Saturday, May 23, 2009

Happy Splashing

The Rutledge crew is going to be resting & relaxing this weekend. In fact, we have already started.

I think it's safe to say that Tess may be a water bug. Her first experience in the kiddie pool was full of chuckles.

Cheers to everyone for a safe & fun Memorial Day weekend.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Basketball Goals, Strawberries, & a Clay Court Dream

Amy & I celebrated our 10th anniversary over the weekend. We shipped the boys off to Durham for a sleepover at Ms. Ann and Dr. Ron's house, and Dorothy stayed at our house with Tess. Although we didn't go far or take an elaborate trip, Amy & I did make a night of it in Raleigh, hitting two of our favorite restaurants and staying at a hotel downtown. It was a good break from the role of Mom & Dad that we play every day and to remember that we were husband & wife first before we were parents.

As we talked about things we had done over the past 10 years and things we wanted to do in the future, I was able to coax an agreement out of my wife that a basketball goal in the driveway needed to be in our future plans. Yes it was a random interjection, and yes it may have been influenced by Makers and Coke. But the tape recorder in my pocket doesn't lie.

The weather has reverted back to spring here in central North Carolina. Yesterday the temperature didn't break 70 degrees. For the first time in years, North Carolina is no longer in drought status as spring rains have been plentiful.

Our hummingbirds have finally returned to the house this past week. The boys decided to name the hummingbirds that come to feed outside our kitchen window. Whoever spots the bird at the feeder first gets to stake that claim that the hummingbird is his or hers -- "Flappy" (Gus), "Wings" (Mom), "Scooter" (Dad), or "Batman" (Owen). Tess just thinks we're all nuts.

Yesterday I took off a little early to go with Amy & the kids to the strawberry patch up the road. Owen & Gus did much better on this expedition than they did the last time when Gus ran out on the highway and nearly put Amy into cardiac arrest. The boys understand now that the red berries are the ones to pick as they know now that the green ones don't taste very good when they're made into smoothies.

For her part Tess was happy as a clam. She has finally started walking full-time so she slowly trotted up and down the strawberry row, picking berries to squish between her fingers and eating the goods before they made it into her basket.

Amy is into full-blown tennis mode. She dusted off her racket from storage and has been adamant about getting a game with her friend Julie or with me or with the dog for that matter. This woman is ready to play some tennis! Amy says it's because she loves the game and hasn't played such a long time. And it is true that Amy doesn't get enough time for herself and that she's been somewhat busy.....for the past four years.

But part of me suspects that the recent interest has something to do with the fact that the French Open begins this weekend and a certain Swiss tennis player recently knocked off Rafael Nadal in a clay court tune-up over in Europe.

If Roger Federer announces he's looking for a mixed doubles partner, Gus, Owen, Tess and I may be scratching our heads this weekend to find Amy on the tele from Stad Roland Garros instead of out on the deck for a Memorial Day cookout!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Game 7

Tonight is Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between Carolina and Boston. To most of the country this game means nothing -- "Wait, Versus is a TV channel?" And even in Boston the Red Sox and Celtics are center stage while the Bruins play second fiddle.

But in the Triangle where we have no other professional sports, NCAA basketball is over, Koach K is out promoting his latest book, and everyone is tired of the never ending John Wall recruiting saga, tonight's Game 7 is huge.

Caniacs love their Hurricanes, and despite the disappointment of blowing a 3-1 series lead fans are hopeful that Carolina can turn things around to advance to the conference finals. This has been an odd series. The three games that Boston has won have all been blowouts -- 4-0, 4-1, and 4-2. Carolina has dominated in two of their wins 3-0 and 4-1.

So the hockey analysts will say that the winner tonight will be determined by which team can force its game on the other team -- Boston with its tough, physical play or Carolina with its speed up front.

And while that may be true, I say the winner will be determined by something more scientific.

Notable people
Boston boasts Paul Revere, Thoreau, Edgar Allan Poe, John Adams and JFK.
Carolina claims John Edwards, Jesse Helms, Dean Smith and Michael Jordan.
Advantage: Bruins

Boston: American Revolution and Boston Tea Party
Carolina: The Lost Colony, segregation
Advantage: Bruins

Boston: Harpoon IPA, Sam Adams
Carolina: Pepsi, Carolina Pale Ale, and sweet tea with so much sugar it crunches
Advantage: Canes

Boston: Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, Bruins, Boston College
Carolina: Hurricanes, UNC/Duke/NC State
Advantage: Push (depends on your flavor)

Both are named for banks -- Boston's TD Banknorth Garden (shameful) and Carolina's RBC Center.
Advantage: Push (lame corporate sponsors)

Boston: Blade, a bear

Carolina: Stormy -- is he a Pig? A Bear? A Hybrid?

Advantage: Canes (there are no bears in Massachusetts!)

Well that didn't help. So I think it will come down to who scores first, especially if the Bruins are able to draw first blood and take Carolina off their game. If it's close watch out for Jussi Jokinen of the Canes. He has scored two game winners so far in the playoffs. It should be a great game.

Go Canes!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

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Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. We wouldn't be anywhere without them.

Our crew celebrated Mother's Day with homemade greeting cards, a jog, a rosebush (that Owen kept as a surprise for all of about 15 minutes), and a cookout. It was a good celebration for the wonderful mom in our family that keeps us ticking. Cheers to you Amy B.

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Steppin' Up

Tess has been slow to embrace walking. About a month ago she took her first steps to Amy & me, and we thought she would be off and running. Since then she has little interest in walking and crawls everywhere. Lately she has taken to her sign language, clapping her hands together, looking up at us, and holding her arms out -- her sign for "Hold me, parental unit."

Well last weekend she finally took off in the kitchen with about 20 steps. So while walking is still not her preferred mode of transportation -- why walk when you can be carried or crawl at the speed of sound -- at least we know she can do it.

Amy got a video of Tess walking for Miss Dorothy. We keep trying to entice...


Monday, May 04, 2009

Love Line with Owen

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Walking around in the backyard this weekend spreading some pine straw, Owen noticed all the tulips that have fallen from the tulip poplar trees. Thinking I would help the lad by planting the seed of charm that might come in handy down the road I thought he should practice on the #1 female in his life, Mom.

Owen: Dad, look! Look at all these flowers on the ground.
Dad: Yep, those are tulips from the tulip poplar trees. Look up -- do you see all the flowers on the big tree over your head?
Owen: Yeah.
Dad: Those are pretty flowers, aren't they Owen?
Owen: Yeah, they are beautiful!
Dad: Owen, you should go give that flower to Mom and tell her that as pretty as this flower is it's not as pretty as she is.
Owen: Alright.

(Owen walks up to his mother, also working out in the yard.)

Owen: Mom, this flower is prettier than you are.

Dr. Ruth has nothing on my son.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Amy & the kiddos returned from their excursion back to Kentucky to spend time with Amy's family. And although Tess picked an unfortunate time to go through a "stick every second to Mom" phase, the boys and Amy had a great time visiting cousins, aunts, uncles & grandparents. Owen & Gus each took pictures of their trip to show-and-tell, and Gus has asked several times if it's time to go back to Nana and Granddaddy's.

Bachelor week was pretty good for Dad I must admit. But by the weekend I was ready to see the wife & kids. I did manage to do many of those little things around the house that you can never seem to do with kids around -- paint that spot on the wall where the boys crashed into it with the push toy, work out in the yard, go to the bathroom without a child accompanying me, etc. So that part was really nice. But I missed the commotion and the chaos for sure.

It took me a couple of days to get "back into shape" so to speak with the kids. For 8 days I had done pretty much what I wanted. So when it came time to give baths, read stories & put kids to bed I had to get back into the groove. After a couple of times it's like riding a comfortable bike.

Thanks to the family in Paducah for taking the crew in and showing them a fun time. Cheers!