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:

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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!

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Just got this email from Jack’s teacher… Can’t wait to congratulate Jack on his GREAT report card (no matter what it actually says, it’ll be great… I want him to learn to enjoy getting report cards and learning how to use them as a source of power and fulfillment):

From: Jill Brumley
Subject: Report Cards
Date: October 22, 2010 12:34:29 PM CDT


Report cards are coming home today! The children did a great job- Please sign the envelope and return next week.

Explanation of Kindergarten Academic Grades
– 4 means ADVANCED. The student is working a year above grade level on a consistent basis.
– 3 means SKILLED. The student is working at grade level and has a deep and thorough understanding of the concept/skill.
– 2 means BASIC UNDERSTANDING. The student is working AT GRADE LEVEL and has a BASIC UNDERSTANDING of the concept/skill.
– 1 means NEEDS IMPROVEMENT. The student is working BELOW grade level.

Jill Brumley
Kindergarten Teacher
Hill Elementary

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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”.

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Last year Jack got to dress up for the 2009 Pow Wow. It was a pretty darn cool event.

I kind of can’t wait until Grayson’s turn at it this year!

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

Christmas in September anyone?

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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!

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I should have posted this a year ago:

From: Christine Engler
Subject: Conference with Jack’s Teacher
Date: October 23, 2009 10:50:57 PM CDT

We had a conference with Jack’s teacher today, and I wanted to share with you her statement describing Jack on the school’s “Progress and Development Report.”

“It is such a PLEASURE to have Jack in my class this year. I can ALWAYS count on him to add ‘his two cents worth’ to my story or lesson.”

She described him as exceptional, very sweet, super intelligent and academically advanced. I teared up a little when she said “he is the model student.” She said she often calls on him when the class doesn’t seem to be ‘getting it’ because she knows he will always have the right answer.

Needless to say, we are very proud!

We miss Ms. Flores.

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So, we went to Bull Creek Park the other day, to get out of the heat, and into the creek, for a little cooling off.

After a little while, I noticed Steven was skipping rocks. I told the boys to go learn from him. Jack was super interested.

After a few tries, Steven leaned down to give Jack some pointers. He was showing him how to throw the rocks, so they’d skip.

After a few more tries, Steven leaned down to show Jack how to pick which rocks to skip:

“See this rock? This rock is good and flat, but it’s not perfectly flat. This side bulges out a little, and this other side is caved in a little. See this side? It’s convex. And this side is concave. We want to throw it with this side down. Got that, Jack?”

And Jack looked up at Steven with these “I completely understand you, but I have no idea what you said” look in his eyes. He then proceeded to throw the rock, and it skipped a little.

That is how Jack learned the difference between convex and concave. Now to get him into a 10th grade geometry class, so he retains it.

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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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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.

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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.

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I got home tonight to some wonderful smells coming from the kitchen. Christine was cooking chicken, and it looked good.

As she cooked, I sat on the couch and recounted my day with the boys… and vice versa. Turns out Jack got to go in a paddle boat today, in a lake, that had only three alligators in it.

We sat down for dinner, and Christine said “I hope it’s good” with a pleading look on her face.

I said “something new?”

“Yes, I was trying to make Chicken curry, but I was missing one ingredient.”

I asked “what was that?”

“Curry” was the answer.

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A friend is expecting a new baby in June, and asked me for some “good parenting tips” so I started writing… just want to share what I wrote her:

Best advice I can give:

1. Love your child every day, more than the day before, and cherish every moment with them.
2. Expect them to change all the time, and yet never be anything but your baby, no matter how old they are.
3. Even when they are starting to get annoying as they get older (like whiny three-year olds for example) remember that they aren’t as sage and wise as you are, and they are just acting how they think they should act, to get a desired response. Pick them up. Hug them, and tell them you love them, and then enforce the rules, but with love.
4. Spend as much time with them as you can, because at some time in the future, you won’t get to spend as much time with them as you want.
5. Remember that your love is what pushes them… in everything they do… so give them lots of love and attention, and always know that they love you back just as much.

Or the short version:

Say “I love you” to your child every chance you get and show them your love in everything you do for and with them.

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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.

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