Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Bachelor Diaries - Vol I

This week is Bachelor Week at la casa de Rutledge as Amy ventured back to Kentucky -- with three kids in tow -- to spend some time with the Smith, Blackburn and Sturm crews. Yesterday Amy managed 3 children, a stroller, luggage and carry-on's through airports and made it to Paducah just fine. My hat is off to her for braving that trip! All early reports indicate the boys have latched on to their cousins Gavin & Mason and Tess has clung to cousin Brooke -- what a match that crew should be for the week.

Meanwhile here in NC, I am holding down the fort with the dog & cats, deciding if I really do in fact relish the peace and quiet or if the lack of noise from little ones running around is too eerie. I think it's safe to say that the empty nest is refreshing for now but will be lonesome by the time the family returns.

So I'm left to decide what to do with all this time not spent shuttling, bathing, refereeing, reading to, disciplining, cooking for, playing with, and cleaning up after children. My buddy Chris asked for my to-do list so he could give me grief when I didn't do half of it. This is very likely to be the case. Odds of those touch-up paint or deck sealing jobs actually getting done are about 1 in 100. But a guy can dream -- it's only been 24 hours!

For now I have made the most inexpensive grocery run this family has seen in months, slept until the alarm clock went off, and taken the dog on more walks than he normally gets in a week. Tucker may change the locks on the doors so he stays #1 on the totem pole.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Baby Jenneson

Congratulations to our friends Dave & Allison Jenkins who gave birth to their first child last week with daughter Jenneson arriving at 7 lbs. 12 oz. on Monday, April 13. This is the last of the April births of our friends -- at least the last that we know of anyway! April has turned out to be quite a baby month. New life in spring.

Congrats Dave & Allison -- welcome to the wonderful world of parenthood!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Sliced Bread Video

Recently I have taken all our photos off a dinosaur PC and backed them up on an external hard drive. I realized I desperately needed to organize them better. Working on the photos for the boys' birthday celebration at school, I stumbled onto Picasa 3, the free product from Google. I feel like I've just discovered that bread comes pre-sliced.

Having not used PhotoShop or much more than the basic editing software in the past, I am all about this application. I'm sure there are even more advanced ones out there. But you have to learn to crawl before learning to walk.

So anyway I was messing around with some clips and a video & put a little something together highlighting the first four years of Owen & Gus.



Thursday, April 16, 2009

Birthday Boys

Owen & Gus turned 4 yesterday and we celebrated by taking an afternoon off to go over to their first baseball game, or as Owen called it "a really long basketball game."

The day started with a small celebration at the boys' preschool. Amy & I had sorted through 4 years of digital pictures on the computer to find 10 for each of them. I took my laptop to school, and Gus and Owen each presented pictures from their first 4 years -- from photos of them being connected to a dozen wires in an incubator after birth (which fascinated the other kids) to pictures of trips to the zoo, beach & aquarium. The boys took a lap around the sun candle for each of their four years while the students recited their little birthday poem. It was quite a little event that they do for each birthday.

Owen talks about pictures of him with his dog Tucker, brother and sister, and those chomping alligators at the zoo.

Next it was on to the DBAP, home of the Durham Bulls and Bull Durham. ("Anything hit that far should have a stewardess on it....")

The boys were so excited to see Wool E. Bull that they got stagefright the moment they actually got to meet him. Gus managed a high five but then ran for the sanctity of Mom & Dad while Owen would have no part. They both enjoyed Wool E's caper around the ballpark on a go-cart between innings.

The highlight of the day and the ball game by far was the junk food. Cotton candy, Cracker Jack, popcorn, hot dogs, you name it -- the boys ate it.

"I'm eating this stuff like there's no tomorrow. You only turn four once!"

Finally two tired brothers returned home to hang out with Mom, Dad, GJ, and Tess. Happy birthday dudes. Many happy returns.


Sunday, April 12, 2009


Easter provided our crew a good chance for some rest & relaxation with family & friends. After a rainy Good Friday the weather cleared up for Easter egg hunts, time out in the yard, dinner with friends and feasting on a small mountain of chocolate.

On Saturday Owen found the "golden egg" at the Easter egg hunt at our church, for which he was rewarded with a giant chocolate treat. Then that night our good friends the Learys brought their kids over for some great conversation, food, and play time.

Today our crew ventured to church for the Easter cantata and an uplifting, simple message from our pastor Joanne about the true meaning of Easter. The afternoon featured a long nap from Tess as the couch beckoned me to sink into it and watch the final round of the Masters with the windows open. Unfortunately I couldn't pull Kentuckian Kenny Perry through, but it was a memorable, relaxing day nonetheless.

Happy Easter everyone.

Owen, Rachel and Gus hunt for Easter eggs in the backyard.

Andrew and Tess try to elbow their way in to get some sandbox time in with the older siblings.

Owen & Gus vie for Rachel's laughs as they push her from front and back. Rachel's quote: "I never knew swinging could be so much fun!"

Tess sported her lovely new Easter dress that her Nana made for her. Several folks at our church service doted on her, and Tess ate it up. All the attention must have worn the little girl out because she took a 3-hour nap when we got home -- her longest nap ever.

Finally, I tried to catch this clip of the boys as they created a new game of basketball this afternoon. The audio didn't come through, but you will get the idea. Gus dragged the basketball goal all the way down from the garage to the playset -- refusing anyone's help of course in true Gus fashion. Then he & Owen proceeded to invent their own game of hoops as they dropped the ball from the top of the playset to score. Whoever dropped the ball had to get off the playset and retrieve the ball. These two played this game for a long time. Having a twin brother as a playmate sure comes in handy sometimes.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Baby Katy

The baby tour continues as our dear friends Chad and Claudia Guthrie celebrate the arrival of Baby Katy tonight. The newest Guthrie weighed in at 7.3 lbs and a head full of hair. Chad was texting me all day with updates so Amy & I felt like we were right there with them at the hospital in Florida. Hopefully Chad's updates weren't keeping him from helping Claudia with her breathing.

We are so very happy for our former next-door neighbors. And we're happy that Chad actually stayed in the delivery room without fainting.

Welcome Katy!

Spring Break

After helping the Crumpton crew with the arrival of Baby Sam, GJ made the trek back up to NC to hang out with our crew until the boys' birthday. This past week was Spring Break for the boys' preschool so the extra pair of helping hands came in very handy.

Spring is here in central North Carolina as temperatures have climbed up into the 70's. It has been the perfect weather for trips to the park, Easter egg hunts, and firing up the grill. At night the adults are all pretty tired, but we did manage to break out a game of Sequence for old time's sake last night.

Owen and Gus have spent their week playing hard and watching some movies. Wall-E is the current movie de jour, with Jungle Book, Lady & the Tramp, and 101 Dalmatians following those. (Television will never raise my childr.....nevermind.)

Tessa Lou is still not walking. It's funny because she took about 4 steps a few weeks back for Amy & me. She repeated the steps several times that day, and Amy & I were certain she was about to be walking all over the place. But since then she hasn't taken a step. Why walk when you can crawl at the speed of sound or be carried by Mom, Dad, GJ, or Miss Dorothy?

So we wait patiently for her to begin her upward mobility. If it were the boys who waited this long to walk we probably would have been worried. In fact I know we would have. But given that we have been through this with the boys, Amy & I just figure Tess will walk when she's good & ready. I think she will be like Owen was when he started walking and take 20-30 steps at a time as soon as she puts her mind to it.

What Tess lacks in upright movement she makes up for in being a ham and chatting. She has really picked up sign language (all done, more, milk, "I've been in this high chair for an hour and you better get me out in the next 5 seconds or this plate's flying"). She takes after Gus in the ham department as she loves to show off by putting something on her head or around her neck and then waiting for your reaction.

So while life for us can be tiring trying to keep up with it all, it is very, very rewarding.

Have a great Easter everyone.


Nothing like a spring picnic in the.....garage? Whatever works.

Little Easy Rider herself decides to bypass walking for the fun stuff.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Baby Charlotte

Continuing with the April baby theme, my cousin Brooke and her husband Geoff welcomed their second today with the arrival of Charlotte Elizabeth this morning. Charlotte joins sister Gabi, who word has it was displeased with her new sister's name because "Charlotte is a spider's name."

And so it begins....

Congratulations to the Barrett crew!

(Charlotte will forever share a birthday with my mom -- Happy birthday GJ!)

Baby Rachel

Something was in the water last July as Amy & I know many people who are expecting little ones in April. The second arrival we celebrate this month is Rachel Mills, who arrived yesterday at 6 lbs. 12 oz. and is the first child for Jeff & Janet, our good friends back in Louisville. I'm sure it won't be long until Jeff has her decked out in Big Blue.

Congratulations to the Mills crew! Cheers!

Jeff & baby Rachel.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Baby Sam

Congratulations to Aunt Mel and Uncle Dude! A new baby boy, Samuel Carver arrived late last week to join the Crumpton crew. GJ was in Charleston when Sam arrived and Pappy hightailed it down to SC when he heard the news. According to Mel, Corinne likes to slop wet kisses on her new baby brother! Classic!

Welcome young Sam and congratulations Crumptons!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Era of the Squid Begins

Fortunately for my company -- and any workplace in the country where there is a UK fan working -- Kentucky hired a head men's basketball coach today in John Calipari. Productivity can resume.

Calipari will bring instant credibility on the elite national level as far as recruiting and coaching are concerned. He consistently recruited the top high school talent to play for him at Memphis. So as far as competing with the UNC, Duke, UConn, and Kansas programs of the college basketball world is concerned, there probably was not a better person to do that than Calipari.

The new coach will bring a self-confidence and media saavy ambassador presence to the role that was certainly not Billy Gillispie's sweet spot. So for those fans that were concerned about getting a coach that would embrace the public aspect of the job, that concern should be put to rest.

Calipari is not without his critics. One man's self-confidence is another man's arrogance. Rival coaches do not like him, including Bruce Pearl and Rick Pitino. Rival fans are quick to bring up his associations with power brokers in the amateur basketball world. Many writers have already noted that his 1996 Final Four team was stripped of its wins because its star player, Marcus Camby, received cash from an agent under Calipari's watch (even though Calipari denied knowledge).

So like everything in life, there is good and bad with the hire. For me, an avid Kentucky fan living in the hotbed of ACC basketball, I just look forward to the Cats being back at that elite national level. And I can just ignore those UNC message board posts referencing Emery freight boxes stuffed with cash, death penalty probation, and shady recruiting connections.

Go Big Blue!