A New Toy and Eternal Embarrassment

CB is officially at that age.  Dads, and in particular, this dad, are becoming major objects of embarrassment.  I have no idea why.

We went to the Zilker Park Nature Center today for a little expedition.  There are gorgeous trails throughout the property, but the problem is with my girls, especially, Al, is that they all wanted to stay on the trails.  Where’s the fun in that?

MK was on my side, so we set off on our expedition, never dreaming how dangerous it would ultimately be.  Check out the video for a detailed account.

As for the new toy?  A Flip Mino HD.  These things are absolutely amazing.  Anything that small that can record in 720p HD is mind boggling.  So, for me, click on the HQ button in the lower right corner of the youtube video to see the dork in all his glory.

The best thing about the Flip that I can take it anywhere, for CB the worst thing is… that I can take it anywhere.


Thin Places

I’ve long been fascinated with the Celtic concept of Holy Grounds.  The Irish call them “thin places,” places where the veil between this world and the next is so thin that it is easy to step through.  I’ll admit that this blending of existences and closeness to God is a pretty bizarre concept.  But it all makes sense once you find one of these places for yourself.  And for me, there’s only place like it in the world…

I don’t know what it is.  The history, the music, the people, the Shiner?  Probably a little bit of all the above.  But whatever the reason it’s one of those places where you can’t help but feel it.

Portrait of one happy man.

Sunday was one of those days.  It was so beautiful I got in my old convertible, drove around San Marcos, and I went down this one alley and there were 20 Mexican guys sitting around a table drinking Schlitz beer, and I thought man, I hadn’t had a….  Wait, wait…sorry, I was caught up in the moment.

Sunday was a perfect day, though.  I told Al, let’s just put the girls in the car, go to Gruene Hall, and walk around lost all afternoon.  Al went through her standard, “But this hasn’t been on the calendar for the past six months… and the girls”

“Girls,” I said.  “Who wants to sit outside with daddy by the river and eat ice cream?  Two scoops?  Cookies N Cream?”  Al was quickly outnumbered.

I convinced Al that you couldn’t find any better spots in Texas for some Spring pictures.  A couple of matching sundresses later, and we were gone.

I think this one might be the Caroline Beilue Band’s first album cover.  Love MK’s steely eyed gaze.

A flair for the dramatic.  MK rocking her softer side.  Gotta give the audience what they want.

I know I’m extremely biased, and Al tells me I can’t comment on how beautiful Miss CB is just because she looks like her father.  But hey, it’s my day, and I’m making the rules.

That blue eyed beauty is why my firearm collection is growing by the day.

Taking in the action at Gruene Hall.  And yes, we did get Cookies N Cream.

“No. No. wait. Mommy’s watching.  Just act nonchalant and she’ll go away.”

No trip would be complete without a hike to the Guadalupe.

One of my personal favorites.  This picture captures it all.  CB scanning the horizon, MK in hand, making sure she’s not too deep, on the lookout for anything else that might come this way.  All the while, little sis is left wondering what is that thing on my foot?

It could not have been a better day.  Beautiful day, beautiful girls, and what a place.  Like I said before, I don’t know what it is about that whole area, but for me it’s something special.  Al will be the first to tell you that I’m not one prone for happiness, but just spending the day down here is enough to keep me smiling for quite some time.

Spring Is In The Air

That can only mean one thing…Strawberries

“I’m taking these.  All of them.  The rest of you just back away slowly, and nobody has to get hurt.”

MK lets one slip and CB jumps at the chance.

Sweet Berry Farms is the place to be.  We made the trek last year for strawberries, blackberries, potatoes, and onions.  Right now, only the strawberries are in season, so the girls ventured out by themselves.

Of course, after eating 4-5 lbs of strawberries, there’s only one thing suitable to wash it down…

Clearly, the signs of a good meal.

The big deal last year was the picking.  There were lots of goats, horses and other animals, but the girls were a little skiddish.   This year, not so much.

I blame it on Saddle Club.  Have any of you out there seen this show?  Dear Lord, help us.  CB is hooked.  It’s basically a stripped down Australian version of Melrose Place for the Tween set.  Why CB is even watching it, I have no idea, but that’s another conversation entirely.

MK made other friends.

Can’t say I blame her, I’ve always been a big fan of the goat.  Al said that MK was chasing this goat around everywhere, and at one point MK had the thing cornered until he literally jumped up on one of the picnic tables.

MK and I had a discussion later that night, and she assured me she was just trying to get the goat into our car.  Funny thing is, he wouldn’t cooperate.  Made sense to me.

And speaking of MK, she has been on quite the tear lately.  My parents laughed and laughed when we used to complain about how stubborn and strong willed CB was as a toddler.  I never understood why anyone that raised me would think it so funny that I had a stubborn child, but I just let it go.  I’ve always been the bigger person, you know, I’m just saying.

Lately, Al and I have been talking about how easy CB was compared to MK…words I never thought would come out of my mouth.  I say all that to show you this.  I think it explains a lot.  MK found a certain affinity with a group of friends at the farm.

Feeling Old?

Al is.  It was the fall of 96.  An innocent little Ms. McBride was just beginning her student teaching at Chiney.  Everyone had their star pupil, and Ms. McBride was no different.  Lauren was the perfect student.  Smart, talented, hardworking.

“If I had a whole classroom full of kids like her, life would be perfect.” Al would often say

“Yeah and if a frog had wings…”  Al never appreciated my humor the way I did.

Hard to believe that was more than a decade ago.  Even harder to believe that same brilliant 2nd grader is now a Sophomore at UT.

Does having kids make you shorter?  I’m pretty sure Lauren wasn’t looking down on you the last time you were in the classroom…

I shouldn't be surprised

I’ve long lamented the fact that girls toys leave a lot to be desired.  However, I never knew that Tinkertoys were gender specific.  I spent hours building an island fortress, complete with cannons, a working drawbridge, and a roving howitzer.  Those days are long gone…

When you’re stuck with neon pink and turquoise, you play the hand you were dealt.

I will have to admit, the flamingo turned out pretty sweet.

A Dream Realized

He’s thought about it, dreamt about it, even trained for it his whole life.  Who knew that with one visit from Uncle Dan, it would be a dream realized.

Seve’s finally going to get to run with the big dogs.  Sure he’s captured squirrels in his prime, but a squirrel is no Greyhound.  Seve might be giving  up 60-70 lbs., and quite a bit of reach, but like anything in life, it’s all about the attitude.  Eyes on the prize.  Stay focused.

And like that…it’s over.  It’s like thinking you’ve drawn Sabatini in the first round and then watching Tiger walk up to the tee.  I knew I was on to something when I tagged my first born Seve.

The New Addition

Would you believe this is the first time Caleb is making an appearance on the blog?

Come on…it’s not that incredible.  I’ve been a little backed up lately.

See, throw big sis in there and it’s all better.

One thing no one can resist is a case of the chubby cheeks…especially MK.

A sneak peak of the most exclusive new restaurant in the “Wit”.

Can you believe anyone would eat this stuff?

Apparently so.

Couple of Blue Eyed Girls

It’s been a loong time since the last update, I know, I know…  And one thing that’s long overdue is a thank you.  We posted the vacation pics, but MK reminded us that she had a lot of fun while we were gone too.  So for that, we all say “Thanks!”

Wild and crazy blue eyed girls…

This One's Gonna Hurt

How else can you describe the loss of the woman that you’ve shared your bed with for more than a decade? No, Al is fine, but Sissy is gone. Al took her to the vet a couple of weeks ago for a routine checkup and discovered a Grade 4 heart murmur. The vet told us there was nothing we could do about it, and who knows how long she’ll last. I certainly thought it would be longer than 2 weeks.

I don’t understand people who don’t love dogs, and I’m not going to make some impassioned speech to try and convince them otherwise. I just feel sorry for them. I really do.

I come by this love for animals naturally. When talking to my dad and brother about Sissy, you can quickly see their eyes glaze over, reminiscing about those great ones from the past. It doesn’t take more than a couple of stories, a few strong memories, before everything gets misty and you have to immediately start talking about why the Cowboys missed the playoffs.

We drove to Longview last Thursday night, and at one point, both girls were asleep, and the car was quiet. Al leans over and asks, “Thinking about Sissy?”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because you haven’t said a word in over an hour. And your sunglasses aren’t really helping much in the dark.”

We talked for a minute about all the memories, and it was really kind of eerie. Out of all the memories, the one we both couldn’t shake was the picture below.

Coming home from the hospital with Little Miss CB, we were utterly clueless, and terrified. But as we came up, there was Sissy waiting on us. Excited to meet the newest member of the family, and for the next five and a half years they were inseparable.

CB learned a lesson throughout all this, we all did. It’s something about love. I can’t explain it, and won’t even try. I’ll leave that to someone a lot better than myself.

“‘Men,’ said Mr. Kyle, ‘people have been trying to understand dogs ever since the beginning of time. One never knows what they’ll do. You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty. I don’t. I may be wrong, but I call it love–the deepest kind of love.'”
– Wilson Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows

Life Imitating Art

The new season of 24 is back and I now have a reason to turn on the tv again.  However, something has me worried.  I was watching Obama’s speech last week on the economy and his proposed stimulus package, and I couldn’t help but start thinking about 24.

There have been numerous articles written about the pervasiveness of pop culture and how 24 helped pave the way for accepting our first Afircan-American president with the portrayal of David Palmer.

Problem is, I’d vote for President Palmer in a heartbeat, but everytime I see Obama behind a podium I always think of the other Palmer…Wayne.

That makes me a little nervous.