Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Amy & I were fortunate enough to trek down to sunny Shreveport, Louisiana last weekend for our wonderful friend Dan's wedding. It was a quick trip, but a much-needed break for the two of us to be able to put the Mom & Dad hats on the hat stand as we walked out the door and really enjoy ourselves.

GJ & Pappy came down to NC to watch the kids. The parents truly missed the kids more than the kids missed the parents. When we called the first night the kids had eaten pizza, taken showers on their own, put on their new Spiderman pajamas, and were eating popcorn while watching a movie. (Note to self: Must try being a grandparent at some point in future -- spoil the snot out of kids and then leave.)

Dan had told us just complete horror stories about his 2 years in Shreveport. He was a recruiter there trying to convince 18 year-old boys that they should sign up with the Army at the same time the US was fighting two wars half a world away. But he got a wife out of the deal, and in reality Shreveport wasn't so bad. There was a boardwalk on the Red River, an El Chico Mexican restaurant, and a Rockin' Rodeo right outside our hotel room. I mean, really, what more could you ask for?

Shreveport is a military town for sure. Barksdale Air Force Base is right up the road, and everyone at the wedding had a connection to the military in some form or fashion. It was a different experience for Amy & me, but we really got a true appreciation for the men & women that serve and the lifestyles they lead. We met a great lady named Evelyn, who is 1 year away from retirement and is about to be deployed to Iraq. Her husband is also in the Air Force and is currently in Guam. And they have five daughters that they juggle when they are here in the States. This was just one family's story out of the many connections we made. Very cool to experience it.

The wedding was moved from outdoors to a church due to 10 inches of rain the week prior to the wedding. So plans were in flux and people were shuffling, but it all went off well.

Another great bonus was the fact that we got to take a time machine back to 1967 as shown by this picture of Dan and me. Oh wait, no, this is just the grainy photo from the Kodak disposable that we picked up since we didn't take our digital camera. Man, are we spoiled with technology. How did we take pictures before digital?

Picasa photo editor helps.

Dan met Deborah playing shuffleboard at the VFW where Dan would often go for a beer after recruiting at the end of a 16-hour day. In honor of their first "date" one of the cakes reflected their passion for a game most often played by senior citizens in retirement homes all across South Florida.

Who knew Shreveport was a gambling hotbead? We didn't that's for sure. But there were casinos everywhere -- Diamond Jacks, the Horseshoe, Lucky Jack's -- all built on the Red River that splits the town with neighboring Bossier City.

Outside our hotel was the Rockin' Rodeo, which was rocking well into the wee hours. Amy asked the first day we were there, "Oh, we should so go to the Rockin' Rodeo! C'mon!" After I explained that this was the type of place with more electric bulls than front teeth, she agreed that we'd just hang out at the Hampton Inn.

Finally, we were supposed to be on a 575-passenger Airbus A380 that tops out at 1,200 mph into Alexandria International Airport (a gem of an airport that actually has no international flights). Instead they switched us at the last minute to this little puddle jumper prop plane that left our ears ringing for 3 hours after landing. But we made it there safe & sound so life was good.

All in all it was a relaxing weekend, a great celebration for Dan, and a super getaway for these two weary parents.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Week That Was

Every now and then a week creeps up on you that turns a few more hairs gray -- if not making them fall out altogether. The management team at work needs you to redo chart 14 with a different color font and run the numbers one more time.....for the eighth time. Or the battery on the car dies when you need to be somewhere five minutes ago. Or in our case this week, a virus decides to make our 18-month old its host sending life for our family into an unmanageable mess.

Tess's fever spiked on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, approaching 105 both nights and dramatically altering her -- and therefore our -- moods, sleep, and eating habits all week. After two trips to the doctor, several short nights with little sleep, a challenging work schedule, church commitments, and late-night runs to the store for more Motrin, Amy & I were just about ready to throw in the towel. Thankfully on Thursday Tess's fever broke and she slept through the night.

On Friday & Saturday Amy & I tried our darnedest to get Tess rehydrated. And while our little one still isn't back to completely being herself -- she has grown accustomed to being a velcro child attached to a parent (mostly "Mom!!") -- Tess is starting to finally come around. Today she ate & drank like normal which gave her some energy and made her more like herself.

In the meantime, Amy & I did get out with the kids on Saturday. There was a 5K run followed by a family fun day with rides, jump houses, a ferris wheel, face painting, & live music up at IBM. Amy & I ran the adult race, and Owen & Gus followed in the kids' 1/2 mile race.

Gus was practically sprinting the whole way, and he eventually gave out in the last 100 yards. Amy & I coerced him to crossing the finish line with us running along by pointing to Owen (who had passed him) and the medal he was about to receive. Gus quickly turned it around, threw fatigue to the wayside, and wore his medal for the rest of the day, including proudly displaying it when we went out to eat for dinner.

Kids get sick. It's just a fact of life that all parents have had to deal with. It is especially true this time of year when the weather cools off and more time is spent indoors. Children are together in schools passing germs back and forth to each other.

And while our tough week was in no way unique, it is one of those weeks that they don't tell you about before you have kids or else no one would procreate.

On an related note, here is this week's stock tip.

The crew about to board the bus to take us to the races.

Owen gladly sat still for the face painting, surprising us with the dolphin over a snake or a shark. Gus had a ferocious dragon, but couldn't keep his hands off his face. He raced into the house when we got home and washed his off before we could get a picture. We took a mental picture.

Here's to a better week -- cheers!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Big Blue Madness

Down here on Tobacco Road I catch a lot of grief for being a Kentucky fan, especially now that UK has hired John Calipari, whom most ACC fans place a rung below Beelzebub and regard as a cheating scumbag. (Personally I think a good bit of the animosity has to do with the apprehension of Cal lifting Kentucky back up to the level of a basketball powerhouse once again, but that's a post for another day.)

As this blog's readers know, I still follow Kentucky basketball as regularly as someone with three small children who is immersed in ACC land can. So when I came across this gem today I have to admit I got the fever for Big Blue and had to share.

These fans are camped out in tents for blocks to get tickets to see Big Blue Madness on October 16. Kentucky fans love their basketball.