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.
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)
You two are pretty much the coolest parents ever. I would have killed for the childhood that Riley and Avery are going to have. Great job, you two!
...also, totally jealous of Joan's new ride.
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