Thursday, November 30, 2006

The 868th post to AtHomeDaddy

No real significance or importance there, just an interesting bit of trivia that I learned from upgrading to the new Blogger software.

Anyways... The kids and I have hidden ourselves in the house today. Too cold and rainy to get the coughing kids out. Plus, I hate cold weather. That is why we live in Texas and have a huge fireplace in our living room.

Supposed to be cold and wet for the rest of the week. I guess we will have to venture out sometime this evening or on Friday to get groceries. Or I guess we could just stay warm and resort to cannibalism. Then again, I am the slow fat one around here, so maybe I won't push that idea too far.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A pink and green Christmas!

This evening we finished up our family shopping. I have been trying for more than a month to find something perfect for The Talker. This afternoon, it hit me. He NEEDS a Green Machine.

We had to hit up two Toys R Us locations to find one, but the kids were kept entertained by the playscapes they have installed in both stores. The playscape was a nice distraction while I checked out and hid the boy's cool ride in the car.

The Princess is finally getting her pink kitchen set. She will be a happy little cooking mama. Luckily we picked it up a month or so ago. Costco has been sold out of them for a while.

I am really hyped about the Green Machine. I had one when I was a kid. It ruled. Best of all, I don't think any other kid on the block had one. So I was the cool kid who everyone had to be nice to, if they wanted a ride on the Green Machine. Now that I think about it, I bet that is why Mom and Dad bought it, so that neighbor's would play with me for a few weeks.

But don't get me wrong, I am excited about the pink kitchen, too. In a different way, though. Frankly, I am scared NOT TO give the girl a pink kitchen. The Princess told me that I needed to get busy and build her one after she saw the first one at Costco. Anyways, it has come up several times since.

"Where is my pink kitchen, Daddy?"
"When ima getta pink kitchen Daddy?"
"Daddy, I want to go play with a pink kitchen."

And just last week, she surprised me with "There better be a pink kitchen under that Christmas tree, or there is gonna be heck to pay, buddy!"

So don't go telling The Princess, but one one these pretty girls will be waiting beside the Christmas Tree.

Good gosh almighty and great googly moogly, it is gonna be a gaudy Christmas around here...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Perfect parade plan

Yesterday I told about leaving Marge downtown. Our plan worked like a charm. Room to spare and a great view of the entire parade. By the stack of newspapers and magazines I found in the bed of the truck, someone may have slept back there last night. I'm just glad it wasn't me. The Boss Lady has already reserved Marge for next year's parade.

Pictures will be online later today.

Friday, November 24, 2006

An Austin Thanksgiving

Just a warning, this may be the longest post I have ever written.
Enter at your own risk...

And bring a snack ...

Thanksgiving weekend is filled with lots of family traditions around here. A family reunion, a parade, a CD release and lots of food.

Wednesday The Boss Lady and I attended a funeral here in town for one of my Dad's first cousin's. He was a great guy and a good architect, too. More personally for out family, he was instrumental in getting The Boss Lady her current job. Which is a big deal to the entire family, since her school is one that he designed.

Thursday we spent the morning and early afternoon with Dad's extended family at our annual family reunion. Good food and big fun hanging out with some of my cousins who I have not seen since last Thanksgiving. 85 people, including about 20 kids managed to eat lunch and play outside without anyone starting a fight or getting drunk. Way to go, guys!

After lunch and playtime, a smaller herd headed over to our house to hang out and to eat The Boss' homemade chicken stew. The good news for me is that only 10 people were over here and The Boss Lady cooked for lots more. So I get to eat leftover stew for days and days! Yummy.

The Talker and The Princess enjoyed having Sis' kids over to play for a few hours. And they all got along without anyone starting a fight or getting drunk. Way to go, guys! After a couple of hours of play here at the house, I took the kiddos for a ride in the truck. Sis and The Boss Lady rode along, so that they could all go in one trip and ride in the bed of the truck. Big fun, all the way to the far end of the street.

Once we got down there, we found a neighborhood Thanksgiving party that was about to finish up. There were several families hanging out and five more kids who wanted truck rides. Everybody load up! We made several trips up and down the street. Lots of smiles and hollering all the way!

Today we set up the first of our outside Christmas decorations, an 8 foot tall Polar bear balloon and a Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Snowman balloon. In an hour, the front yard was decorated. Pictures will be coming later, after I decide how much more we will dress up the outside of the house.

This evening we headed downtown, to mark a place for the big parade. Marge is sleeping on the street downtown tonight, protecting our primo seats. The Boss Lady's plan involved me driving the truck downtown, to find a good parking spot on the parade route. The wife and kids followed me downtown in the Saturn. I am not ready to cruise the highways in the truck, so we stuck to surface streets, so the usual 15 minute trip downtown took more than an hour, but we managed to get there without any problems. It took a while to find the perfect spot, but we finally settled on a spot in the middle of the parade route.

Last year we had some incredibly rude families shove their way to right in front of the kids at the last minute, even though we arrived several hours before the parade started. This year, we will be sitting in the upper deck, aka Marge's truck bed. Hopefully the kids will actually be able to see the parade this way.

On the way home, we ate at an Austin institution, The Texas Chili Parlor. Neither The Boss Lady nor I had ever been, even though we can sing all the words to the song that made the place famous, Guy Clark's Dublin Blues. And let me tell you something, after one Mad Dog Margarita, I didn't care where I was, much less where you were...

After dinner we headed over to Waterloo Records, to pick up a copy of KGSR broadcasts vol.14. We have every volume of this set that has come out since we moved to Austin. They are some of our family's favorite discs. No way we would miss this release ANY year.

An REI just opened across the street from the record store. We ventured over there just to check out the new store. Neither of us were terribly impressed with the store. Seems to be a lot smaller and have a lot less gear than older REI stores. The REI close to our house is mainly stocking clothes now, so we were not terribly surprised. Still, I managed to score a screaming deal on a new tent. I have wanted an REI half dome for more than a dozen years, back when they were too expensive and costs $100 with the footprint included. The footprint cost an extra $17.50, now, but I think I have waited long enough.

Now, we are home again. Marge is loose in downtown. Hope she stays off of 6th Street. And I should be rocking out to my new CDs or playing with my tent. Instead, I am going to bed.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Another long day, another meal out.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned our usual dining spot for nights that The Boss Lady has to work late. The staff are always great, the food is so so and the place is already casual and a little bit loud, so a couple of kids don't add that much noise to the chaos.

Tonight though, The Talker wanted to pick somewhere different. So the three of us headed over to Cheddar's. Even though it is pretty casual there, too, it is a lot quieter than the catfish place. So I was a little worried that keeping the kids calm enough not to annoy other diners might be tough. I was hoping that we would beat most of the crowd, by eating at 5:15.

The kids promised that they could stay quiet and that we would have a nice meal. And danged if they didn't deliver. I am not sure what happened but the twosome was awesome all through dinner. They even got a compliment from an older couple who were sitting next to us. Very cool!

Looks like we have a new favorite spot for dinners out. And it is a huge bonus that everyone actually eats when we go there. Yeah again!

And the kids? They are getting to watch Monster's Inc. since they did such a nice job at diner.

Now, whoever owns these kids, please bring mine back. Your kids are fed and happy but it is almost bedtime. I don't think I want strange kids sleeping in our house. Besides, they were so nice at dinner, it is kind of freaking me out.

Ever have nothing worth blogging about?

I got nothing.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Shhhhh! Do you hear that?

It is quiet here. Don't really know how it happened, but the kids, the dog and one cat are playing in the backyard. They are all being quiet, so I am a little scared to go outside.

I have avoided the back door and the windows that face into the backyard for the last half hour. Instead I straightened the kitchen pantry and baked brownies. And if I am really lucky the kids will still be outside when the brownies are long gone.

It has taken the kids and I a couple of days to settle back into our regular routine. The first day was pure chaos. Yesterday we seemed to just annoy the heck out of each other. But we were stuck in the house because of winds that might have blown a toddler off of the playscape. Good times.

This morning we ventured out to the grocery store. And since we got home, the kids seem to have discovered something interesting about the dog and cat.

Would someone please go back there and see what is so funny? I am afraid to look.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lesson two for today

See this morning's post to catch up on lesson one.

When you set-up a bunch of tents in the front yard to air out, be sure you stake down the nicest, biggest and most borrowed one in when it gets windy. Otherwise you might realize when you wake up that someone else now owns your nice, big, borrowed tent.

Luckily, the neighbor isn't in the market for any camping gear. That sucker had blown right into her backyard. Two stakes holding it down obviously did not keep it from wanting to take a swim in the neighbor's pool.

The kid's and I had driven all over the neighborhood earlier and I had decided that the bastards had struck. My faith in humanity is restored.

Sorry for disparaging the bastards.

Lesson one for today

When you set-up a bunch of tents in the front yard to air out, be sure you bring the nicest, biggest and most borrowed one in when it gets dark. Otherwise you might realize when you wake up that someone else now owns your nice, big, borrowed tent.

Bastards stole my tent.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Home again

I made it back from my backpacking/road trip late last night.

Foster Falls was at the start of our hike.

We back packed a few miles past Foster Falls. It was a great time to visit The Fiery Gizzard Trail. A little bit of hot, a little cold, lots of fall color, some rain and a tiny bit of snow. Good times. But details will remain sketchy, because what happens at The Gizz, stays at The Gizz.

The road trip was uneventful. Spent $36 in a Louisiana casino on the way over and I spent $36 to tour Graceland on the way home. I stopped in Mississippi and camped on the way over, butt I drove straight home, 16 hours including 3 hours worth of stops. (bad pun fully intended).

Really bored? You can see more trip pictures here.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

See yous laters, alligators

I am out of here. Headed to Rick's for a weekend backpacking trip.

I'll be in western Arkansas on Wednesday night and Alabama on Thursday night. Then we will hike and camp in Tennessee for a couple of days. Another overnight in Alabama on Sunday night and then I am heading home, with an overnight in Louisiana.

I'm hitting all of the hot spots this trip, don't you think? Anyways, it should be fun.

Especially the part about being in the car, alone for 2000 miles. With NO kid's music to be heard. Just a stack of old CD's and a full MP3 player. And a butt load of snackage.

I'll be back on the 14th or 15th.

37 minutes to the checkered flag!

Screw election day. Today is much more important than that mess.

Today is the day Cars comes out on DVD. We pre-ordered my copy, I mean the kid's copy, so all we had to do this morning was swing by the mall and pick it up.

We got to the mall a few minutes early so we had to cruise around waiting for the Disney Store to open. But before the staff could even get the security gates fully opened,she let the 5 kids waiting outside rush into the store. The Talker grabbed his copy off of the shelf and we browsed the store for a few minutes.

We were walking out of the mall before 10, a full 5 minutes before the store should have even opened. Yeah for the Disney Store staff!

After a pit stop to change The Princess' stinky diaper and to swap out the glitchy living room DVD player, the kids were watching Cars at 10:37 this morning. A new family record for a new release DVD.

Now I am wondering if we can set a new record for number of times a DVD can be watched before bedtime.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Doing the wave!

The Boss Lady's car needed an oil change and I just did not feel like doing it this time, so the kids and I went to the quick-lube place this morning. In and out in 25 minutes. A little more than a buck a minute for an oil change, but it was a lot less hassle this way.

The waiting room has a small porch behind it that faces the freeway. The Talker was standing on the porch waving to all of the cars on the highway. I got him to start waving at the cars on the service road, hoping that someone would wave back.

I was starting to doubt my neighbors, when finally an old man in a Mercury waved back at the boy. The old man was smiling and The Talker was really hyped up that someone responded. Hopefully they will both have a good day now.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Neighborhood Hiking

Thursday morning the kids and I went for a walk. We were planning to go to the "broken house" and back home. The "broken house" is a house that The Talker nicknamed because it has been under renovation for more than a year. The weather was great, so we kept walking when we got to our turn around point.

Eventually we ended up hiking along some trails that I have never had time to explore. The trails follow a creek that runs behind our neighborhood. We ended up needing to either retrace our route to get back home, or I had to find a way for us to cross the rocky creek to a trail I have hiked on the opposite bank. So we walked along the dry creek bed, over boulders and gravel beds, looking for the other trail.

Once we found the trail we walked back home from the far end of our street. The kids hiked ever step of the adventure. Good for all of us! And they napped like the dead a little later. Good for me!

Anyways, this was a pretty good warm up hike for my trip next weekend. So I am heading back down there this afternoon to hike the trails in the opposite direction. I guess if I really wanted to get ready I would wear the 25 pound backpack.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I admit it. I am a catfish eating cheater.

When the wife has to work late the kids and I can be found eating dinner at the old catfish place down by the freeway. We hardly ever go there as a family because the food is adequate, the prices are OK and the service is a tad better than iffy. Not a glowing recommendation, you say?

Well there is something about the little old grannies that wait tables there. Anytime I walk in with the kids, but without the wife, the service goes way up. I guess Alice, Vera and Flo assume that a dad alone is in over his head at meal time. So they help out as much as possible.

And I let them. That is right. I play along and let them treat me like a dunce. But after 13 hours with the kids, it is nice to eat in relative peace and quiet.

"Kids need refills? No waiting tonight. Here, deary, let me cut that up for you. More fries and hush puppies for the girl?"And that was just on one trip to our table...

Tonight the waitress brought refills of fries over to our table that were destined for another table. She told the people waiting that theirs would be out soon because "Those kids are hungry over there."

After the kids finish, each one gets to pick a toy at the cashier's booth. This evenings reward, Dino Eggs for the boy and bubble soap for the girl.

And for AtHomeDaddy? 35 minutes of being treated like a king. Or at least like a clueless daddy. Either way, I'll take it.