Sunday, May 31, 2009

No Rest for the Kidded

It's a darn good thing we live in an area with lots to do. But even though there's plenty to occupy yourself with around here, at the pace we're going, Riley will have done it all before he makes two years.

That was a very long winded way of saying it was another activity filled week for the kiddo.

First, he got to spend Monday with Mommy and Daddy, since most offices were closed in the name of patriotism.

His day consisted mostly of running around town in the Jeep. I'm so glad he's an outdoorsey kid and has taken a liking to the Jeep. If he's nice enough to me, i might even let him drive it some day.

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He spent a little time at the mall where he made his first escalator ride. (who had the bright idea of putting kid's clothes on the top floor of every department store?)

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If only he had been born earlier, he would have loved the waterfall at the Acadiana Mall, which has now been replaced by a cheap, boring, moldy fountain. He was not impressed by the modern setup.

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After the mall, we had lunch at Pepin's, a small gas station sandwich shop. He's getting better at feeding himself. But since he has also learned the word "down" (pronounced "damn") he was quickly out of the booth and exploring the aisles of snacks and low budget dinner ingredients.

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During the week, Riley had his first dentist appointment, which went about as well as we expected, considering how he cries when we brush his teeth. Everything's healthy though, and we weren't asked to never come back, so I call it a success.

Thursday was a rain check Rhythms, which ended up being a continuation of the normal day, since it was mostly Riley, Gabe, and Anna running around like wild animals. No pics, but here's a cute shot of two of the suspects.

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Friday night was the best Downtown Alive we've seen in a long time.

We've been waiting for a chance to see the Howdies for the last year and it just hadn't worked out. We knew their style would be right up our alley and maybe give us some old Weary Boys show flashbacks. They were even better than I expected though.

If you have any respect for rocking, old country, catch these guys soon.
They even held Riley's attention, so you know they're good.

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Major kudos to the DTA folks for booking something young and different.
There were some ticked off folks in the crowd who wanted to see their usual swamp-pop 70's covers band and left disappointed, but there were also a whole lot of people who finally got to see something of their own style at DTA. Very Refreshing.

Saturday morning was 2nd Cousin Eli's first birthday party. As usual when those two are together, we stay entertained by how much smaller Riley is than Eli, who is already fitting tight in 18 month clothes. Riley was mesmerized by the older kids playing baseball, but even more captivated by the cake and ice cream.


Saturday afternoon was hanging out and tasting various gourmet beers at Gabe's house.
Well, Riley didn't taste the beers. He also didn't demonstrate the concepts of sharing or being gentle very well, but we're working on them.

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Sunday morning we headed over to Blackham Coliseum where some of my distant cousins were showing dogs. Riley enjoyed (as usual) driving Nonnie's Jeep, but even more so, seeing all of the different types of dogs. He was even brave enough to pet a few.

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From there, we took a trip south to Avery Island so that Riley could spend a day with uncle Eli and Anthill.
That place is really nice.......... at other times of the year.
We didn't really get to enjoy the natural beauty because every time you left the truck you were being divebombed by some pretty wicked flies and bugs. Way too natural for us.

Anthill employed the "Old School" earmuff trick to protect her cranial innards from the beasts.

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The bugs did relax long enough for us to get a cute pic of UL's Cutest Couple at one of Louisiana's oldest oak trees (according to some paper we saw)

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Riley enjoyed getting to see the thousands of egrets at Bird City.

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The coolest thing though is the gators. Here's a 3-5 footer that I got about 5-7 feet from.

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And here's Riley trying out to get transferred Down Under to the Irwin family.
Those gators don't even phase him.

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We topped that all off with a Tabasco tour, which was essentially just us trying to keep Riley quiet through a 10 minute movie. It was a good practice ground though since the movie was free, thus no one's money was wasted.

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Finally, a quiz question:

Is Riley....

A) Part goat as evidence by the apparent sprouting horns on his forehead;


b) Part Brandon, as evidence by the fact that mosquito bites turn into giant tumors on his body.

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Your guess is as good as mine. I really don't know the answer.

Not much planned for this week, but all lack of plans are subject to last minute change without notice.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Jibba Jabba

I'm posting this on Monday, Memorial Day.

From what I understand, based on Latin root words, Memorial Day is a day when people are off of work to help them remember how much they wish they were retired.

Don't need a special holiday for that, but I'll take it.

Blogwise, I seem to have fallen into a formula, most of the time, where I talk about Riley's development, then give a run down of our week, before sometimes topping that off with random pics that didn't really fit anywhere else. Boring huh?

Yet this site still gets a couple hundred clicks a week. (most of those are my mom, but a stat is a stat)

Oh well. No originality in my veins today, so let's get formulaic.

On the developmental front, Riley's vocabulary is developing at a surprisingly rapid pace. I guess it isn't surprising though, considering that his mom was using clear sentences at 18 months (from what I've been told)

He only says a couple of words really clearly, but he says a lot that are mostly there.

Even though the exact pronunciation and second syllables aren't there, he uses the sounds in appropriate context, which makes them understandable.

Off hand, he's got: Mama, Dada, light, knock knock, bye bye, milk, nap, book, ball, bird, boom, shoe, plane, Jeep, and Jimmy.

If you just put him in an empty room and heard him say "dim," "pay" or "deep," you wouldn't think anything of it, but when he does that while pointing at Jimmy, a plane or a Jeep (mine, Nonnie's or anyone he sees around town) you know that he knows what he's saying.

I think that's ahead of 14 months on the milestone chart, and since I think good language and reading skills are THE most important tools anyone can have, I really hope this is a sign for his aptitude. (I promise I have better language skills than I demonstrate here.)

In addition to the words he says on his own, he's also parroting like crazy. The pressure is really on to clean up my vocab. ( I won't incriminate Joan.)

Unfortunately, the ever expanding vocab has been accompanied by the discovery of the tantrum. Maybe thanks to an incident described below, he's at least smart enough not to have a "throw yourself on the floor" tantrum and opts for the "carefully lay on the floor" tantrum instead.

Time to do some reading up on how to handle that, since punting him over the fence, my gut instinct, is probably not pediatrician (or cop) recommended.

He had plenty of reason to cry early in the week. Last Sunday, he had his worst injury to date. While still in his pajamas, he fell in the kitchen and split his lip. I was about as far away from him in the house as you can be, and still heard the sound of skin on tile.

We rushed in there and, given the amount of blood, were sure he had knocked out a tooth. Thankfully, all 8 are still there, but his lip was terribly disgusting.

Here's a shot of it after a couple of days of healing, and once the ground beef in cottage cheese look had subsided.

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Saturday morning started out nice with a calculating squirrel trying to eat from the squirrel-proof bird feeder, with us only 10 feet away. After a battle with the cardinal family that claims the feeder, and repeated attempts & failure the squirrel finally gave up.


On trying to leave though, he was accosted by another squirrel and they fought, just feet from me, for another 5 minutes.


The best part was that Riley sat quietly and watched them, as he does the feeding cardinals every morning. Sitting quietly is unusual for him, but if nature does it, I'll give him all he can take.

After being out of the groove for a couple of weeks with vacation and recovery, we got back to the Saturday swing of lunch at Johnson's.

It doesn't get more local than eating jambalaya, boudin, and boudin balls, drinking Abita (root beer) and listening to zydeco on KRVS, while sitting out on a porch under a fan. I love it.

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Riley, as usual, had his fill of fun playing with Ms. Claire at the register. She lets him push the buttons and open the drawer. It's not a service offered to every customer, but Riley seems pretty non-threatening.
He is thoroughly impressed with himself when he does it, but doesn't quite understand why he doesn't get to play with the register at every store we go to. Hopefully he'll learn before he gets too big and ends up with a Tazer in his back.

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Then Ms. Claire elevated herself to goddess status when she gave him his first ring pop. He was hesitant initially, but then made all of the mess you would expect a one year old to make with a sucker that barely fits in his mouth. He was about as happy as can be.

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After a good nap, it was time to head over to uncle Jake's house for a little engagement shindig.

The centerpiece was a pretty impressive pig roasting method.

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The pig was mounted to a motor and the swine flew around and around till crisped up and ready for the table.

Sunday was a milestone. Riley made it through church for the first time without either falling asleep or having to be taken out. He's never bad, just a little too talky for church.

But I guess one of the advantages of going to the 8:30 service, where the average age is 70+ years, is that many of the folks can't even hear him.

Later in the day, we took advantage of a break in the weather to head out to the zoo. Of course, when I asked him if he wanted to go to the zoo, he proudly pointed at his shoes. You can't ask for too much.

He's getting progressively more interested in the animals every time we go, and I think he actually recognizes a few.

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He is also becoming a slide junkie and even got cocky enough to race another kid. They were tied 2-2 after 4 races, so we called it a day.

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This trip also marked his first encounter with an aggressive animal when the Caracal did not want us anywhere near its cage.

(I tried to think of some kind of joke playing on caracal & carousel, but, for the readers who don't know me personally, I'd rather you just think I'm a dork, than know I am.)

He finished the day off with a visit to Royal Panda where he was able to have his favorite dinner (or any meal).... a bowl of ice cream.

That's all I can think to say this week. Pretty sad, huh?

To complete the formula though, here's the randoms:

King of the Hill

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Hi-5 with Ms Sylvia

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Stealing Anthill's phone

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Hangin' with Nonnie and Poppy

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If the weather allows, be sure to check out Downtown Alive this week.
The openers, The Howdies, are a pretty good, old country outfit, whose drums are held down by an old family friend.
Then if you like the band, head over to AAA and the drummer (Austin) will poke holes in just about any part of your body, for a small fee. Multi-talented.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Here in the Real World

(Warning, there will be alot of pics in this post. I hope we don't break the internets.)

All good things must end.
After nearly a week of white sand, emerald waters and cool breeze, we're back in the land of noxious ligustrums, muddy water and 100% humidity.

Oh well.

It was a good week, and I think a good time was had by all, each in their own ways.
Despite hating the beach and the pool, Riley had a blast just having the chance to run around in a new environment and see lots of birds (his new favorite observation).

We stayed in the Westwinds at Sandestin. Our unit was at the end of a hall on the first floor with super convenient access to the pool and beach. The building was very family friendly and I would highly recommend it, especially unit 4706, to anyone looking to vacation there at non-peak times.

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The drives weren't too bad. Just a mix of short naps, entertainment by Mommy, and Riley's first purposeful cartoon viewing.

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We made it there with 2 stops and back with 1. Definitely a surprisingly pleasant outcome.

At our "there" trip lunch stop, the boy learned that he could climb up onto a table from the booth bench.

Upon arrival at the Destin-ation, he figured out that skill transfers to luggage carts , which doubled our unpacking trips since he was taking up space on every cart.

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Despite not cooperating with hats or sunglasses for the past 6 months, the trauma of hating the pool broke his will, and he finally gave in to both.

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He was fine for the first few minutes on the beach.

Then he decided he hated it, and wanted absolutely no contact with either water or sand.


He and I biked all around Sandestin one day, and he slept for over an hour. I guess it's easier there than here though, since they maintain their roads and it's not populated with inbreds trying to cause public deafness with their exhaust systems.

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Back in the condo, he enjoyed the shared attention of six adults and being able to play with Cousin Caroline (in the fleeting moments when they were simultaneously awake)
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Mr. Safety wanted to wear a seatbelt on the tram, but didn't quite nail it.

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His new favorite word is bird, and he can spot them better than most adults.
His new favorite game though is "Spin The Wheel".
Anywhere he can find a tire, he is trying to turn it.
Usually it is a stroller wheel.

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But he did happen across a large , competition BBQ trailer with its front axle jacked, and spent a good bit of time giving it a whirl.

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On a side note, next time you're in Destin, try Lillie's on Pigs Alley. Its a small BBQ stand on Hwy 98 between Sandestin and the outlet mall. and it is really good.
I probably would have eaten there more than once, but they were closed for a few days to go compete at Memphis in May.

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In 2007, they won Memphis in May for best sauce and best pulled pork.
Their pork was pretty good, but........(you can guess where this is going).......... I honestly think that Johnson's Boucaniere's is better. (vote Johnson's for best BBQ in the Times of Acadiana)

As usual, the star doesn't want to go anywhere without his shoes, even if he hasn't yet changed out of his pajamas.

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We did some shopping at Destin Commons one day where he had a blast playing with their two fountains.

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Uncle Paul's quick shutter finger caught these action shots of Riley being put on his butt by a surprise water cannon to the face.

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No other real stories.

Overall, it was a good trip and Sandestin seems like a great destination with kids in the offseason.(I've heard it is too packed at busy times).

Also, prices are down right now, because owners want bodies in the rooms.

Now here's your grab bag of various pics that i like.

Pretty Boy
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He loved the waterfall.
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Early in the week.

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Later in the week.

Whats black and white and red all over? Daddy and Riley

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Running away.

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Straight face


Don't take me in there


You took me in there

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Hangin' with Mommy


Official Bubble Wrangler

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Peek a Boo

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Stud Pose

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Heeeey Macarena

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Talking Belly-button

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Full Group


Our CajunBabyWallace Family shots


Now back to the real world of work and sweat. (the sweat part is only from walking to and from the cars at lunch and after work)