Saturday, November 27, 2010

Parade recap

We spent the morning at the Chuy's/Children Giving to Children/Blue Santa Parade. True, it may have the worst name ever in parade history, but it is also the greatest of all parades. For several reasons. One, it happens in Austin. Which is always cool. Two, the kids who attend the parade donate toys to the local Blue Santa program that is sponsored by our Police/Fire/EMS Departments. The toys are given to kids all over the area who otherwise might have nothing else to open on Christmas morning. And three, it is the one day a year that the kids can count on dad waking up way early. But really, it is about the balloons. This is the only parade all year that they use the big character balloons.

This year I hit downtown before 7am (several hours later that years past), but it was only 33 degrees out there, so I was confident that the crowd would be slow to form this year. And I was right! We still got our preferred viewing spot.

I loaded up the netbook and the cell phone, so I kept entertained with random Facebook posts and watching Groundhog Day on Netflix streaming, thanks to the wifi from the Starbucks across the street. The wait was a lot shorter this year, but much colder, so I would rate this as the toughest year yet.

Knowing that there are sometimes 100,000 people at this parade, I go downtown early and camp out on OUR spot. But we are always prepared for some fun while we wait. Last year the kids and I geocached downtown. This year it was chalk art in the street.

The Princess was proud of this drawing, her "Peace Sign Kitty"

The kids and I always stroll over to watch the crews blow up the balloons. This year they had Super Grover, King Prawn (?), The Grinch and the Coca-Cola Bear. The Princess was thrilled to see them inflating a My Little Pony balloon, but something must have happened with that one, it never made the trip down the parade route.

The pickup trucks stop at the end of the parade and the kids rush out to load them up with the donated toys.

Joe McDermott and his band. He is a local kids entertainer who the kids and I have stalked followed since they were babies.

The Biscuit Brothers and Buttermilk. From the PBS Show filmed right here in Cap City.


I'll admit, when I saw the weather report, I was not thrilled about sitting in a camp chair, freezing my fat butt off, just so the kids could see some parade. But at the last minute I decided to head downtown and park my blanket-wrapped carcass. The kids will be too grown up for all of this nonsense too soon so when the kids and The Boss showed up (with doughnuts, sausage kolaches and Dr Pepper) and they were bouncing around with excitement, then I was glad that we had continued this family tradition once more.

7am, 33 degrees

And here I am again. Too cold to type, so you'll just have to look here to see why I am on a downtown street on Saturday morning.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Where now?

I was looking back the other day and I noticed how this blog has gone exactly like most of my other projects. I posted a load of crap originally. Both in quantity and quality. Then I sort of tried to focus on substantial content. So the post count dropped. But the quality probably didn't really jump way up, either.

For the past year or so I seem to have been distracted by every other possible thing. And a lot of what I do now, working with other people's kids, is off limits. At the end of the day, I can only make my usual, high-quality, pity observations about laundry and chickens every so often, so the blog has been the easiest thing to back-burner.

I used to see something during the day and I would think "can't wait to blog this!" It is sort of ironic that now that I have the constant ability to blog via smart phone and netbook, that I seldom consider doing it that often anymore. Besides all that, there have been a lot of times lately when I just don't wanna blog. So I don't.

This whole thing started out as an alternative to a baby book. The kids are well past the baby book stage and my AtHomeDad days are mostly over now, save for summer breaks between now and college, but surely there are still some crazy, head-scratching events to come.

Last week I was debating if I should just shutter the whole thing. In the end I think not yet.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Her Momma told me there would be daze like this

The Boss Lady has escaped!

Please alert the media and call your local fabric stores. Mother of two is on the loose. Last reported sighting in Philadelphia.

I should have noticed that something was up last week. First, the kids got a sudden infusion of cash on their lunchroom accounts, all of the laundry suddenly washed AND folded itself right into the dresser drawers. An extra couple of gallons of milk and breakfast cereal showed up in the kitchen. I even tripped over a suitcase sitting on the freshly vacuumed living room floor.

Yep, the signs were all there. I should have figured it out, but I have never been accused of being "quick on the uptake" and usually respond better to a brick to the head than to subtlety.


The Boss Lady is attending a conference in Philadelphia. She and her team have worked themselves silly for a year to get a chance to present information about their research and methodology to a group of their educational peers.

I was recently "volun-told" that I would be helping with a huge public even that would take up most of my evenings for the past week and all day Saturday. Luckily, The Mother of the Bride drove in Friday night to hang out with the kids for the weekend so that they could hit up all their favorites - the movies, the Target toy aisles and McDonald's.

The Mother of the Bride is heading home this afternoon. The Boss Lady will return on Wednesday afternoon. I finished up my project after a loooong 12 hour day yesterday. The milk should not run out until Thursday morning and at least the know the kids will be getting nutritious meals at school. And they have clean underwear so what else could they possibly need?

Looks like we are good for the 4 day haul here but still, c'mon Wednesday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gratuitous Hen pics

I was going to title this post Gratuitous Ch1ck P1cs, but I decided that might cause a traffic jam at my blogsite.

I got home from work a little early today, so I spent a little time in the backyard with the hens. FYI, all the hens are well, a day in the isolation ward seemed to do the trick for Gold Diamond and kept the other birds from getting sick, too.

Flower stalks the camera anytime I walk into the yard to snap a few pictures. Obviously she knows she is a star and who am I to keep her from her happiness?

Three Pullets sharing a dust bath. Thing 1 and Thing 2 are Buff Brahamas. Butterscotch Jr (at the top of the picture) is a Buff Cochin. All are now 5 months old. All are still slacking in the egg-laying department, too.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

First Egg!

Flower has finally started earning her keep. She laid her first egg today!

I got home from work and turned the chickens out of the coop. There in the nest box was M&M's egg as usual. Yesterday we got none. Zero. Nada eggs. So I was sorta bummed to find a less than spectacular yield today, until I looked again and saw the tiny little egg tucked into the corner of the nest box.

I am assuming it is Flower's since she has been checking out the nest box since this weekend.

After letting the birds run for a few minutes I noticed that Gold Diamond was wheezing a little bit. I set up our old Hen Pen in the storage shed and isolated her for the time being just in case she has something contagious. Hopefully it is nothing too big and she will be feeling better soon.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

News from the coop.

It has been a while since I blogged anything about the chickens. I took a little time this afternoon to get the birds a little better set-up for our brutal :) winter weather. And of course, I had to snap a few pics of the girls.

This is Flower, she is a 5 month old Australorp and based on the way that she has been hanging out in the nesting boxes all weekend, she should start laying eggs any day now.

A couple of shots of Thing 1 (Or maybe it is Thing 2!?!) One of our 5 month old Buff Brahma pullets (with the gray feathers). The other bird is sometimes called Alarm Chicken, and sometimes called Nameless Bird or Butterscotch Jr. I guess the kids should get decided on a good name for her soon.

Flower is NOT camera shy.

The "Winter-ized" Coop.

In an effort to keep the birds from getting too hot during the summers, our coop was built with wire fencing around the lower 2 feet of the entire perimeter. This allows air flow all summer long and keeps my from having to run a fan in the coop. The extra ventilation is also good for the birds, because they are not as susceptible to passing around respiratory illnesses in an open coop.

Anyway, it is already getting cooler at night and I want to keep the birds comfy. Happy, comfortable birds lay better eggs you know. But I also want to keep to the original low budget theme of our coop, so today I am trying out a canvas tarp, cut to fit, around three sides of the coop. Hopefully this will block most of the wind, while allowing a lot of airflow, too, since I am keeping the front of the coop open.

I'll probably come back and add a few more photos, but my dinner is ready. So go away.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

It's not nothing. It's something. But just barely.

Yep, I am indeed still alive. The students haven't drug my bloated corpse into the back of the library to never be seen again. Yet.

The school job is certainly keeping me busy and I am usually worn out at the end of the day. But this job isn't exactly what I envisioned when I started in August. For the past few weeks, and likely for the rest of the school year, I have been working as a one-on-one student assistant. I work with one student all day long, every day.

Lucky for me he is a great kid. Unlucky for him, he sees me all day long, every school day. He has a complicated medical history that makes it necessary for staff to always have "eyes on". And it just so happens that those eyes are mine 95% of the time.

In the past I have worked with loads of kids with behavioral, physical, emotional, medical and whatever-other issues but this is the first time that I have spent this much time working one-on-one with a specific kid.

Anyways, we are a few weeks into the new job duties and so far, so good.

In other family news, Flag football seaason is almost over. High school football is nearly over. The University of Texas Longhorns football team has tanked for the season. And then some other stiff happened last week, too.