Sunday, December 30, 2007

Holidays with the Family

The Rutledge crew has had a really fulfilling Christmas & holiday break over the past couple of weeks. With Amy being 33 weeks pregnant we received the "no travel" word from her doctor. So we have been fortunate to have several visitors share the holidays with us in North Carolina. Pappy & GJ arrived the week before Christmas. Aunt Mel, Uncle Dude & Corinne came up from Charleston to spend Christmas week with us. And Nana and Granddaddy arrived at the end of the week to ring in the New Year. The last couple of weeks featured a lot of quality family time together.

Gus & Owen were really into Christmas this year. Seeing Christmas through the kids' eyes was rejuvenating for Amy and me as parents. With this being their third Christmas, the boys were excited about Santa Claus, the decorations, and all the family time together. They did not quite make the connection between Santa and presents. In reality this took some of the pressure off of us, and their innocence with it all was refreshing. On Christmas morning the boys slid down the steps to find a toy garage for their cars and had quite the time rummaging open boxes of clothes and goodies.

As I have had some extended vacation time from work over the holidays and there were several family members here with helping hands, Amy & I decided we were going to venture into potty training territory. The boys had been asking to wear "big boy underwear" since a couple of the kids at their preschool were not wearing diapers. No time like the present, so we bought several pairs of Thomas the Tank Engine & Lightning McQueen underwear and went to work. On the first day, the boys had accidents all morning long causing Amy & GJ to wash about 10 pairs of underwear by noon. Slowly throughout the week they began to get the idea that they needed to tell us when they had to go to the bathroom. We are still working on it, and they still have accidents here & there. But we are determined to get two out of diapers by February when the baby girl arrives.

Amy & I took the boys to see Santa Claus who as it turns out spends a three-week stretch in Apex, NC of all places before venturing to the North Pole for his midnight run. Just like last year the boys were afraid of Santa so he had to sneak away and come back through the trap door in order to get in the family picture. Maybe next year...



What is it about Christmas that brings out all the sweets? GJ and I decided that perhaps it was because candy and sweets are the one food that everyone can agree on when you have a lot of people together. Whatever the reason, our house was filled with fudge, cookies, sweet rolls, Chex mix, and all kinds of other sweet treats. Aunt Mel got to experience first hand how much easier it is to cook something when 2 two-year-olds help you. Banana bread batter was everywhere, but it was oh-so-tasty.




Christmas with the Crumptons meant we got to share time with Baby C, shown here adorning a makeshift Yuletide headband. Corinne is an absolute gem. She is the best eater I have seen for a baby. She has a contagious giggle that makes adults turn to mush and engage in humorous baby-talk. And she intently watched her older cousins, mostly from the vantage point of a plastic push-toy fire truck.


Another Christmas tradition with the Rutledge family is the Twas the Night Before Christmas puzzle. Melanie & C.E. have done the thing so many times that they can practically work it in their sleep. But the rest of us managed to work a piece or two in at nap time and bed time when the three little ones hit the sack. 1,000 pieces in less than 24 hours.



GJ and Pappy were gracious enough to keep the three grandkids one afternoon as Melanie, Roman, Amy and I ventured out to see -- of all things -- a movie! Amy & I were skeptical that movies were still being made after April 15, 2005, but it turns out they do. We thoroughly enjoyed Tom Hanks and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War."

Uncle Dude and Aunt Mel played a tremendous practical joke on yours truly on Christmas morning. They had purchased North Carolina scratch-off lottery tickets on the way up from Charleston and put the tickets in everyone's gifts. When we opened our presents on Christmas morning, C.E. had a ticket that was a loser, Amy had a $10 winner, and I casually scratched my ticket. My ticket was one that if three of the same numbers appeared, you won that amount. I scratched off two $20,000 numbers and then raised my eyebrow as the last number appeared -- a third $20,000 number. I looked at the ticket, read the instructions on the front, then glanced at the back to make sure I understood how the game was played. After allowing myself to believe I had a winner, I let the excitement come out as I shouted, "Holy #@$% you all, this is a $20,000 lottery ticket!!" I passed it to Amy & I started screaming in celebration. Amy allowed herself to get worked up too. Just then, Roman and Melanie burst out laughing as they read the back of the ticket -- "All prizes $20,000 or greater must be redeemed by Santa Claus." Oh my. I felt like the Bugs Bunny cartoon when a jackass was superimposed on Elmer Fudd's face after being taken in one of Bugs's tricks. We all got a hearty laugh at the joke. All I have to say is paybacks are hell, my dear Crumptons, paybacks are hell!



Let's just say it is hard to get three little ones to look in the camera at the same time for a posed Christmas picture wearing their good outfits. These three have a lot of fun times together in the years ahead.




Nana and Granddaddy arrived on Friday to help us ring in the New Year. Billy is in between trips to Oklahoma to work with FEMA on the flood damage to a college there. Elaine has taken up traveling in her first few months of retirement, and we are more than happy to provide a draw to help her scratch the travel itch. For Christmas the boys were treated by their grandparents to a CAT back hoe tractor and some Lightning McQueen gear....



...as well as an awesome train table complete with train, tracks, flat-bed trucks, magnetized cranes, and even a helicopter. This is one present that is nearly as popular with the adults as it is with the kids.

So the holidays have indeed been joyous ones for our crew. We thank everyone who made the trek over to see us this Christmas and wish all our blog readers a safe, festive and very happy New Year!

Cheers!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas from the Family

Always a Christmas favorite courtesy of Mr. Robert Earl Keene. Cheers!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Why Amy Doesn't Tip Over

Hmm, I was thinking it was because she can still outrun Gus. Apparently there is a more complicated, scientific answer. Whatever the reason, my hat is off to the child bearers.

Cheers!

"Why Pregnant Women Don't Tip Over"
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/12/science/12cnd-pregnant.html?em&ex=1197781200&en=9ee163509360e953&ei=5087%0A


What they found, said Katherine K. Whitcome, a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard and the lead author of the paper, was evidence that evolution had produced a stronger and more flexible lower spine for women. After studying 19 pregnant subjects, Ms. Whitcome found that the lumbar, or lower back, curve in women extends across three vertebrae, as opposed to just two in men. And the connecting points between vertebrae are relatively larger in women, and shaped differently in ways that make the stack more stable and less prone to the bones shifting out of alignment or breaking.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Send 'Em Out Back

Home projects are never as simple as you imagine them to be. They take longer, cost more, and involve more decisions than you plan for. Last weekend we finished up work on our backyard, capping off a project that began eight months ago in the spring. The area behind our house was highlighted as a "natural area" on the flyer when we bought the house. That's real estate-ese for "unusable, densely overgrown Sweet Gum jungle with approximately 1,000 ticks per square foot." So realizing that we were about to have 3 kids under the age of three and that we would desperately want to be able to extend our usable space (translation: be able to boot the kids out back when they inevitably get too wild inside), Amy & I began planning to fix up our backyard.

We tackled the erosion problems, the brush undergrowth and tree stumps, and we added grass, a retaining wall, a small patio and play area. Finally we reached the point last weekend of adding the finishing landscaping touches. With their green thumbs Amy & Elaine picked out scarletta bushes, ferns and gardenias to go around the patio. I got well-acquainted with my wheelbarrow, snow shovel, and 10 cubic yards of mulch. When all was said & done we were really pleased with the result. Eventually we would like to add a play set for the kids and some more landscaping. But for now the simple pleasures of running up and down the steps, digging in the mulch, and jumping in the leaves make the kids happy which is fine by us. We have plenty of time down the road to add to it.

Cheers!


Prior to clearing out the undergrowth, the ticks outnumbered the mammals 10 to 1 in our backyard.


After clearing out the trees we had to tackle the drainage issues that had eroded the topsoil and most of the grass.

Fill dirt and a retaining wall were added to level out the area where we put a small patio and a mulched play area for the kids.


The back of the play area is normally sprinkled with dumptrucks, buckets, and shovels as the boys have a grand time digging in the dirt & rocks.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

December in Shorts

I feel like I should go to confessional for the gap between posts. "Forgive me Father, for it has been a week and a half since my last post." So if I ramble on, it's just to catch up for lost time...

Life at the Rutledge house has been really good these past few weeks. It certainly has had its challenges as raising two-year olds does for any parent. Thankfully for us we have been fortunate enough to have Amy's mom Elaine -- wonderful Nana -- here to help us out for the past few weeks. Elaine has been such a huge help -- with the boys, around the house, cooking, doing laundry, walking the dog, providing moral support for run-down parents. She has even mastered the art of getting Gus to nap, always a prerequisite for a good day.

Gus continues to really, really challenge us as he forges his own little identity. He definitely marches to the beat of his own drummer -- and often it is a march he performs while naked, wearing green lizard boots, sunglasses, and a firefighter cap. As parents Amy and I try to envision in the long run when his independence and his love for engaging with people will serve him so well. In the short run we try to keep our sanity as he challenges us on such minute daily details as what shirt he will tolerate for the day and what he will eat at mealtime. So we try to keep positive attitudes as much as we can through those trying moments. Gus's preschool teacher raved about how much he talks with the students and how much he loves to read books and role play. So he's on someone's good list if he is not always on ours. ;-)

Owen continues to come out of his shell. He is such the little observer, possibly in part because his brother dominates the attention around the house. Owen is turning out to be a thinker, surveying the mood of a situation and pondering how he should act. He is quite good at getting his brother's goat when he wants to. Owen picks at Gus sometimes just to get a reaction out of him like taking a favorite toy away and sprinting to another room. But his actions are not always malicious. This morning when Gus insisted on taking the little bell necklace that Owen had been wearing, Owen looked at Gus and simply took Gus's beloved firefighter cap and waited. As if Owen knew what the reaction would be, Gus made the peaceful trade. And along with that quiet, introverted personality Owen has developed an endearing little sweet streak that gives us reprieve in dealing with some of his younger brother's tantrums.

Of course the humorous aspects continue to spring up with the boys as well. Both Owen and Gus are testing the waters of potty-training, getting rewarded with M&M's when they do the deed (3 M&M's when they do the major deed). Gus has been known to sit on the toilet for 30 minutes at a time, refusing to leave until some bodily function is performed. Owen beams from ear to ear, proud as a peacock when he goes to the bathroom. It is a nice reminder of how we all learn the most basic things at this young age. Naturally the boys are interested when other people in the house go to the bathroom as well. We often have to sneak away while they aren't looking so we can have a private moment of peace. Inevitably they find us after calling for us from all over the house.

"You need M&M, dad? You need M&M?" Funny stuff.

Amy continues to hang in there with the pregnancy. She overdid it over the weekend as we were putting the finishing landscaping touches on the backyard. Amy loves to work in the yard so much, but she was really wiped out & hurting on Sunday night after doing too much. Luckily her doctor visit yesterday produced a good report. 31 weeks this Thursday....she's getting there.

The weather has been unseasonably warm here in North Carolina this week. We hit a record high yesterday and today as temperatures are creeping up to 80 degrees. Amy & Nana love the warm weather; yours truly becomes a bit of a Grinch in trying to get into the Christmas spirit when it is so warm. Last night I tried watching "White Christmas" on TV, and it just doesn't cut it to sing Bing Crosby with shorts on and the windows open. Snow, snow, snow, it won't be long before we'll all be there with snow....

Still despite the heat wave we managed to decorate the house for Christmas -- putting up our tree, the lights around the house, and various Christmas decorations here and there. The fun part about it this year was that the boys were really into Christmas. This is the first year where they are really anticipating it. They know Christmas is coming, they really get into the decorating, and they point out the Santa Clauses that are sprinkled about. Nana and I have been walking the boys around the neighborhood to check out all the lights. The boys love the choo-choo trains that are lit up, the polar bears and snowmen in people's yards, and even the random "Christmas alligator" (not quite sure what it was that Owen saw). Again, it's fun to watch these things through younger eyes.

So tomorrow is our final day here in NC with Elaine before she heads back to Paducah for a brief respite before heading off to icy Oklahoma to see Billy, who is working with a local college there on behalf of FEMA. We know she will be glad to see Billy and perhaps to slow down to a more manageable, relaxing pace. Still, Amy & I are truly appreciative of all the help and enjoyment that her visit has brought us.

Cheers!


30 1/2 weeks and counting...



"Just hold me Nana."



"Nana, we need to decorate the bottom fourth of the tree. All the ornaments need to be within my reach."



Elaine -- grandmother, mom, chef, and ladder holder.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Just Grab the Cereal Bowl

Warning: This story contains descriptions of child sickness that some may find disturbing. But I have to write it as it is therapeutic for those of us who have to clean it up. ;-)

The latest in the health saga at our house involves Owen who is back on the sick train. He has had the congestion/deep wet cough thing going for a week, but that is par for the course with little ones. On Monday however he added projectile vomiting and diarrhea to his repertoire. Just lovely.

That night he was all ready for his bath when he hurled all over the bathroom floor. Nana and Amy cleaned him up and put him off to bed. My thought was that all the congestion was coming up and going into his stomach, making his stomach feel extra queasy. During the night though we found out it was worse than that. Owen woke up several times crying that he was sick. Amy would hear him through the baby monitor and shake me out of a deep slumber. "Go! Go! Go!" she would shout.

I would tear off out of the bed kicking the dog in the head and banging into the walls along the way, not quite processing why I was running until I was about halfway up the steps. Owen was typically out of his bed crying and getting sick at his stomach by the time I arrived. Before too long Owen had it coming out of both ends.

Yesterday I came home to news that Owen had proclaimed to his grandmother, "Nana, I pooped in my socks." As odd a statement as that was, he had in fact achieved the feat. Let's just say Elaine did several loads of laundry yesterday. By last night though we adults were prepared. Owen sat at the dinner table with a big blue bucket next to his chair. If something was coming out, we were going to catch it. The problem was he thought it was too much fun to cry wolf that he was getting sick, and he became too easily distracted with the bucket to eat his dinner. As the night wore on his claims of feeling sick were disregarded, and he eventually proclaimed that his stomach felt better.

This morning Owen seemed to be his normal self and claimed he was no longer sick. So we proceeded with the morning routine to go to school. On the way out the door however, Owen began shouting that he was sick again. Since Amy & Elaine had been subjected to cries of wolf the night before I don't think they took Owen that seriously. Unfortunately he promptly proceeded to throw up all over the kitchen -- all over the cabinets, all over the refrigerator, everywhere. Amy's gut reaction was to grab the first thing she saw to catch it which happened to be a glass cereal bowl. That however was equivalent to trying to put a thimble in front of a fire hose. Elaine grabbed Owen taking him to the sink, and today's round of clean-up commenced all over again.

All we can say is thank goodness Nana is here during times of sickness. And too bad they don't make bigger cereal bowls.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sports Through a Toddler's Eyes

ESPN.com sportswriter, basketball and Boston sports fanantic Bill Simmons has a 2 1/2 year-old daughter that he recently introduced to an NBA basketball game. His account of watching the game with her is hilarious, reminding me of many of the things that come out of the mouths of our 2 1/2-year-olds at our house.

"Learning about sports from a 2 1/2-year-old"


As the old saying goes, children make us appreciate what we stopped appreciating long ago. (I don't know who said it, but it's been said. And if it hasn't been said, then please, let me say it.) Ever wonder why Larry King sired two more after turning 125 years old? Because he's selfish, that's why. He wanted those last chances to appreciate the little things.
___________________________________________________

The other moment occurred when the crowd improbably broke out the wave, quite possibly the single greatest moment of her young life. She loved watching it slowly ripple around the stadium, waiting for it to reach our section and then jumping up with her arms raised to yell at the top of her lungs. To be honest, I've always thought the wave was reprehensible. But not anymore. Anything that makes my kid that happy is fine with me.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Leftovers

Thanksgiving weekend was a great one at our house. On Thursday we were treated to a feast of home cooking from Nana. The house was filled with smells of food all day long. Owen ate pretty well as he took a particular liking to the turkey, ham and sweet potato casserole, or "cake" as he called it. Gus decided he would be picky and didn't really eat much of the Thanksgiving meal. But that's the way it goes sometimes with two year-olds -- they eat what they want when they are hungry.

Aside from all the good eating, we were productive without overdoing ourselves for the rest of the weekend. Gus helped me put together the new dresser in the boys' room. He proudly assumed the job of handing me screws to put on the drawer handles and offered the occasional plastic tool for the task. Amy, Nana and I moved furniture around and set up a crib, transforming our junk room into a nursery for the baby girl's arrival in February.

There was also a plethora of football and basketball on the tube this weekend. Saturday was another bitter disappointing loss in the hearts of Kentucky fans as Tennessee outlasted the Cats in 4 OT's, 52-50. I was so disgusted at halftime that I uncharacteristically abandoned the game to go outside & blow leaves in the yard. Curiosity finally got the best of me as I returned to find Kentucky had closed a big halftime deficit to 3 points. I was then glued to the TV for the duration from that point. Kentucky fans want so badly to end the losing streak to the Vols, which now stands at 23 consecutive years. The Cats just missed so many opportunities to win the game, namely a 1st and goal from the 2 yard line at the end of regulation and having a very makeable field goal blocked in the second overtime.

After a loss like that, I guess the only thing you can do is reflect on the good that the team accomplished this year. Kentucky will go to back-to-back bowl games which means the team will get an extra month of practice in December, a must for a team that has to replace several key players that will graduate. Nope, even the thoughts of a bowl bid don't take the sting away. Plain and simple, that loss hurts. At least I got the leaves out of my yard.

This week the boys get back into their routine of school. Amy goes to the doctor to get checked out to make sure everything is progressing with the pregnancy. We are hoping to close out the final phase of our backyard with some plants & mulch so we can close the books on that project. And the thoughts turn to basketball now as Kentucky faces off against the mighty Tar Heels on Saturday.

Have a good week. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Turkey Tidbits

Thanksgiving week is finally here. The holiday is one of my favorites because you get to spend it with family, eat until you are completely stuffed, watch football, nap, and eat some more. The Rutledge crew is excited for it, and we get to spend the holiday with Nana who is visiting us in North Carolina for a few weeks.

Some tidbits from our lives...

The boys are doing well after their bout with pneumonia. Owen still has a head cold, but that just comes with the territory this time of year. The boys' "big boy" beds arrived yesterday so I get to put those together over the next few days. (Over/Under on the number of days it takes me is currently at 11 days) :-) The arrival couldn't come at a better time because Gus now insists that he sleep in the floor rather than in his current bed. Rather than fight it Amy & I have just let it go knowing that he would be excited to sleep in his new bed once it got here.

Amy continues to hang in there with the pregnancy. She will be 28 weeks on Turkey Day. Her doctor keeps a close eye on her with an ultrasound every two weeks to make sure the contractions aren't changing anything for the bad. So far, so good. I am hoping that with Nana's cooking Amy can put on some more pounds like the doctor wants.

We are just about done with our backyard project. It has come quite a long way since we bought our house a year ago when you couldn't walk through the yard because of the thick brush & ticks everywhere. The boys love playing in the rocks, dirt and mulch for the time being. Amy & I were even able to have an adult conversation while we watched them from the house. Hopefully it was a harbinger of what it to come -- for the boys (and eventually a girl) a place in their own yard to play and be a kid; for the parents a little freedom and independence.

Finally on the sports front the big Kentucky/Tennessee game is this Saturday -- big if you're a Kentucky fan anyway and your school has lost 22 straight to the big orange from down below. I was going to drive up to Lexington to meet C.E. to watch the game. But given that CBS has picked the game up as its national telecast and I can save myself 20 hours of driving time, I decided to watch the game from my couch. Nevertheless, the TV will be tuned in to the game in the hopes that this will be the year for Big Blue.

Of course I say that every year.

Gobble, gobble.

Cheers!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Politico Humpday

Thomas Friedman continues his argument for a gasoline tax. Although the price of unleaded is $3.17/gallon for the cheap stuff here today, I would still be for it if the tax was offset by a decrease in payroll tax.

In the end, anything that would help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil makes life easier for my kids years down the road.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/14/opinion/14friedman.html?hp

We simply cannot go on being as dumb as we wanna be. If you hate the war in Iraq, then you want a gasoline tax so you can argue that we can pull out of there without remaining dependent on an even more unstable region. If you want to see us negotiate with Iran, not bomb it, you want a gasoline tax that will give us some real leverage by helping to reduce the income of the ayatollahs.

If you’re a conservative and you believed that the Iraq war was necessary to drive reform in the Middle East, but the war has failed to do that and we need “Plan B” for the same objective, you want a gasoline tax that will reduce the flow of wealth to petrolist leaders who will never change if all they have to do is drill well holes rather than educate and empower their people.

If you want to see America thrive by becoming the most energy productive economy in the world — a title that now belongs to Japan, which doesn’t have a drop of oil in its soil — you want a gasoline tax, which will only spur U.S. innovation in energy efficiency.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Independence


I am happy to report things are much better in la casa de Rutledge this week. Good health has made a welcome return, and the boys have gone back to preschool. GJ and Pappy helped us through last week as they visited before leaving for Charleston on Sunday. The mood is much, much better with healthy boys.

Gus continues to show a remarkable independent streak. Last night after dinner Amy & I were wiping off the boys' hands & face as is the ritual after which the boys will ask to get down from the dinner table. Owen asked to get down and rumbled over to the couch where he started watching TV. Then Amy asked Gus like we do every night, "Gus, what do you say when you want to get down?"

Cold, hard stare.

Right then, we knew we were in for a battle of wills. Gus refused to ask to get down from the table, insisting that he could just get down on his own without having to ask. Amy & I both took turns calmly telling him that all he had to do was ask nicely and he could get down to go watch TV with Owen. But the little booger was having none of it. He ended up sitting in the chair at the dinner table with a scowl on his face. A half hour passed. Then 45 minutes. For over an hour, Gus sat mad as a hornet because he couldn't get down and stubborn as a mule because he wouldn't say the five words -- "May I get down please?" -- that would end his plight.

Finally, after Amy & I turned the kitchen light off we started going through pictures of the children in the boys' preschool class with Owen. We were asking Owen to name the boys and girls when this apparently became too much for Gus. I could tell he wanted to come over so I threw in a quick, "Gus, what is it you say when you want to get down?"

Instinctively he responded and I answered, "Of course, come on over and look at these pictures." But then he realized he had been the one to give in. He sat in the chair for five more minutes frustrated at himself before coming to look at pictures on the computer.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Grassroots, Duffman Style

In a close election, the moist vote passed in my hometown. Good for the folks in Glasgow who stood up and pushed this boulder uphill in spite of the fear campaign that was run against them.

Now just be on the lookout for stray lightning bolts...

Cheers!

http://www.glasgowdailytimes.com/local/local_story_311011251.html

BREAKING NEWS: Liquor by the drink passes

YES - 2,422; NO - 2,322

By BRAD DICKERSON and STACY L. NEITZEL
Glasgow Daily Times
GLASGOW Cheers greet result

Supporters say local option will help attract more business

Supporters of a referendum to allow liquor by the drink in Glasgow restaurants had a reason to celebrate Tuesday night ... twice.

A crowd gathered at George J’s restaurant on the Glasgow Public Square huddled around Commonwealth Broadcasting co-owner Steve Newberry as he entered precinct totals as they arrived into a computer spreadsheet. When the figures appeared to indicate victory, the applause began.

Then, a little more than 10 minutes later, as Henry Royse with WCLU, along with attorney Bobby Richardson, called the vote in favor of the “yes” supporters, cheers resumed.

“We were overwhelmed when we got the petition signed and now tonight, it’s been a happy ending,” said Bob Stone, co-chair of the “More Jobs for Glasgow” movement.

Pat Vann said the referendum to allow liquor sales in dining establishments that seat 100 or more patrons and derive 70 percent of their sales from food will not benefit him personally, but could help in luring industry and offering more social options for younger generations.

“This is for the betterment of the community,” he said. “It puts us in a better competitive posture.”

Work leading up to Tuesday’s vote began in August, when the “More Jobs for Glasgow” committee began acquiring signatures to ensure the referendum was on the ballot.

They amassed approximately 2,018.

In Tuesday’s vote, 2,422 Glasgow residents were in favor of allowing limited alcohol sales, while 2,322 voted “no,” a difference of 100, according to unofficial results from Barren County Court Clerk Pam Browning.

The figures were in sharp contrast to the Dec. 19, 2000, election, where those opposed to the referendum cast 2,601 ballots and 1,155 chose “yes.”

Rhonda Riherd Trautman, director of Glasgow’s Renaissance Main Street program, said allowing restaurants to serve alcohol would “add more and more to what we already have in our downtown,” adding that establishments like George J’s would qualify under the ruling.

“It will compliment things going on at the Plaza,” she said. “We’ll just have more of an active downtown after business hours.”

Joe Downing, a member of the committee, said that he was especially proud of how the members of “More Jobs for Glasgow” conducted their campaign, which included the slogan “More Choices. More Jobs.”

“People actually stood up and weren’t scared for supporting something they felt our community needs,” he said.

Although he is a county resident and could not vote on the referendum, Bob Guilfoil said he was in favor of the local option passing.

Guilfoil added that he has lived in five other communities other than Glasgow, including Chicago and New York City, and feels that there is more alcohol found in individual homes locally.

“There’s more alcohol here than any place I’ve lived,” he said. “To me, this is just a way to legalize what we’ve already got.”



Monday, November 05, 2007

Monday


I don't think I have ever been so happy to walk into work as I was this morning. The boys' battle with pneumonia is taking its toll on the adults in the house. The problem is that the medication Gus is on -- two antibiotics, a steroid, and breathing treatments every 4 hours -- makes him really hyper. It's like giving a two year-old Jolt cola -- not pleasant. So his brain is telling him he has boundless energy, but his body is telling him that he needs rest to get rid of the infection. You can see the internal battle on his face as Gus is just as cranky as he has ever been --hitting, kicking, & screaming. We are hopeful that there is a light at the end of the tunnel over the next couple of days. Today is the last day for the steroid, and as soon as his cough gets better we can take him off the breathing treatments.

Owen has been slightly less cranky since he is on fewer medications running through his little body. But he was in rare form himself a few times as well over the weekend, with his own hysterical fit at one point. With a little luck, these next 36 hours will see the sickness run its course and we can get the boys back in their routine of going to school, playing outside, etc.

On a happier note, C.E. is flying in to visit us later this week. The "moist" election is Tuesday in Glasgow and he is going to see that through. Hopefully the efforts of his and many others there will result in a vote in their favor. Regardless, a visit to NC should be good for him to take his mind off the stress.

Also, we learned over the weekend that Granddaddy has been called to Oklahoma to work with FEMA to help the flood victims there. The boys were intrigued to know that he would be on an airplane flying high in the sky. While he is gone, we look forward to a visit from Nana to stay with us for a while. (Nana, hopefully my venting about the boys sickness doesn't scare you away.) :-)

Cheers!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Trick or Albuterol

The boys celebrated Halloween this week as Fire Chief Gus & Fire Chief Owen. The yellow firefighters quickly got the hang of "trick or treat" and happily opened their bags for candy. Amy & I took them up & down the street while GJ, Sayla and Tucker manned the door.


Owen was exceptionally excited about the brief rush of joy that a small piece of sugary candy provides.



He insisted on more, even robbing the candy bowl at his own house.



Unfortunately he also learned that what comes up -- like a two year old on a sugar high -- must come down.


Gus was not 100% himself on Halloween. He developed an awful cough and a fever on Monday and was diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia on Tuesday. His fever (and contagiousness) was gone by Wednesday afternoon so he did get to go trick-or-treating to a couple of houses. Still he wore down and had to come back for treatment with his dinosaur inhaler. Hopefully next year will be better little fella.


Not wanting to be left out, Owen developed the same awful cough and had to go to the doctor on Friday. He didn't have pneumonia, but he is still on albuterol breathing treatments, antibiotics, and ibuprofen to nix the fever.

Let's just say it has been a long, confining week. Amy and I have been to the doctor on Monday (for her), Tuesday (Gus), Thursday (Gus), Friday (Owen), and Saturday (Gus). I am going to the doctor on Monday, as is Gus again. I think it is safe to say we are lucky to have GJ here visiting to help out around the infirmary.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Montessori

Amy & I became convinced last spring that the boys really needed stimulus from sources outside the house and interaction with other children their age. Up to that point the boys were nearly two years old and had spent all their time with Amy at home. Amy had the boys connected into a network of moms & kids in playgroups, and the boys interacted with some friends in our neighborhood. Still it was apparent to us that it was time for them to make the leap into a somewhat more organized learning & social environment.

We settled on a montessori school in Cary after one visit -- the only visit we made to choose a preschool. In our minds the school appealed to us probably initially more for Gus because it seemed like a place that would allow him to express himself without putting strict boundaries on him. Gus would not have excelled in an environment where he had to follow a set schedule. At the time Owen was more dependent on Gus than vice versa so we thought he would fit right in -- having the other children around to interact with and having his brother there to lean on for security.

The montessori philosphy allows the kids to learn at their own pace without following a specific time schedule. They do things in the same sequence every day -- morning song, group time, snack time, outdoor time, etc. But they don't stick to a certain schedule. So if the kids are really into a particular book at story time or into a food tasting, then the teachers let the kids determine when it's time to move to the next activity rather than the clock.

The boys have been in preschool for about two months now. Amy & I could not be happier with their attitude towards school and the progress they have made. Their vocabularies are taking off. They are really into learning and stories. And although they still don't want to share all their toys, their interaction with other children has really progressed.

Each week the teachers send out an email about the activities for the upcoming week and photos from the prior week. Here are some good recent ones.

Cheers!


Gus busting through in his own way.

A Friday dance in the rain and mud, Gus style.

Owen takes part in a shaving cream bonanza.

Getting dirty is so much fun.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Finally Fall

Fall is finally settling in here in Apex. We have had hints over the past three weeks of cooler temperatures only to be greeted with the occasional humid day in the mid 80's that we are all so tired of having. But the outlook for the next two weeks looks promising -- all 60's and 70's on the way. This week has finally brought us some much-needed rainfall as well. Central North Carolina is classified as extreme drought as we are nearly 10 inches below normal rainfall. This has triggered mandatory water restrictions in most of the state -- no sprinkler systems, very limited outdoor hand-watering, and even a press conference by our governor where he suggested residents turn the water off when they brush their teeth. Good suggestions, just not the sort of thing one expects to hear from the governor. But the drought is really serious as we have less than 100 days remaining in the reservoir which acts as this area's main water supply. Thus, the rainfall has been a very welcome occurrence.

We have begun to do some fall things with the kids. Last weekend we took the boys to a pumpkin patch out in the country. They were ecstatic as they got to pick out their pumpkins, feed the donkeys, and sit on the haystacks. The simple pleasures of being a kid....it's refreshing.

The boys are all ready for Halloween. They are going to dress up as firefighters, and already they grab the costumes out of the closet to parade around the house. Two of their favorite toys are the plastic fire trucks that they ride around on. So next Wednesday should be a fun night for them trick-or-treating.

Finally, both Owen & Gus are really into their Montessori school. They talk about their friends in their class and readily hop in the car when it's time to go to school. Last Friday when it rained for the first time in weeks the teachers opened the doors to the classroom to let the kids go outside and play in the rain. When Amy picked the boys up, all the kids were in a new change of clothes without shoes or socks and happy as could be. This week they have enjoyed the "mystery game" where they pick out a household object from a paper bag and describe what it is, how it is used, where it is found, etc. We have even duplicated that game at home which is a hit. Yesterday was shaving cream day, and we were told by the boys' teacher that Owen had a field day with that game.

Ah, to be a kid again -- feeding donkeys, picking out pumpkins, playing in the rain, and spraying each other with shaving cream.

Cheers!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Go for Two

Kentucky charmed the country last week with its upset of #1 LSU. The Cats try to add to their mystical run today against defending national champion Florida. The game will be a huge challenge for UK. The Cats are without their top running back, they are banged up from the LSU game last week, and they have to face an uber-talented Florida QB in Tim Tebow. The Gators had a bye week last week so on paper they should be the fresher team.

Given all those things I don't expect Kentucky to pull off the unthinkable two weeks in a row. But given the guts & character of this year's Wildcat team I'm not putting it past them either. One thing is for sure, the Rutledges will be glued to CBS this afternoon to see if they have another rabbit in their hat.

Go Big Blue! Cheers!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Customer Service

In all my frustration against my nemesis Time Warner Cable, I have never reacted by taking a hammer to my local customer service office. Not that I haven't wanted to....

Great story.

"Taking a Whack Against Comcast"

Who among us has not longed for a hammer in this age of incompetent "customer service representatives," of nimrods reading from a script at some 800-number location, of crumbs-in-their-beards plumbing installation people who tell you they'll grace you with their presence between 12 and 3, only never to show? And you'll call and call and finally some outsourced representative slings a dart at a calendar and tells you another guy will come back between 10 and 2 next Thursday? And when this guy comes, pants halfway down his behind, he'll tell you he brought the wrong part?

And there is nothing, nothing you can do.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Storming the Field

I thought it was funny when Mitch Barnhart, Kentucky's AD, sent out an email last week with this statement regarding storming the field should Kentucky upset LSU:



Dear UK Fan:
Coach Brooks often speaks about the commitment his team has made to be successful. With his pledge to excellence also comes the responsibility of the fans to support the team but to do it with class and dignity. Everyone affiliated with the University couldn't be happier with the overwhelming support the fans have given the coaches and the team.

As a reminder, SEC and University of Kentucky policies strictly prohibit spectators from entering the competition areas at any time before, during, or after a game. UK's field surface is among the nation's best. When fans rush the field it compromises the integrity of that surface and risks the health and safety of the same players that fans are intending to celebrate. Please continue to enjoy the wins from your seat.

LSU brings the nation's number one team to Commonwealth at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, so it will be another difficult test for our team. Coach Brooks often remarks about the difference the home crowd makes for the team. Please support the Wildcats by entering the stadium early, supporting our team, and practicing patience in the parking lots before and after the game.


From the diehard fan's perspective the win over LSU wasn't just a celebration of one game. It was vindication, retribution, revenge, and exorcism of past losses -- many, many of them -- that people were celebrating. After Kentucky stopped LSU on downs in the third OT, I just jumped up and shouted, "They did it!" over and over again. I couldn't believe that Kentucky had finally overcome the years of losing this game, this very game. And I'm just a fan watching at home -- imagine if you're these players and coaches trying to undo this habitual losing mindset.

After Kentucky's monumenal upset when thousands of fans stormed the field in celebration I chuckled to myself remembering Mitch's email. In reality I think Barnhart could make one phone call to a big booster and get a $25,000 check delivered to the athletic department that day to pay these fines assessed to schools when their fans storm the field.

So I feel for Mitch having to answer to SEC and NCAA officials each time the fans storm the field. It is an issue of safety, although I would argue that it's not that dangerous now that the grounds crew takes the goalposts down immediately. Personally I think Mitch secretly could care less about fans storming the field as it means UK's football team is doing unprecedented things, but he probably has to send that email out.
___________________________________________

I have watched this video clip countless times. I love the roar of the crowd after the TD catch and defensive stop. What a thrill. Go Big Blue!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Win Like No Other

Kentucky over LSU 43-37.....3 OTs.....upset of the #1 team in the nation.....biggest win in modern UK football history.

GO

BIG

BLUE!!!

A picture is worth a thousand words...


Hat tip to Jeff Mills for the picture. What a thrill!

Geaux Big Blue

Huge Kentucky game vs. #1 LSU today at Commonwealth. C.E. is venturing up to Lexington for this one -- yell loud for us, Chuck. The game is a national television game as CBS picked it up for its SEC game of the week. Mitch Barnhart (Kentucky athletic director) sent out an email this week to alumni & fans stating the importance of staying off the field for safety's sake should the unthinkable happen. Of course still stuck in UK fans' heads is the game four years ago where LSU beat the Cats on a last second hail mary bomb while UK fans celebrated tearing down the goalposts in the opposite endzone. Finally, although Kentucky is having its best season in 30 years the loss last week to South Carolina was a reality check. As if the notion of beating a top ranked team that spanked them 49-0 last year wasn't enough...

Given all of that, I am still going to pursue a different route in asking the football gods for a Big Blue victory. I'm not going with the historic upset path, the revenge path, or the monumental UK season path.

Here goes. Football gods, can you really live with yourself knowing this little guy will be disappointed all week without a Big Blue victory? Does this little UK fan deserve a Big Blue upset or what?



Go Big Blue! Cheers!

Friday, October 12, 2007

GJ

Over the past three weeks we have been extremely fortunate to have Jane stay with us. She has been a tremendous help to us with the boys, the house, the dog, the pregnant mom, the stressed-out dad, you name it. The fact that Jane packed up her things and departed her life in Glasgow was a sacrifice on her part (and Pappy's part) that we truly appreciate.

The boys have really bonded with their GJ -- each morning the first question out of Gus's mouth is "Where Joo-Jay go?" When Mom spends time with the boys, the teacher in her comes out. She knows from years in experience with kids how to interact with them. Amy & I watch with keen interest and try to pick up some tips.

Owen and Gus -- especially our dear sweet roaring lion Gus -- are definitely two years old right now. I don't want to call it the "terrible twos" because there are times when this stage is really enjoyable. The boys are gaining their independence, learning how to articulate what they want, and piecing their thoughts together with longer sentences. They love to read, play with their trucks, and want to be more and more a part of what we are doing. With that development though comes more challenges obviously. There have been a lot of tantrums lately -- getting out of the car, going upstairs for baths & bedtime, just in general when they don't want to do what we want them to do. So having GJ here to both help deflect some of the stress and to help Amy and me to deal with it has been a tremendous help.

When Mom tells her son and daughter-in-law that we need to get control of our two year-olds now before it is too late because the kids are starting to run the house, we listen. And she is absolutely right. As Amy & I have been trying to take as much off of Amy's plate as possible with these early contractions, it was becoming a challenge to maintain order in our house. We were letting some tantrums go that we should have been addressing and nipping in the bud. That parental wisdom that can only be gained from experience is very helpful at times like this.

Finally, even Tucker has been a happier dog with GJ here. No longer does Tucker snuggle up in Mom & Dad's bed -- oh no. A habitual early morning walker, GJ now has the dog's loyalty as she takes him on neighborhood laps and fills his bowl. Tucker will have to go back to being walked once a day -- heaven forbid -- when GJ goes back to Kentucky on Sunday.

So a tip of the glass to Grandmother Jane. We thank you for all your help, advice, and shared wisdom. Cheers!


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Halfway Point

Amy B has passed the halfway point of the pregnancy. The first trimester was a bit rough as her appetite was....how do I put this politely, particular and selective. ;-) She is through that stage now though and eating much more. The doctors have told her to put on the pounds.

We are still proceeding with caution as the Braxton-Hicks contractions that sidelined Amy when she was pregnant with the boys have made an unwelcome return. Amy is going to the doctor every two weeks for ultrasounds to make sure that the contractions aren't causing anything to happen prematurely. So far, the contractions are just a nuisance. Still we are keeping a close watch on it and trying to keep Amy from overdoing it.....as much as a mom with 2 two year-olds can not overdo it, right? Luckily we have been fortunate enough to have GJ in North Carolina with us for a few weeks to help out with boys, meals, etc. Her help has been tremendous.

Finally the boys know they are going to have a baby sister rather than a brother -- although I'm not sure they really know what that means. And they know that the baby is actually in Mom's belly and not in Dad's belly.

Cheers!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Politico Friday

Here's an interesting quiz to assess which presidential candidate matches your beliefs. I was actually surprised with the results. Apparently Joe Biden is my guy. Who knew? ;-)

It's 11 questions -- check it out.

Hat tip to Darrin D for the link.

Cheers!

http://www.wqad.com/Global/link.asp?L=259460

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Five and Oh !!?!!?!

What a very odd year in college football. For University of Kentucky fans, we are accustomed to talking basketball by this point. It is October after all. Midnight Madness is 10 days away. The Billy Gillispie era is about to begin, right? But stop the presses.

Rich Brooks has put together a 5-0 Kentucky team that has a chance to win its first two SEC games for the first time in 30 years. Kentucky has a chance to start the season 6-0 for the first time in 67 years. The Cats are ranked #8 in the polls -- the football polls. Quarterback Andre Woodson is a frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy.

This is an awful lot of early success to throw at a fan base whose team is used to losing on Hail Mary's and last second touchdown passes. We are fans of the program that has mastered the art of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory -- over and over and over. Yet, we Kentucky fans still tune in, still support Big Blue, still keep coming back.

As I was discussing this alternate reality we find ourselves in with my friend & fellow UK fan Dave O, we concluded that tonight's Kentucky/South Carolina game is probably the biggest Kentucky football game of our adult lives. How crazy is that! A Thursday night ESPN game which is only the second league game of the season is arguably the biggest Kentucky game in years. The only game that comes to mind that could be bigger is the Louisville game in 1994 that re-established the UK/UofL rivalry after laying dormant for decades. Either way, tonight's game is huge if Kentucky wants to make the leap into the national scene.

Our crew will be glued to the TV tonight. The boys are practicing their "C-A-T-S" cheer. Here's hoping Kentucky can win tonight so next week's LSU game becomes the biggest game in recent Kentucky football history. Go Big Blue!

BTW, the beverage of choice for tonight's game is VICTORY Hop Devil Ale. Cheers!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Our Very Own Michael Scott

The annual IBM 5K was last Saturday. To my knowledge no money was raised for the research and treatment of rabies but it was a good time nevertheless. Derek would have you know he eventually passed the guy pushing the stroller. The boys congratulated their dad after the race and begged to go down the enormous slide.







Thursday, September 27, 2007

Premiere

After a long offseason, the season premiere of The Office is finally here tonight. Long live Dunder-Mifflin.

Cheers!

FUN RUN
9/8c 09.27.2007
THE RUN FOR THE CURE

SPECIAL ONE-HOUR PREMIERE - A freak accident causes Michael (Golden Globe winner Steve Carell) to feel the office is cursed. He explores the religious beliefs of his employees before deciding to hold a charity 5K fun run. Meanwhile, further developments in the romances of Pam (Jenna Fischer) and Jim (John Krasinski), and Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and Angela (Angela Kinsey) are explored. B.J. Novak, Melora Hardin, Ed Helms, Leslie David Baker, Brian Baumgartner, Kate Flannery, Oscar Nunez, Phyllis Smith, Paul Lieberstein, Mindy Kaling, Craig Robinson and Creed Bratton also star.

C-A-T-S

Kentucky football is the darling of the sports media's attention right now. The New York Times even has a piece on them. Having a chance to be 5-0 for the first time in 30 years shows how bleak things have been in recent football history. You could even say their fortunes were sealed when Bear Bryant walked away from the job because he got a watch while Rupp got a car as rewards for their respective successes.

It took 50+ years but now Kentucky may have found its answer in a football coach retread that most people wrote off after his first two years on the job. I love the sweet retribution that is allowing Rich Brooks to have the last laugh.

As for the fans -- the tortured UK football fans -- who have stuck with the Cats through the lean years, they are finally experiencing the thrill of victory as well:
“They’ve been pretty loyal through some pretty sorry football,” Brooks said in a telephone interview last night. “Some of it was while I was coaching here. They are being rewarded for being faithful.”

Go Big Blue!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happy Birthday Derek

The older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune. English Proverb


Monday, September 24, 2007

Happy Birthday to Amy


Happy birthday to Amy B who every year gets to put up with my annoying barbs about being two days older than her husband. Cheers!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Survival Mode

Amy & I often talk about the different modes of parenting that we go through on a daily basis. The good days are the organized days where as a parent you know what needs to get done, where you and the kids need to be, and when you need to be there. This mode requires thought and planning up front, which at times can be a downer because we don't want to feel like we have to live by an hourly schedule. But we have learned it is not a good idea to open the freezer at 5:45 and look for things to cook for dinner. A little planning helps ease the stress in the long run.

The other mode is survival mode, which is used on those days where you do whatever has to be done just to get through the day. Survival mode at our house involves more TV than we would ideally like (Curious George, Clifford, and Cars are periodic life-savers), take-out dinner, and questions like "Is a diaper really full if technically one of the adhesives is still attached even though the diaper is dragging on the ground?" I think all parents go through survival mode from time to time. It's not like we're the only ones by any means. And survival mode can work in the short-term, but we have found it wears us out if we try to stretch it into more than a couple of days.

This week at our house has been one recurring survival day after another. Perhaps Amy & I got spoiled last week when Billy and Elaine were in town to visit and there were four helping hands to entertain the boys. But several things have shoved their way to the front of the line this week. Three of our four are sick as the cough, cold and fever bug has landed at our house. Owen's fever topped out at 105 yesterday which had us watching him very closely. The sickness has thrown off everyone's sleep. Gus has refused to nap which sends him over the edge late in the day. Amy & I have been getting up at night like we did when the boys were newborns. Our neighbor saw Amy one night this week and remarked, "Wow, you look rough."

So needless to say it has been a survival week. One more day and we should get a reprieve with the weekend. In the meantime when we ask the boys if they love their mom or dad and one of them (Gus) responds with, "No, my love Monkey George!" we just have to shake it off and realize that survival mode is temporary.

Cheers!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Conductor & The Showboat

Each week the boys' preschool teacher sends out pictures taken during the week of all the activities that the kids take part in. From this past week, Owen & Gus stayed true to form as...



...the train conductor...



...and the showboat.


The boys are loving preschool.

How Sweet

What a throw. What a roar. What a win.

Go Big Blue!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Gameday

Kentucky vs. Louisville tonight. Our crew will be glued to the tele to see if the Cats can break their losing streak to the Cards. Nana and Granddaddy are in town for a visit so we're making a college football day out of it as Tennessee plays Florida this afternoon. Granddaddy is trying to teach the boys to say, "Go Big Orange." So far the boys have obliged but continue to shout "Go Big Blue!" right afterward.

Ironically enough this is probably Kentucky's best chance to beat Louisville in several years and it happens to be a year when the Cards are a top 10 team. Neither team has shown much on defense the first two weeks of the season, and both teams have potent offenses. Jane & C.E. will be tailgating at Commonwealth and yelling for the Cats to bring home the Governor's Cup.

First team to punt loses. Go Big Blue!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fusion Addiction

My assault on my arch nemesis Roger Federer continues....

As my buddy Chris pointed out to me, the Gillette commercial touting Federer, Tiger Woods & soccer star Thierry Henry has already begun to completely saturate the airwaves, first during the US Open and now with the beginning of college and professional football. While the commercial hasn't reached the annoying levels that Chevy reached with its "This Is Our Country" ad last year, give this Gillette ad another month.

There is something more aggravating than the saturation factor of the ad and the "Look how fabulous I am" smirks these sports stars emit. I happen to own one of the Gillette Fusion razors that the commercial advertises. I got one free in the mail through a promotion. The razor is a great product with something like 4,000 tiny blades that provide a great shave. However when I went to the store to get replacement blades I realized that is how they get their hooks in you. A package of blades is something like $14. The free razor is the candy enticement, and I fell for it.

I am sure that Gillette will probably say they spent millions of dollars on research developing this little techno wonder mama of a razor. But I remain convinced that at least half of the proceeds go to the polish that Darth Federer uses to shine his pitchfork.



Cheers!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Lost Art

Great parenting read on the lost art of instilling respect in kids.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/10/AR2007091001174.html?nav=most_emailed_emailafriend

Maybe it wouldn't be so painful if parents would sign on to the following manifesto: Let's expect more help from our kids around the house and withdraw some of our frenetic investment in their academic, sporting and social achievements. Let's shore up boundaries and let them be kids in the kid zone. And let's allow them to experience some of life's disappointments. Let's talk on the phone and go out on weekends with our friends. Let's start worrying less whether our kids are happy all the time and more about whether we are enjoying them and ourselves. Let's get a life in the parent zone. And last but not least, let's resurrect an old concept: Father and Mother Know Best. ?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sister Act

Amy had her 18-week ultrasound today, and we learned (as sure as technology can tell you anyway) that there is a little girl on the way. At an earlier ultrasound a few weeks back the doctor told us he had a pretty good idea it was a girl, but today was much more conclusive. Baby #3 held up a sign that her brothers were already picking on her and told us to tell them there was about to be a new sheriff in town. Oh my.

Any name suggestions?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Cousin Pix

As I mentioned last week upon our return from Glasgow, one of the bright spots of the weekend was the gathering of the family including several of the cousins and our little ones. Uncle Dude, Aunt Mel, Amy & I were joined by our cousins from Tennessee -- Brooke (with daughter Gabby), her brother Shane & husband Geoff -- for a rare opportunity for all of us to be together.


Young Gabby -- who is the spitting image of her mother -- entertained her younger cousins Gus & Owen on the back patio.

Owen & Gus don't get to see their cousins too often so we were glad to visit while we had the opportunity. Thanks to Brooke for the photos.


Cheers!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Return of Football

In honor of the return of college football, here is the final 1:47 of I-AA Appalachian State's incredible 34-32 upset of Michigan last weekend, what many are calling the greatest upset in football history. Enjoy!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tidbits

Random notes on a Friday...
  • Amy has started working part-time again with IBM. She gets to work from the house, and she finally got the PC situation worked out. (The first time IBM sent her a laptop only an empty box arrived.) So we are working out our routines with the boys in preschool and Amy working. Amy sent me a message today that Gus decided not to nap this afternoon and was upstairs banging on the door for her to let him out. Conference calls with work can be difficult with two year-olds in the house. Like I said, we are still working through our routines.


  • Owen and Gus are really starting to enjoy preschool. They are in a Montessori program three days a week which gives them wide boundaries and allows them a lot of opportunity for self-direction. Gus loves to sing the songs (ABC's, "Good Morning to You", "There Are Seven Days in a Week" to the tune of "Clementine"). He is pursuing a greatest hits collection that we might be able to capture on video at some point. Owen is enjoying peeing on the toilet. No kidding, the notebooks that the teachers send home with the boys each day had an entry this week that Owen was doing really well going to the bathroom on the toilet and even drew a crowd of kids to watch. Nothing like cultivating your talents early...


  • Gus caught a case of pink eye from his cousin and/or aunt back in Kentucky. Of course I had to milk it by calling Melanie to give her a hard time. The pink eye quickly spread to both of Gus's eyes, but luckily for us the infection did not spread to Amy, Owen or me. By the second day of treatment, Gus was actually enjoying the attention that medicine time brought him and happily sat there while we put the eyedrops in his eyes.


  • Nomination for the best argument of 2007 goes to this week's spat featuring Amy and me and the missing baby monitor. Some couples argue over finances; some over infidelities; Amy & I go for big ticket items like whose responsibility it is at midnight to find that annoying Fisher-Price piece of plastic that is missing because the boys removed it from our bedroom.


  • Finally, my drum set has been dusted off and removed from the garage. No, Sightless Creed isn't planning a reunion tour featuring grunge songs from the early 90's. I have been playing with a few people from our church as part of a new service that we are trying out this Sunday. While my musical tastes tend to be much more on the secular side, I have to admit I have really enjoyed playing music with people again. The boys have enjoyed coming to our practices at the church and banging on the drums as well. Fingers crossed for a good first performance this weekend.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

US Open

Darth Federer is back in action -- dressed in full black attire no less -- as the US Open continues this week. Just a reminder if you call or email Amy, keep in mind that watching her dreamboat compete consumes a lot of her energy and may cause slow response times. ;-)

Cheers!