Monday, April 4, 2011

Cast Bios

I've been so neglectful of this place that procrastination paralysis has set in. Too much unsaid to be able to get anything said.

I already posted a little rundown of what we've been up to recently. Now this one is just about the kids. You know, our fashion accessories.

Riley is now three years old and is rapidly becoming a real kid.


Our new neighborhood is great for him being able to get out and run, explore the adjacent cane fields, and "fish for crawfish."


We still have to push food on him to keep him on the weight chart, but he's got great local tastes and can always be counted on to eat pulled pork from Johnson's, Meche's donut holes, or a bag of Crawtators.


Upon finishing that bag he told me, "Those chips feel like they have fire in them."

And he put a good dent in the minicake from Southside that he had for his Birthday Breakfast.


Much to our satisfaction, he seems to really like music.
In addition to having a toy trumpet, saxophone, 2 guitars, 3 harmonicas and plenty of drums, he's also gone to a few concerts at Lafayette High and seen the Symphonic Band and Percussion Ensemble (his favorite)

He's been really good about sitting quietly and paying attention to the music, except at one point where he had to be taken out, crying, because he wanted to be the one playing the drums.

(and I count him pretending to conduct to be good behavior, though it would probably not be considered so for an adult.)

If you are looking for an activity that is good for the kiddos' brains and free, check out the calendar over at (note: during marching season not everything is free, but most concert events are.)

Mr. Walker's groups always have something good going.

I'm sure other schools do stuff too, but that would be like a Blood telling you to go hang out with some Crips and you ain't gonna catch me slippin'.

But wait, there's more. For the same low price, we'll double your order and bludgeon you with photos of not one, but two of our offspring.

Avery is almost three months old now. Joan has been back at work for two weeks and the baby's sleep schedule is kind of hit and miss.

But she's starting to look more human-like and, as of this week, is smiling and attempting to use her voice.


Joan has had fun playing with Avery's hair and perfecting the "bowhawk" which capitalizes on her hair's natural tendency to 'hawk up. (which is different from hock up)


She was born with a lot of hair and, for a while, was shedding like a Husky in Ecuador in July.

But she had enough to start with that she only ended up with a couple of thin spots.


She's old enough now to allow us to go to gatherings with our friends, where Sarah and Traci compete to see who has the most "baby whispering" skills. They're both pretty good.

and Traci better be, because I've heard tales of what her husband was like as a kid.

Most shots we have of Avery come with a pacifier in her mouth.


but we have a few good ones without


and at least one that will be used as a screening tool for future potential boyfriends.


Both kids get along pretty well for now.
We know it won't always be that way, but we'll take it as long as it lasts.


and finally, we want to extend a special thanks to our old high school pal Christian, for Avery's custom bedroom art, inspired by a photo of her bedding.


People with talent have always amazed me, and Christian definitely has some.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Goings On

From the start with Riley, we tried to integrate him into our normal lives instead of dropping everything just because we had a kid.

I strongly feel that it is important for kids to get out and about regularly, even just for trips to the grocery store. I think this blog documents the fact that we were pretty successful in living that philosophy when Riley was new.

While having two kids does seem like more than twice the work of having one kid, we've still been able to be fairly active and get Avery involved.

Despite some pretty good temperature swings, we actually attempted Mardi Gras 2011.

I used to be one of those people who spoke of how Lafayette Mardi Gras is family friendly and better for families than NOLA and blah blah blah. I don't really believe that anymore.

This year my eyes were more open than ever to just how much the trash, of all ages, crawls out of their festering septic tanks/gene pools and inflicts themselves on the world.

Don't get me wrong, there are still plenty of family friendly spots, but the same can be said for NOLA.

We have the great fortune of my having a colleague with a large yard, just steps off of the parade route, who loves to open his home to everyone he knows. Without that, Mardi Gras would not be part of our lives.

This year we tried the Monday night parade with the whole fam.

Avery got all bundled up and behaved pretty well for a five week old.


Riley stoically observed the parade, but enjoyed it nonetheless.


Overall, it was a success.


Tuesday, the gals stayed home, and the day was pretty dreary. Riley got to play with a few colleagues' kids and grandkids, but we called it quits pretty early.


Just before Joan went back to work, Avery had her baptism/christening (I don't remember what they call it at a Methodist Church.)


Lesley (their godmother) was able to make it in, while Eli (their godfather) was stranded near the beach in St Augustine, Florida with his new wife. Poor Things.

But Avery wore a little something to symbolize both.

(explanation: Lesley lives in NOLA, has season tix and went to the Super Bowl,and gave her these bloomers. Eli is a Saints fan as well.)

(explanation: Eli's name starts with an E.)

For a couple of years, we've been going to Covenant Methodist Church on Martial. I'm not really quite sure what Methodism actually is, but I know these people don't pester you and they don't seem kooky. That 'bout meets my criteria for a church. And they supposedly have a good preschool. We'll find out in August.

Just this week, the original star of this show had his third birthday and accompanying tiny party. We figured that after his extravagant first birthday party (The Cousins' Collective First Birthday Boil) we'd take a few years off.

So this year he enjoyed the immediate family and couple of friends that stopped by, and everyone enjoyed the food from.........Can you guess?

Yup, Johnson's Boucaniere.

The quality of the cake art was questionable, but you can't beat a double doozie cookie cake.


We figured it was so bad that Disney couldn't possibly assert any copyright claim.

and it's just going to end up a mess anyway.
Poor Buzz.


In the lead up to the party, we had a treasure hunt in the backyard to indulge his current stage wherein the body we named Riley is often possessed by Captain Hook.


Conveniently, when Captain Hook and Smee buried their treasure in the backyard, they marked it with an X made of discarded border stones. Such thoughtful pirates.


He was probably a little too young to really get into the digging process.


But he got a little excited once he saw the chest.


and was pumped once he was able to play with his plundered loot.


He surprised me by unpromptedly saying, "I wish Caroline was here to see my gold doubloons." I don't know if he wanted to share or gloat, but we can assume the best.

He's even been nice enough to share with his cousin Gavin.


One reason for a small party is we're already so stocked that we don't have room to take on many more toys. But he did get a few fun things, like a tunnel that's great for hiding things like Dads.


and a tricycle for learning to pedal.


Learning to pedal will bring him one step closer to his ultimate goal of getting a "pedal bike."

Last year we got him a running/scoot/balance bike and he's started to get really good at it. He can now go some pretty good distances and down small slopes with no feet. here's a couple of clips from the first day that he figured that out.

I really recommend one of these to anyone who wants their kids to learn bike skills early. I totally buy into the idea of teaching balance before putting a kid on a "pedal bike," and I think because of it, I will feel more comfortable putting Riley on a "pedal bike" earlier.

And I vouch for the Strider brand. Good quality and a very good price compared to some of the other brands.

Finally, in furthering our transition to textbook suburban family, Joan and I have each gotten new wheels in the last couple of months.

In replacing her old highlander, Joan scored a new 2011 Toyota Sienna.
She had been enduring a spiritual struggle between acknowledging that a minivan is the most practical vehicle format for her, and the thought that minivans just don't look "cool."

But she liked the Toyota redesign and eventually came to grips with being a 31 year old mother of two kids, married to me. (in other words, sapped of all coolness)


But who needs cool when you've got almost twice as many cup holders as you do seats?

If you're in the Market for a toyota, I was happy with Mark Smith at Musson Patout.

I shopped every dealership between Houston and NOLA and they had the best price with none of the typical car sales BS.

My new wheels were a little cheaper and came in a cardboard box. (a pretty big cardboard box)


Our yard is too big (for me) to push mow.
I mean, I've got short legs and three college degrees.
I need easy physical tasks.

The yard also has lots of landscaping, making a traditional riding platform somewhat awkward to use.

Solution-- Zero Turn Radius.


It's fun, and it takes me less than a half hour to mow, with very little effort exerted.

I'm down with the Dad Life

(though I'll never wear sandals)