Sunday, January 29, 2006


How about those Cats today? Good Lord can they be painful to watch, but they persevered and pulled out a gutty win against a young and talented Arkansas team. Personally I nearly turned the game off before halftime but luckily made it through to see them make their run in the second half.

Watching the Cats this season can be taxing as their half court offense resembles people standing in line at an all-you-can-eat buffet. But to Tubby's credit, he has held this team together. There was no quit in Kentucky today, an encouraging sign that confidence is growing in a team that desperately needs it.

The Morris dunk off the inbounds pass with :03 left on the shot clock was a key boost in the second half. It triggered an enthusiastic shout at our house which sent the dog upstairs and prompted a puzzled look from the boys. I'll have to talk to Amy about how excited she gets -- it's only a basketball game after all. ;-)

Go Big Blue!

New Additions

Saturday night we got to visit with Brian and Kelly Wise and their newborn daughter Gracen. Brian whipped up an awesome pasta dinner, and we got to catch up on all of our parenting lessons learned. The boys rolled around in the floor while Gracen dozed. A year ago the conversation among the four of us would have been much different than our conversation last night. Oh how times change (for the better). Cheers!

The Wises with their new addition.

Kelly has the touch as Gracen settles in on her primo napping spot -- on Mom.

The Moms talk shop and discuss their pick for Super Bowl XL.

Saturday In The Park

...I think it was the 28th of January (?!). Yep, our mild winter continued yesterday with temperatures in the 60s. So Amy & I packed up the boys and the dog and ventured over to Apex Community Park. I bet we saw 100 strollers while we were there -- all manned by parents with a "It is unbelievably good to be out of the house" look on their faces.

At some point we may get some cold winter weather. Until then, it is good to see blue sky and be outside.

Gus hangs on as Owen shows the way.

"Can I, Mom? Can I, can I, can I, can I please?!!"

"Wooohoooo! That's more like it."

Gus & Dad are relieved to be outside at Lake Pine.

The Merry Toilet-Fixing Pranksters

Friday night was home improvement night at Casa de Rutledge. We had a problem with our toilet leaking into the sub-floor and seeing how my last solo venture into plumbing left us without a toilet for three weeks and single-handedly helped Lowes' stock climb 300%, I decided to ask for help this time around. My neighbor Chad came over and with the promise of Dogfish Head IPA's awaiting our successful project completion, we assessed the situation and devised a plan. After two trips to Lowes, a couple of flange extenders, wax rings, and plenty of caulk we proudly boasted our project a success. Granted a fifteen minute project took us two and a half hours, but we were proud nonetheless.

Our problem is that we had no one to share in our glory. Amy was walking the dog after taking care of the boys during the extraordinary display of plumbing know how. And Claudia had chosen to veg on their couch next door after going to the gym and a long week. So it only seemed natural for Chad to call Claudia telling her we needed an extra large bandage to fix a cut suffered during the repair. When Claudia showed up with first aid supplies and a healthy bit of concern we explained that the flesh wound had spectacularly healed so she should just have an IPA and hang out with us. Amy arrived with the dog, chastised us for getting Claudia out of her PJ's, and mumbled something about a boy and a wolf. In the end though we all got to visit and watch this week's incredibly funny episode of The Office. Oh and that toilet works superbly.

The Office made us do it.

Chad Guthrie, part Bob Vila, part Howard Stern crank caller

Claudia, here with Gus will be listing Chad out on eBay this week

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


We got some help giving the boys a bath tonight from their four-legged hero.

"Can you believe what these nutty people put my brother and me through? Unbelievable."

Monday, January 23, 2006

Gus vs. Turkey Puree

Tonight was the first venture into stage three baby foods for the boys. Owen chowed right down, but Gus was much more skeptical. It's probably not a good thing to laugh when your children gag themselves on turkey garden vegetable surprise. But Amy & I couldn't resist.

Dirty Laundry

My sister Melanie likes to recall the days of our youth when she would place me in the hamper surrounded by toys. I was about the boys' age and she was probably four or so. She thought it was rather enjoyable while I apparently practiced the art of screaming for my life. Well thirty-one years and several therapy sessions later I come home from work today to find a few dozen pictures on the camera where Amy had succumbed to the same temptation -- the boys in the laundry basket. I have to admit though, they seemed to take it much better than I did when I was their age.

"Uh-oh Mom, Dad warned me what the goofy look means. I'm going in the laundry basket, aren't I?"

"Ah well, this isn't so bad. I'll at least flash a pose for you."

"Wooooo! Yeah! Now we're talkin'!"

"Dad is a stooge. He doesn't know what he's missing."

"Pardon me mother dear, could we get a beverage while we're waiting in here?"

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Two Heaves

Yesterday Amy, the boys and I were visited by some old friends Shane and Jan Jones from Denver, NC, their son Darrell and his wife Sandy who live in Durham. They stopped by to meet the boys and say hello. You would think with a new camera sitting just a few feet away from us the whole time that we would have snapped some photos. But we got caught up in conversation.....and listening to the UK game on the internet.

As UK fans living in the heart of ACC country, it is rare to see the Cats on TV unless the game is on ESPN. Such was the case yesterday. So we watched Duke lose on TV (always a pleasure), listened to the Cats claw back and get a win (links below), and sat back while the boys entertained us. It was a good Saturday afternoon break to combat the gray, dreary rain outside.

As for that game, we have since seen the two shots -- heaves is a more accurate description -- that propelled Kentucky to the win. Wow. I must say as an avid UK basketball junkie these were not two shots I would have wanted them to take. But when the shot goes in, that's all that really matters. I'm putting the links here for the boys' reference so they'll know what's expected of them to get the call from Tubby someday. :-) Cheers!

Down 76-74 with 32 seconds left, Sparks heaves one from 29 feet.

The finale -- with Kentucky trailing 78-77 Rondo nails a three with one second left.

"Gus, Owen, get to work crawling boys. Before you know it you'll be taking jump shots like the ones Patrick and Rajon made for us yesterday."

Friday, January 20, 2006

Dog Bath

Well after three weeks of hunting on eBay, many hours of research, countless bids, and a vulture-esque move in the last ten seconds of the auction, we got our camera in the mail today. I think this was the only day when we were happier than Tucker was to see the mailman pull up to the house (our mailman Don gives Tucker treats so the dog waits by the door every day for him.).

So once we figured out how to turn it on, we snapped some photos of the boys as they followed Tucker around the room. Wherever he goes, their wandering eyes follow and their faces light up with smiles. Tuck was in an affectionate mood tonight -- the boys didn't stand a chance.

The anticipation....

Uh-oh Owen, here he comes....

The Tucker bath!

G-man just minding his own business....

He hears the Tucker coming across the floor....

No boy can escape the Tucker bath!!!

They eat the dog up. Every time he walks by they just light up. Of course this has its disadvantages when you try to feed a child and he is constantly on the lookout for the dog. But oh well.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Such is life for the men in the Rutledge household this week. Let me just say that before having children, I was never sick -- I had missed two days of work in eight years. As with so many other things when you have children, life changes to say the least. The cold bug is ransacking its way through our house for the second time in a month. Owen sniffles, Gus coughs and wheezes, and I sneeze -- we're like a bad chorus on a NyQuil commercial. The one to feel sorry for is probably Amy, who feels a little under the weather but not too bad (yet) and has to put up with a sick husband and two sick boys. Bless you, dear.

We took the boys to the doctor for their nine-month checkup on Monday. Gus weighed in at 17 lbs 2 oz while Owen was 17 lbs even. Both boys were on the growth curve for the first time, which is encouraging since they were seven weeks premature.

The doctor did a pretty thorough examination on Owen after we had to take him to a pediatric radiologist for an ultrasound last week. She felt the same little knot in Owen's abdomen and said she would have ordered the same test last week as the doctor who examined him then. She echoed the fact that since the ultrasound came back negative that there wasn't anything to worry about.

So other than the nagging colds the report is good. Spirits were a bit higher last night as Kentucky leapt out of its funk with a convincing win at Georgia to stop a three-game losing streak. Our beloved Carolina Hurricanes won their eighth straight game in a shootout. And Amy & I were finally successful at winning the camera we've been looking for on eBay, sneaking in like vultures with 10 seconds left in the auction and getting the one we wanted. So keep an eye out for more detailed picutres -- why we could even get up close and show the boys' nasal congestion for everyone. Ok, maybe not.


Saturday, January 14, 2006

Wanted: Cat Fur Burglar(s)

An investigation has been launched to try to find out why our cat Harper keeps losing her fur. If you have any leads please comment or contact Amy or me. Suspicion is beginning to swirl around two minute mongrels.

The complainant: Harper, age 8; enjoys naps and pleasant ear & chin rubs

Suspect A: Owen Frank, age 9 months; often heard shrieking with delight at the sight of complainant

Suspect B: Gus Edward, age 9 months; has been spotted with cat fur sticking out between his fingers

Exhibit A: Suspect B apparently overjoyed at his close proximity to the complainant.

Exhibit B: Suspect A allegedly eyeing the complainant's tail.

Suspect A flashes a grin to throw the investigation off his trail.

Suspect B: "You didn't see nothin'! Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck!"

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


The boys tried their hands with sippy cups yesterday. You can see what a success it was by the enthusiastic faces.

You want me to do what?

Mom, is this a joke?

May I be excused from my highchair?

I think I have it!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Letterman vs. O'Reilly

One of my least favorite humans on earth Bill O'Reilly was on David Letterman last week. I think Letterman is incredible when he's not mailing it in, which is only some of the time unfortunately. But he was feely spry during this interview, calling a spade a spade.

Letterman to O'Reilly: "60% of what you say is crap" (long, 11 mins)

Black Monday

This past weekend was a tough one for this sports fan. On Saturday, Kentucky was flat out humiliated at Kansas 73-46. Luckily for me, I didn't watch the game live. I taped it since I was out Saturday morning. When I returned and had made it through the first five minutes, I knew it was going to be a long afternoon for my beloved Cats. I looked at Amy and asked her if it was worth it for me to spend the next two hours watching the impending debacle. She knew the outcome and just said, "No, it's bad." So I went about my day doing more productive things.

Hopefully the Cats will improve with the return of Randolph Morris tomorrow night against Vanderbilt. But I see a major reshuffling necessary to get this team playing as one and restoring its confidence. That was a team without the slightest inkling of confidence that lost to Kansas. A turnaround will be a major coaching feat for Tubby this year. Of course the naysayers are out in full force in the all-knowing message board universe. I hope he proves them wrong (again).

Sunday was supposed to be redemption day. My beloved Cincinnati Bengals were in the playoffs for the first time in 15 years playing their rival in the Pittsburgh Steelers. In explaining the importance of this game to Amy, I noted I was a sophomore in high school the last time this team had a winning record. I had suffered through 15 years of losing as I followed this team. Yesterday though I was ready with my trusty spot on the couch. Owen woke up from his four minute nap wanting to join me. We proceeded to watch the Bengals' Pro-Bowl QB go down on the second offensive snap of the game with a knee injury. Talk about deflating. The Steelers ended up pulling away in the second half as my Bengals lost 31-17.

To top off the football game, I'm heading to Pittsburgh tonight for work for a couple of days. I've always heard the mood in that city rises and falls with the fate of their Steelers. I'm looking forward to working with the IBM team there -- it is always good to talk to people face-to-face that you normally only deal with on email and phone calls. I just wish the football game had a different outcome.

If there's a light at the end of the sports tunnel our hometown Carolina Hurricanes are among the top teams in the NHL. Maybe being a hockey fan has been my calling all along.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Nana & Granddaddy

This past week we hosted our last round of holiday company as my Mom and Dad made the long drive from Paducah, Kentucky over to Raleigh. Derek and I were very glad to have the helping hands as two happy grandparents fed, bathed, bounced, and hugged their two grandsons. Our itinerary...

  • A baby locket, a CD full of grandkid photos, and a power washer (and a honeydo list for Derek)
  • A New Year feast with turkey, dressing & all the sides
  • Overalls and stretchy pants
  • A laundry basket of babies
  • An epic picture hanging by the men
  • New Year's Rockin' Eve on the couch
  • Sprained thumbs from channel flipping of bowl games
  • Baby baths
  • Looney shoe salesman and new Danskos
  • Peanut butter fudge

Gus in a laundry basket of toys.

Amy with her Mr. Pride and Mr. Joy.

Dirty laundry.

Ranger Owen shows off his new vest.

Proud grandparents with overalls to match.

Little Rangers show their stuff,

Tucker and Granddaddy compare notes on the art of relaxation.

Feeding time!

Owen rocks Granddaddy to sleep.

Chief Among the Silliness

Good read from George Will's column this morning in the Washington Post (see, I read conservative opinion too ;-) regarding the movement to make schools change their Native American mascot names.

But in any case, why should anyone's disapproval of a nickname doom it? When, in the multiplication of entitlements, did we produce an entitlement for everyone to go through life without being annoyed by anything, even a team's nickname? If some Irish or Scots were to take offense at Notre Dame's Fighting Irish or the Fighting Scots of Monmouth College, what rule of morality would require the rest of us to care? Civilization depends on, and civility often requires, the willingness to say, "What you are doing is none of my business" and "What I am doing is none of your business."

Personally I don't think inclusiveness as a general philosophy is a bad idea. For example, I don't take offense when the security person at Target wishes me "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" when I walk out of the store. That said, there is a line with inclusiveness or (even though I don't like the term) political correctness that has probably been crossed here as Will suggests. With everything going on in the world, aren't there more important issues than team mascot names? Just a thought.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Baby Wise

Congratulations to our friends Brian and Kelly Wise with the birth of their little girl on Tuesday, Gracen Elise. Amy & I were able to swing by to see the new addition while Amy's parents were in town this week. Brian even snuck in a LASIK eye surgery a couple of hours after Gracen was born.

Healthy baby girl and mom, successful eye surgery, Brian's Colts are the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs, his Hoosiers turned in a win in their Big Ten opener, and Kelly's Wolfpack won by 30 points. I'd say that counts as a banner Tuesday.

New Mom Kelly and Gracen

Proud parents

Amy gets to hold Baby Wise... does Derek (I remember those hospital baby blankets well!).