Sunday, March 28, 2010

Scaled Back

So, for those of you not in the know, Toy Story 1 & 2 came out this week on BluRay and DVD.
We watched TS2 on Blu Ray and it is awesome.
It was almost like there were a bunch of toys actually playing in our TV.
I highly recommend going out and getting them both. They've got some pretty good deals going if you do a little net searching first.

and don't forget, before you buy a stand-alone Blu Ray player, compare its costs to a PS3.
Going with the PS3 is probably worth it.

On to the weekend:
Loyal readers will remember that for Riley's first birthday we had a crawfish boil for over 75 people (see "Its Big and Fun" in the right sidebar)
This year, for a number of reasons, we decided to scale things back alot.
Saturday we had just our immediate families, Riley's Nanny and her beau, Jeff, over.

The small scale gave Riley a chance to give and get some cousinly love (appropriately, not hillbillily)

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Of course, if you've been here before, you know that this week's title has nothing to do with our bathroom scale.

Never a family to make healthy decisions, we opted not just for cake, but also for bread pudding from Johnson's Boucaniere.

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the local bread pudding looked even better on the Lafayette landmark plate that Eli and 'Manda got us for Christmas.

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(click to get to the full size w/ detail)

The cake was from Anjo's.
We've had it before when they call it Mardi Gras cake, but this week it is Easter Cake.

three different layers of cake: yellow, raspberry and almond.
Two different fillings: strawberry and White
Coated with a light whipped icing.

It is really good, especially chilled.

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Riley was eager to dig in and had to be held back

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and was surprisingly successful at blowing out the candle.

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Riley and Caroline enjoyed.

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Frankly, one of the reasons for a scaled down party is we wouldn't have room for a whole lot of presents. But Riley did like the "new toys" he got.

While I hoped he would hop right on his new Strider bike, he refused.
He likes walking with it, but just not in the straddle position.

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but its got a spinning wheel, which is all he requires for a premium plaything.

and to go along with the new Toy Story DVDs, he got Woody and Buzz toys, and Toy Story coloring supplies, along with a bunch of helicopters and a new, giant Tonka truck.

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(in an attempt to excuse the character themed commercialism that we usually try to eschew, here's my justification for all of the Disney stuff: We're trying to prep him for our Disney trip in December, and since the TS characters are everywhere, we're trying to get him to know and love them. But I still stick to my two Commandments. Thou shalt not bring Elmo into my home; and Thou Shalt not bring Barney into my home, lest ye face the wrath scary, huh?)

Lesley, having recently been to the Super Bowl, tried to teach Riley to catch.
Unsuccessful in this take.

But Jeff, who was at the big game with her, did better with handoff technique

To finish off the evening, we ordered from BJ's.
Hard to beat a good old Full House.
and for those that don't know, their sausage pizza uses breakfast style sausage. Killa!

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(don't forget about 40% off Mondays)

Sunday, being the nerds we are, we were cooking for the week by 8am.
The weather was nice, so for the first time in months, I cranked up the Egg and seared up some fajita meat from HEB.

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It should be good once we finish all the cake and bread pudding that we've been substituting for meals.

Later, despite previously witnessing juvenille violent crime and a train derailment (catch a first person account at the Tanory Tantrum) we headed to the zoo.

Since I'm pretty open here I'll let you know our reason: The reason we went to the zoo was that he saw his stroller in Joan's car and said, "That's Riley's stroller. I go see animals at zoo."

So, of course, we went to the zoo. Who's the Boss?

Despite the crowd that would seem trashy even by WalMart standards, and the general filth that permeates the zoo, its actually a pretty cool resource to have nearby.

You can get close to the animals and run up a hill.
That's 100% compliance for certification as an official "Cool Zoo to a 2 Year Old"

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The highlight of the trip was that he got to ride to lunch in Nonnie's Jeep.

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Lunch at Royal Panda was typical. Riley acted like a ham and Caroline ate like an adult.

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the little bit he did eat consisted mainly of his first ice cream cone.

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But, as you can see, he is pretty inefficient and not understanding that eating an ice cream cone is a race against the clock.

then, since he dropped his cool guy sunglasses into the monkey moat at the zoo, we were forced to bravely venture into the mall.
He actually fit in a little (to the extent that, like most people there, his clothes were too small for him.)

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(I know, those shots have nothing to do with that stament, but I like 'em so i'll post 'em)

Finally, a video clip to give all you mothers out there a heart attack.

A game Uncle Eli and I created this summer that we call "That Thing Where We Each Hold an Arm and a Leg and Spin Him."
Riley likes it.

Unfortunately Necessary Disclaimer- We are very careful not to swing him too hard and not to put any shock forces on his joints. 'Bout as safe as you can be and still have fun. But thanks to me, we've almost met our deductible this year, so whats a little ER visit?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

How big is the hill?

As much as I would love to regale you with wondrous, hilarious, adventurous tales from this past week, I won't.
because it was a pretty routine-ish week.

Now, that won't stop me from posting, it'll just stop me from gaining any new readers.

To save time we'll fast forward to Friday, the day on which I embarked on my fourth decade on the planet. (that sounds way older than saying 30)

I started the day exactly like most youngsters do, having blood drawn for tests and making a cardiologist appointment.

If that doesn't scream "youth" I don't know what does.

Which brings me to philosophical ponderings:

When are you over the hill?
30, 40, 50?

And is the hill the same for everyone?
Going back 2 generations, I only have one direct-line ascendant who has made it past 60, so if the hill is a flexible concept, I'm on the downslope.
Joan, on the other hand, has never had a relative die before 80 (i think) and still has some living relatives who went to school with Abe Lincoln (or as they called him, Funny-Hat McBeardface). Thus, though older than me, she is still little-engine-that-could'ing up the grade.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. (if that's legal in your state)

But, as a birthday present to me, I gave me the day off.

It was borderline warm enough for Jeeping, so Riley and I went topless to Bach Lunch.

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The place was crowded for the great weather and Bonsoir Catin.

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Riley didn't like the volume level and was kinda embarrassed and style cramped to be there with just his old man, so we didn't stay long.

To punish him for his scorning me, I went and scored myself a burrito from Taco Sisters and made him watch me eat it while drowning in toddler jealousy.

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ok, not quite true. Though their burritos are spectacular, he doesn't know it.
And, since I'm actually a nice guy, we stopped and saw Granny at work and he had red velvet cake, while I ate.

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Product Plug- Taco Sisters is now open 11-2 on Saturdays and until 6 during the week. Well worth the trip down Johnston to Vermilion. this is high quality food. Find 'em on Facebook. If only Taco Sisters and Johnson's would move to the Southside, I could live my life in a 1 mile wide bubble.

Event Plug- Mark your calendars for the Good Friday Bach Lunch in 2 weeks featuring The Howdies. They're the bomb-diggy-yo. Made with Pure Lighting.
< /crass commercialism>

After much needed haircuts, we headed to Downtown Alive to meet most of our family and friends.

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Riley and Gabe battled for Nonnie's affection, though they both suck at climbing.

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Jake and Gavin got the obligatory "South Louisiana, Make It Look Like the Baby is Drinking" shot.

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and Riley was as cheesy as ever.

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literally- he had Cheez-its all over his face.

Saturday we headed to the cess-pool to visit Heather and Trey's newest accessory, Ian.

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Riley was a little confused by the fact that there is a baby whose name is not Gavin, but he got over it by doing some gardening with Ian's big sister, Lillian.

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Then, since we can't leave BR without being uncomfortably full, we headed over to Nagoya.
Despite dozens of selections of good sushi, traditional Asian buffet items and Pineapple rice......

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Riley chose Cheez-its and yogurt. Trailer trash gourmet, but it's in his DNA.

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and, like always, the highlight was the fish pond, where Riley identified "fish", "turtles", and "trash," the three necessary elements of a thriving aquatic ecosystem.

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our abnormally large lunch (by most human standards) precluded dinner that evening, which I think makes it a great bargain. (forget the future medical expenses it accelerates)

Sunday morning, ready to once again pig out, we headed to Another Broken Egg with my family and Joan's parents.

Gavin eyed the food,

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Riley ignored the food,

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and I documented the food (specifically my strawberry banana pancake)

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and, again, I don't think we'll be eating another meal today.

Now a couple of stories about the wonders of technology.

We were able to find a new home for the squatter dog that showed up last week.

We posted her everywhere that someone looking for a lost pet would try, and after 5 days of no response, we deemed her abandoned.

Fortunately, we were able to find someone looking for a new pet who picked her up Wednesday.

What was cool was how fast the email that i sent to about 30 friends got around. Within a day, people I know in Lafayette were getting the email from people I don't know in other cities.
The person who got the dog received the email with at least three degrees separation from anyone I know.
It was neat to see the 'net work for something other that than pictures of the People of Wal mart, fake vIAgra and ciAli$ ads, and rumor emails about how various companies and the US Mint have, in fact, killed God.

Finally, Joan was very crafty and scored me a pretty cool birthday present, a Canon PowerShot SD960 IS Digital Elph.

Most of the shots on this site are taken with our Nikon D60 digital SLR camera, which takes great photos, but isn't always practical to lug around. Our old point & shoot wasn't pocket size and is starting to age, so we now have this one.
It is tiny, but takes good shots, boots quickly and shoots video in HD.

Here's a few that we played with.

Video documentation of an event that was thought extinct 18 months ago--- Caroline allowing herself to be fed, however briefly, with a spoon, by an adult. (she's usually too independent.)

And somehow, from some story book, Riley has concluded that anytime you smell a flower, you have to sneeze. We didn't know this but it worked out to be quite humorous on our Saturday afternoon trip to the nursery.

and finally, the ABC's.
I told him he had to know the alphabet before he turned 2, or he was going to boarding school in Kazakhstan.
But given the current exchange rate between the US dollar and the Kazakh Tenge, I'll call this substantially correct enough to keep him around.

Next weekend he gets his birthday bike. and I can post that here, because he doesn't like this site, so he'll never see it.
He probably won't like the bike, but it'll make me feel cool, and that's why we have kids anyway, right?
no, seriously, you agree, huh?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Feeling The Models

Still having internet trouble, but I'll try to knock this out while I seem to be getting through.

If you're just stopping by for the first time this week, please see the post below regarding a stray dog that has taken up residence in our front yard.

We can't keep her but we don't want her to die. If you know of a friendly home, please let us know.

The dog is really cramping Riley's style. Earlier in the week, we had resumed the garage breakfast picnic which actually gets Riley to eat and helps him learn lots of words like "Slow down jacka$$" and "Look it's Tweedle Dumb and Tweedler Dumb."

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(though the dog is friendly, we're trying to keep her out of the garage, mostly because she doesn't want to leave once she's in.)

Making signs, calling shelters and trying to get the dog to find its old home took up most of our Saturday. But we did have a chance to go and test drive a van that we'll likely be buying in the next 6-8 months or so.

After realizing that we would have to buy a $300 ticket for Riley to fly to Orlando, we decided it would be better to drive, but that driving would require a new vehicle.

So, to save $300, we're going to spend $XX,000.
Makes sense doesn't it?

We got Riley to consent to the test drive by telling him it was a "Disney World van"

For at least a year, we have know that a mini-van is the most practical choice for Joan's next car, but she refused to relinquish her self identification as being "young" and "cool." That is until the 2011 Toyota Siennas came out.
Saturday, we headed down to Musson Patout so see the color we want in person.
We know know exactly what we want and are just waiting until the timing is right financially to pull the trigger.
Behold the 2011 Toyota Sienna in Pre-Dawn Gray.


But if the 2011 Odysseys look good when they come out, then we're back to square one. Unfortunately though, their preview pics are pretty bad, so it seems like our decision is made for us.

Now, for your entertainment purposes, that leaves just Sunday.

In honor of Dr. Uncle Paul's birthday and in order to give Riley some face time with his long lost Nanny, we headed down to NO to check out the last weekend of the Disney animation exhibit at the Museum of Art.

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I can tell you it was a certifiably great idea, judging by the fact that EVERYONE else in Louisiana was there except for you. (yes, I do mean you, my Everyman-ish reader.)
The exhibit looked pretty cool, but was really crowded and Riley needed a nap after traffic had stretched our drive an extra 45 minutes.

After the museum we ate at Theo's Pizza near the corner of Carrolton and Canal.
Riley wasn't in a pizza mood, but proudly demonstrated his ever evolving yogurt eating skills.

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The place seems pretty hip and instead of a number identifying your table, you sport a placard with a cool-cat cult figure. We happened to be Christopher Walken.

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The food was pretty good, but Riley was much more impressed by the beautiful day outside and the sights of New Orleans.

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He took special delight in his massacre of, literally, micrograms of ants who dared to scurry about his sidewalk domain.

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(while brandishing a 2 inch long pointed stick as an ant smasher, his kill accuracy was on par with Bobby Hebert's pronunciation accuracy after a Saints win)

He also found it hilarious to tell me that he had ants in his mouth.

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(his new trick is talking with his tongue out like the Melissa Stevenson song Love To Move)

Our plan was to then head to the Audubon zoo.
This weekend was Soul Fest and we were hoping to catch Rebirth and maybe a little soul food.

Unfortunately, it looked like everyone in Louisiana (except you) was at the zoo too.(though you were "axt" for by the monkeys, tigers and elephants)

We were still a half mile from the zoo and people were parking on the side of the road and walking. Definite no go with two nap deficient 2 year olds.

Instead we made the oh so undesirable compromise of going to Creole Creamery and contributing to the local economy, and the general decline of our own health.

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As I've posted before, this place does mini scoop samplers and with a menu like this, it is hard to choose just a few.

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The hit of the day, for the women folk, was the Lavender and Honey, while the mens were all hopped up by the Guinness Cherry Stout, (get it?) which actually tasted like cherry and beer ice cream. Quite cool.

Riley showed us how it looks to live life like no one is looking at you, while Caroline, knowing that people were looking, tried to camouflage herself with ice cream.

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That's about it aside from these shots of Riley's new Buzz Lightyear pajamas in honor of the re-release of the first two Toy Story movies.

To Infinity and Beyond

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PS- In addition to recommendations on where to send the stray dog, we're also taking pro and con advice on Toyota salesmen/dealerships. Thanks.