Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bluegrass Diary -- Glasgow

The Rutledges left their nest in North Carolina for a trek to visit family in Glasgow, Kentucky last week. We loaded up the van with boys, dog, gear & DVD's for the 9.5 hour journey. Owen and Gus did surprisingly well on the long journey, and we were all rewarded with a hearty welcome and a needed break.

A trip to Glasgow is never complete without a trip to the horse farm. We got to visit cousin Spencer and Carrie's farm where the boys got to see horses, sit on a tractor, and play in the gravel. Here Owen ponders which of those things he wants to do first.

The boys were in awe of the big blue tractor and got to honk the horn. It's the little things in life.

The boys got to visit with their great-grandmother and were more than happy gathering rocks that Mother can use to build a rock collection. :-)

The boys got to ride in Uncle Carroll's mini-truck to take a tour of the farm to see horses and dogs at Pleasure Acres.

Pappy was all too happy to take Owen & Gus to a construction site where trucks & tractors were moving earth for a new shopping center. A chorus of "Big Dump Trucks!!" erupted. It was a close call on who was more excited to watch big heavy equipment --grandfather or grandsons. :-) Here Gus is trying to figure out how he's going to get up on this big monster truck.

Of course there was time taken out for relaxation on the patio with GJ and Pappy. After all, happy hours on Central time are an hour earlier! Owen and Gus got to bring of their dad's old toy trucks and tractors outside to entertain them for hours.

Owen helped make sure the chimenia has plenty of sticks to knock the chill off a cool spring evening. As a bonus he got to look the part of a chimney sweep.

The trip to Glasgow was a much needed break for the four of us. It was good to see family and get back to the Bluegrass state. Finally, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Uncle Carroll and the Benedicts as they continue to search for treatment options and face the unknown. Be strong -- we are all pulling for you.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Happy Birthday

Owen and Gus celebrated their 2nd birthday with a few of their buddies and a sugary version of that little red monster, Elmo. It was a very rainy Sunday, but the kids didn't let the weather get in their way of celebrating the fun. The boys were running around saying Happy Birthday to themselves all day. You can never go wrong with cake, kids, & pinatas. They are already ready for their next birthday.

We kidded Amy that paper mache is a better ingredient for candy pinatas than concrete, but either way it was no match for Abby's swing of the bat.

Sugar and Elmo -- tremendous ingredients for a fun birthday party for two year-olds.

Young Jack takes a break from trucks & balloons for a cupcake.

Owen gives Gracen his beads. In 20 years you may see these two at Mardi Gras.

Gus swipes a bite while Owen is enamoured with the party favors.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Be-ba's, Big Nose & Po Bear...oh my!

The weekend forecast calls for cloudy gray skies and rain Saturday and Sunday. So Amy & I celebrated the boys' 2nd birthday a couple days early by taking Owen & Gus to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. Today was a gorgeous day with blue skies, temperatures in the mid 60's, and two boys who couldn't get enough of all the animals.

"Be-ba's! Be-ba's!"

"Big nose!"

Cool dude insisted on wearing his shades before getting his photo snapped in front of Big Nose.

The giraffe was the first animal we saw as we walked into the zoo so I think the boys were just getting revved up. No comment from the boys on the big giraffe.

"Night night, lion."

The chimp statues were much more popular with the boys than the actual chimpanzees. In fact, Gus parked it on his can right by the chimp statues and wouldn't leave. He was content to stay there for the rest of the day if we would have let him. Here is Owen holding the hand of the "chee-ump."

The highlight of the zoo was easily the polar bear. The zoo rescued the two polar bears a few years ago from a circus in Mexico that had mistreated them. And while it can get pretty hot in North Carolina, the zoo keeps the water temperature in the 50's and gives the bears plenty of room to swim. Today, this bear was putting on a show for all the guests -- diving down into the water, swimming up to the window, and kicking off with a relaxing back stroke. The boys absolutely loved the "po bear."

The sea lions were popular too, swimming gracefully up to the window for all the people to admire. Although Owen seemed to think this one was chasing him.

The tortoise was bigger than Gus and Owen combined so the boys kept a safe distance until they saw what slow movers the tortoises were.

After seeing so many animals, the boys paused for a picture with Mom....

...and a juice break on a bench with Dad.

The second highlight at the zoo was the kids' zone, where kids have room to run free from their parents and paint walls and sidewalks with water. You can never go wrong playing with water.

This rare species of highly evolved "chee-ump" is quite demanding and energetic. Luckily they can be coaxed into submission with the sight of a sandbox and some shovels.

The trip wrapped up with a ride on the bus back to the parking lot. The bus is now the preferred method of transportation for our two young zoo-goers.

We didn't make it out of the parking lot before this young po bear was crashed out. What a day!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Imus in the Morning

The Don Imus controversy has taken off like wildfire over the past week. His comment referring to the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed ho's" has led to his program's removal from MSNBC, and his radio show may be cancelled very soon. We shall see.

As a political & media junkie, I am a frequent listener to Imus's show. His revolving list of guests -- Tim Russert, David Gregory, John McCain, Harold Ford, David Brooks, Andrea Mitchell, and on and on -- made the program very entertaining, despite the show's low-brow attempt at humor that crossed the line from time to time.

Imus's comment was awful and shameful, especially given the fact that the audience he directed it at is not a public figure. For that comment I think he should be punished. However, total removal of his show from MSNBC and potentially his entire radio show's removal is overkill in my opinion. The punishment does not fit the crime, especially given the fact that there are many worse examples of misogyny and racist comments that exist on the airwaves. Targeting Don Imus only was a very selective and narrow-focused act.

I listened to Imus's show all week, and his attitude and apologies were very genuine and sincere to me. For people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to call for Imus's firing is actually counterproductive for their cause. At the very least this controversy has put discussions about race relations back into the public discourse. You can't turn on the TV this week without a panel discussion on the subject or read a newspaper online without an op-ed about Imus. If Imus's show is completely removed, so goes the discussion. It is swept under the rug until the next celebrity utters a misguided comment.

The article below -- from a sports columnist's perspective no less - is one of the better takes I have come across in the past few days about the controversy.

So how is the Rutgers team better served? By demanding Imus be fired, or by converting him into an ally and employing his powerful voice and platform? By silencing his microphone, or by engaging him in sustained and badly needed conversation about race and gender? By refusing his contrition, or by suggesting that he come and watch, close-up and firsthand, and get to know them and the game they love? Preferably, wearing a scarlet sweat shirt.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Being Owen can be rough.

Friday, April 06, 2007

From Billy D to Billy G

Kentucky is set to announce Billy Gillispie as their next head coach today to replace Tubby Smith. Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart moved quickly on the search once it was apparent yesterday that Billy Donovan was staying at Florida.

I first read about Billy Gillispie a couple of weeks ago when his team was in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. He had a great track record of building winners out of the two schools where he had coached, UTEP and Texas A&M, neither of which were basketball powers. Then I came across this article about how obsessed he is with coaching to the point of seeming unhealthy. After reading it I hoped Kentucky could either land Donovan or would go with Villanova's Jay Wright. But after following the fanatical UK fans' obsession over this coaching search -- complete with private plane tracking through the FAA website and real estate speculation about potential coaches buying horse farms -- I decided that maybe what an obsessed fan base truly needs is an obsessed coach to lead the basketball program. We'll see. Go Big Blue!

NYT: Coach's 'Unhealthy' Obsession Has Led to Success at Texas A&M

"Texas A&M Coach Billy Gillispie drinks Dr Pepper for breakfast, does not know his sister’s last name and is so tough on his players that his mother swears that she would never play for him."


"Gillispie said he feels more adjusted in College Station than he did in El Paso, here his life was so unbalanced that his house was barely furnished. When he held a selection Sunday gathering in March at his house in El Paso, the Christmas tree was still up. Still, he knows he spends more nights dissecting film than hanging out with friends."

Press conference at 12:15 ET online at

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Kids and Fear

I think this article has a tremendous point of view on parenting. This is from a feature Newsweek runs every week called "My Turn" where a person writes in with his/her perspective on a given issue. The woman who wrote this lives over in Chapel Hill. Amy & I should look her up to meet her. I think per point is dead on.

"We Protect Kids From Everything But Fear"

Fear is the new fuel of the American mom. If it's not fear of her child becoming obese, it's the fear of falling behind, missing out on a sports scholarship or winding up with a thin college-rejection envelope.


It's not that I think parents shouldn't worry about anything. I'm personally petrified of SUV drivers on cell phones. I fret as much as the next mom about how to pay for college. I pray my kids won't wander onto MySpace and post something dumb.

But you can't go around afraid of everything. It's too exhausting! No matter how careful you are, bad stuff happens (diaper rash, stitches, all your friends assigned to another class). And it's seldom the end of the world.

Amen to that.

Planet Earth

Quick plug:
If you get the chance to see Planet Earth, the new nature documentary series on the Discovery Channel, definitely check it out.

The Discovery Channel teamed with the BBC to film the series. There are 11 episodes filmed initially, each costing over $1M per episode as every frame is shot in high definition. It took them 5 years to complete, and they filmed over 200 locations. Watching the scenes -- from deserts, to mountains, to caves, to the Arctic, to the oceans -- is like having an IMAX movie in your living room.

Sunday nights at 8pm ET. I highly recommend it.


Pollen, Dolls, and Four-Letter Words

Pollen season is here in North Carolina. All the pine trees are in full bloom which means the return of the thick yellow haze that lingers in the air like fog. We need a good rain to wash it all away -- off cars, houses, and a little boy's nose.

Amy took her second attempt at the Elmo birthday cake for the boys' upcoming birthdays in a couple weeks. This one turned out much better than the first, in which Elmo's eyes and face stuck to the pan and would have scarred two little boys for life had we presented it to them. I don't know who is going to be more excited about birthday #2 -- Amy in making the cake and the birthday preparations or the boys.

"Hello, my name is Derek Rutledge and I am coming to terms with the fact that my son happily enjoys playing with my neighbor's dolls..."

"...and strollers." Maybe I've pushed too hard on the trucks, tractors, and basketball, and the boys are rebelling. ;-)

Other goings-on at la casa de Rutledge...

  • We took the boys to Target on Saturday night (Amy & I lead exciting lives, let me tell you) and put the boys in separate shopping carts. Normally Amy takes the boys by herself but they are together in the stroller or in a jumbo shopping cart that seats two kids. So Saturday's separation from each other was quite a departure for them as Amy & I took the divide & conquer approach to shopping. For little Owen, the separation was too much as he continually shouted all over the store for his brother, "Gus!! Gus!!" I always knew what aisle they were on by following the calls for brother.

  • Owen has entered the repeat phase where he starts to repeat everything he hears. This past weekend he made his parents accutely aware that they will have to watch the four-letter words that come out of their mouths. After I noticed a tick on my leg from working in the yard and uttered a quaint, little phrase, Owen responsed with "Oh chit" over and over. As a result, Amy & I should re-appear in public with the boys in 2012.

  • In hoops news Florida repeated as national champions last night. I honestly have to wonder if Florida fans really realize the feat that their basketball program achieved last night by winning back-to-back national titles. That just doesn't happen too often, and I get the feeling Gator fans see it as a pleasant headline between spring football practice stories. Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart will make the pitch this week for Billy Donovan to leave the program he has built at Florida and lead UK. But my gut tells me Donovan will leverage the UK offer for a massive pay raise and stay in Florida. Barnhart is a smart and capable guy who will have his ducks in a row if this happens. My prediction: Be prepared for plan B (and C and D).

  • Finally, I fixed the video of Gus going bananas over Amy's tongue and Owen taking swan dives in his crib. We checked the wrong box on YouTube, but it's fixed now.