Asher in a tree

Asher relaxing in a tree

Today was my nephew’s third birthday party (his actual birthday was yesterday).  His birthday party was at the Northwest Recreation Center.  My older godson was very excited about attending the party because he remembered that the Northwest Recreation Center is the “park with the climbing tree”.  He actually climbed the tree several times.  I took a few nice pictures, all of which were vetted and approved by their subject.

Asher climbing a tree

Joey has many more pictures of the party itself, which I am sure he will post in a day or two.

Chuy’s and a Pub Quiz

Joey and I had a big social afternoon and evening.  We started off joining Rachel, Debra, Asher, and Chiara at Chuy’s for a dinner and a lovely visit.  Asher was wearing the shirt I brought him from Japan, and Chiara was wearing a hat that I made for her.  I felt very special!

Joey, however, was the favored guest because he burned Chiara a new copy of They Might Be Giants Here Come the ABCs.  Years ago we took a copy of the original DVD so that we had a copy for the kids to watch at our house.  The original had since gotten lost, and Joey made a copy of our copy – bad with VHS tapes, but apparently totally fine for DVDs.  If you have kids, and you do not know the They Might Be Giants kids’ music, please check it out.  It is really fantastic without having much of the annoyance of typical kid music.

Later in the evening, we joined Aaron and Sujata and Walt and Jane at B.D. Riley’s for a pub quiz.  Today is Aaron and Sujata’s third anniversary, so we were celebrating.

B.D. Riley’s has their quiz every Wednesady.  There is no cost for playing, but of course you buy some beer and food, so the pub comes out OK.  We had a great time visiting with everyone, and playing the game.  We came in fifth amongst all the teams in the bar, and were only two off the money winning scores.  We all agreed that we would like to do the quiz again in the future.

We finished up the evening with a drink at the Driskill Hotel bar with Aaron and Sujata.  Congratulations to Aaron and Sujata on three years of wedded bliss!

Camping at Willis Creek

DSC01825 Rachel, Debra, Joey, and I have been saying we would like to go camping together for YEARS!  We finally managed it on Easter weekend.

We decided to try out some federal camp grounds run by the Army Corp of Engineers.  We wound up with a reservation at Willis Creek Park, which is on Granger Lake, near Taylor, Texas.  The website indicated that the usual camping activities were available at the park: swimming, hiking, etc.  As Rachel describes, this was only partially true.

We actually had a great time despite the lack of formal activity.  I got some much needed rest.  We got to play with our godchildren, and visit with Rachel and Debra.  Elanor came with us as well, and she played on the shore of the lake and tried to pick up the waves and bring them back to us.  She did very well in the tent, and didn’t even steal my sleeping bag from me!

On Saturday morning we walked down to the boat dock.  The lake was very low, but we had a nice walk anyway.  Elanor was the only one who actually got into the water.  Back at the campsite we held races across the lawn, and lounged until it was time to pack up to go home.

Over all a successful trip!  We plan to go again soon, and this time I think we will aim for a camp site with more hiking and swimming opportunities.

Workout Summary 08-14 March

total minutes = 210

total calories = 1696

Well, down again this week. I did Body Pump on Tuesday and Thursday, and Cardio with Debra on Friday morning.

Being out of town on Saturday was one contributing factor.  Also, I did not work out last Sunday or Monday.  I have realized that if I don’t start the week with working out, I just don’t do as well all week!  This week started off strong thanks to the hike with Megan and Robert.  Also, I did Body Pump on Monday morning with Debra.  I was so glad to have her join me, and to get to try out Robyn’s class.

Day with Asher

CIMG3019 Today Asher came over to my house to play for a few hours.  Rachel and Debra were able to go see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which they said was very good, if very long.

Asher and I played with his encyclopedia.  We read about Alcohol, Alexander the Great, and many other “A” words. We put together the Latin America puzzle, in alphabetical order, of course!  We spent much of our time looking at my atlas, which, according to Asher, “will tell us where we are”.

We looked up Andora in the index.  He noticed that not only did the index give a page number, it also gave numbers and letters, like A12.  He asked what they meant, and I explained that the letters and numbers refer to the grid lines that are laid out on each map to make it easier to find a small place in a big map.  As you might imagine, this information changed everything!  We began “going” to each grid square on the North America map, starting with A1.  We spent a lot of time in the Arctic Ocean.  We were cold, but we caught some fish anyway.  Before he left we made it all the way to Montana.  The highlight for me was riding horses in Alberta, Canada.  He rode a dragon, as you can see in the pictures below.

Asher asked Elanor if she would like to play outside, and she was most obliging.  They ran around the backyard together for quite some time.  I managed to get a really cute picture of the action.  Asher is singing the “dot, dot, dot” song from Mamma Mia!, and Elanor is playing Sophie’s friend.

9th day of Christmas

Laura and I started the morning with a trip to the gym.  We took a Body Pump class.  Laura did great, and even got a compliment on her performance from the lady standing behind her.  The class was at the Hester’s Crossing gym, and I decided I don’t like the group exercise room as much as I like the one at Tech Ridge.  It is much harder to see the teacher, and I am uncoordinated enough to really need to see the teacher!  It was a good class, and we got a great workout.

After our workout, Laura and I dropped by to see Rachel, Asher, and Chiara.  Asher was kind enough to show Laura his trampoline.  We all got a chance to jump on the trampoline.  As I was climbing on I broke the step stool that Asher uses to get onto the trampoline.  Yikes – back to the gym – maybe if I reach my goal weight, a step stool will be able to hold me ;-)  Rachel assured me that it was already cracked, and while I do believe her, I also believe she might have told me that anyway so that I didn’t feel bad about my weight.

After my step stool mishap, Asher took me on a trip on his boat.  We sailed to Algeria, Andora, and Argentina, specifically Buenos Aires, which just happens to be one of my favorite cities!

20090102 Laura, Elanor, and LD When we got back to our house we ate some lunch and rested a little bit.  Then we went with Joey and Elanor to Walnut Creek park for a hike.  The weather was fantastic, and we had a lot of fun.  Joey showed Laura and I a tree that he had found while riding that was decorated for Christmas.  Elanor chased a stick, met several new doggy friends, and played in the water.  She actually got into water deep enough that she had to swim!  She wasn’t too fond of the actual swimming, so she resorted to hopping through the water.

Mom and Dad drove to San Antonio to attend my great-aunt Francis’s funeral.  She was my grandma Margaret’s older sister.  She passed away on 23 December.  She had been a sargent in the army, and we found out after the funeral that she had been awarded three bronze stars.

Jason had to work on New Year’s Day, so he drove down from Denton today.

By the time Laura, Joey, Elanor and I made it back to the house, Mom, Dad and Jason had all arrived.  We spent a pleasant evening together.  We watched Big Fish and Almost Famous – my mom and dad had never seen either movie!

New Year’s Day

Yesterday Joey and I hosted our tenth annual New Year’s Day party.  A great group of people showed up!  We ate hoppin’ john, bean soup, and sausage balls (aka meat cookies).  Dad, Asher, Laura and Joey decorated the garage and side walk with chalk.  The Etheredge siblings were all present, and our nephew Daniel was charming, as usual.  Chiara played with Elanor.  Lee and Billy brought their friend Melissa, who talked physics with Dad, and then discussed opera with Laura and Alissa!  We finished the evening with a round of Apples to Apples.  In short, it was a wonderful day, a perfect start to 2009.

Halloween revisited – Dragons again

In my earlier post about Halloween, I posted pictures of my godson’s various costumes over the years.  I also posted a picture of my goddaughter’s first Halloween costume.  I did not have this picture at the time, but I feel it definately belongs in the collection.  This is Joey’s and my nephew, Daniel, in his first Halloween costume.  You may recognize it as the same dragon outfit that Asher wore his first Halloween.  The Serrins/Springfield clan was good enough to lend the costume to Kay and Daniel.  I do not know if it was Rachel or Debra, but one of them took this picture too – thanks y’all!  Joey agreed to wear his big dragon costume again.

Halloween away from home

I have had to be away from Austin for Halloween the past four years. Today made five halloweens away from home. I have missed every Halloween that my godchildren have experienced! Here are some examples of what I have missed…
Asher and Joey as Dragons in 2004
Asher as a leopard in 2005
Elephant Serrins in 2006
Cat in the Hat in 2007
Asher as Stuart Little…
and Chiara as Pebbles in 2008
My company does a costume contest at each location.  So instead of hanging out with my godchildren, I have had the pleasure of seeing grown people act crazy.

Here is a small taste of what was going on at my office in Wilmington on Halloween.  The Pac-Man and Miss Pac-Man costumes were pretty good.  You can’t see them clearly, but there are also several ghosts in the group!  The one really great thing is that we got out of the office and got to spend a little while in the beautiful weather!

Afternoon with the Springfield/Serrins Family – 31 May 2008

02-Joey, Chiara and Rachel Joey and I decided that it had been too long since we had spent some leisure time with our wonderful friends Rachel and Debra, and our godchildren.  We went over to their place on 31 May 2008, and spent the entire afternoon, and even went out to Serranos for dinner.  We had a great time just relaxing and visiting.

Chiara demonstrated her sitting up skills.  Asher and Joey built a marble run, and we had a terrific time having international “marble parties”.  Just in case you haven’t had the pleasure of attending a marble party, they work like this: Asher decides where in the world the marble party will occur (Argentina, Angola, etc.), then you take all the marbles, and put them into the top of the marble run as fast as possible.  The marbles race, Asher dances, and you try to make sure none of the marbles get stuck.  It really is fantastic!