak and Mrs. Vita Shanahan of Grayling MI, and Mrs. Anna Hodge of California.
His other siblings: Edward, Rasmine (minnie) Otsen of Colorado, Hedwig (Rasmusson) Hanson, Emilie Sorenson, Marie Peterson, Anna Olson all of Michigan

So, it stands to reason that my great-great-grandfather William Fischer, from Langland Denmark, had a father named Johan Fischer. So the name comes from my great-great-great-grandfather from Denmark. Looks like they lived in Grayling, Michigan (from that post) which helps me figure out how the “the Engler side of your family hails from Michigan” part of the Engler history I’ve heard…

That Anthony R. Engler that married William Fischer’s daughter, Margaret Engler, was the same Anthony Engler that was my great-grandfather that was mentioned in Time in 1943, I think.

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I ordered this ad on eBay the other day. Pretty cool if you ask me 😉

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My grandfather John F. Engler, that is my Dad’s Dad, owned Engler Manufacturing Company in Houston, Texas back in the 60’s. Engler Manufacturing was best known for making the “Terrain King” mowers, which were the first wide-swath flex-wing highway mowers available. Engler Manufacturing Company was bought by Alamo Industrial in 1969 for $2.1 Million, today Alamo Industrial is based in Seguin, Texas, and is traded on the NYSE as ALG.

Who’d have guessed my grandfather had some patents in his name:

Pretty cool if you ask me.

I just found an listing on eBay for an ad from 1964 of a Terrain King mower. Kind of silly, but I bought it for $10, and it’ll be here later this week. I’ll frame it and we’ll hang it in the hall way I think, and be able to show Jack and Grayson what their great-grandfather used to make.

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Pretty cool… My mom found this article in Time from 1943, that talks about Anthony Robert Engler and his contribution to the war efforts. Anthony R. Engler was Evan’s and my Great-Grandfather, and would be Jack and Grayson’s Great-Great-Grandfather.

I PDF’d the article, if you want to download it for posterity’s sake here.

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Since the kids were on vacation this week, Christine and I decided to “get some things done” while they were out of town.

We ended up feeling like we didn’t get much done, but we enjoyed our little mini-vacation from the kids, and loved hearing about how much fun they had on their vacation to Camp Momo.

We did accomplish a few things though:

  1. We rearranged the guest bedroom, so we can actually get to and use the file cabinet that is in there to store important papers and stuff.
  2. We test drove four or five cars.
  3. We washed three or four loads of laundry (trust me doing that many loads, that I’m actually involved in, in one week is a big deal).
  4. We went to dinner at Jeffrey’s with Tony and Lisa, and Andy and KK, Jack and Christine. What a night!
  5. We “borrowed” a car on Thursday night, drove to Josh’s house to get his opinion, had dinner at the Austin Pizza Park, sampled his latest culinary creation: TUBS (The Ultimate Bacon Sundae) which comprised of home-made candied-bacon ice cream in a bacon bowl with a strip of chocolate covered bacon perched atop the scoop of ice-cream. While delicious, it was clearly “too much bacon” for me. Josh gave his thumbs-up on the car though. We also visited Tony on the way home, since the weather was so nice, and Tony gave his thumbs-up too.
  6. On Friday, Christine drove to Bellville and picked up the kids from Camp Momo.

    I got home from work and showed the kids “Daddy’s new car” (realize we still hadn’t decided to buy it yet).

    Jack and Grayson came out into the front yard, where Jack proceeded to tell me my old car was “ucky” and he thought it looked like “poop”.
    I asked him what he thought of the new car, and he said “it’s cool… it’s a racecar!” (any car with a spoiler is a racecar to him).

    I then pulled the key out of my pocket, and said “Watch this!”

    Jack’s mouth opened as wide as it could while the top of the convertible automagically retracted into the car, and when it was all done, Jack just stood there and said the best one word a Dad can here from his son: “Cool.” No exclamation.

    Just. Stoic. Coolness.

    We loaded the kids in the car, and drove off into the sunset… Actually, we drove to a Hawaiian Snow Cone place, and got out and had snow cones (a first for both boys) then we drove around for a while with the top down, before heading to McDonald’s for dinner and some playground time. On the way home, Jack asked us to “make the car change” constantly, and no matter what we did, as soon as it changed, he wanted it to change again.

  7. On Saturday, we drove out to Lakeway for some time with Debbie, Raymond, Cheri, Greg, Paige, Patrick, Matthew, Peggy, Payton, Scott, Christi, Derrick, and their friend Brian.

    We took a boat ride with all of the kids, and put them all in a big three-person tube, and pulled them behind the boat (I’m sure Greg’s back is killing him today).

    I drove back to the dealership to actually buy the car… it’s official, we own a 2005 Saab 9-3 AERO Convertible, and we’re loving it.

    (we’ll get some photos of our actual car online someday, I’m sure)

    We then took a dip in the pool before dinner, and headed home, with the top down all the way.

    The kids LOVE this car as much as we’re loving it, I think. (There’s nothing like two kids in car seats in the back of a convertible in 100 degree weather in Austin, Texas.)

    Grayson was sleeping, Jack was holding his hand
  8. On Sunday, we woke up a little late, and Jack, Grayson and I went out for a drive on the town with the top down. We found breakfast, and fed a homeless guy while we were eating (bought him a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit to go with his cup of coffee).
  9. I cleaned out the Honda for Payton… will take it to get detailed and serviced this week.
  10. I made 13 CDs (mixes of lots of different music) for the Saab’s CD changer (I haven’t listened to an actual CD in ages) because I have no idea how to connect my iPhone to it yet.
  11. We met our newest neighbors Chris and Tina, who moved in across the street about three weeks ago and have a 4.5 year old son, Quinten, and a 2.5 year old daughter, Chelsea. After seeing that they’re totally moved in and pretty much decorated, we got motivated and…
  12. Stayed up until midnight on Sunday night decorating the living-room, searching for some furniture on Craigslist, and finishing the organization of the guest room.

So, that was our week and weekend. While we “didn’t get anything done” I sure feel like we did a lot!

Watch the movie of Jack and Grayson getting down to 50 Cent in the back of the convertible on the way to Lakeway:

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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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This past weekend, while Christine was attending the Landmark Forum, Nana, Michael and I took Jack and Grayson to the Dinosaur Museum in Dallas. We took a train and bus to get there and back (which was quite the experience), and had lunch at the Old Mill Restaurant on the State Fairgrounds too.

What a fun day:

Dinosaur Movie
(Click to watch the movie)

And yes, that’s probably the first movie I’ve made since Christmas… sorry, hope to post more in the future.

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