Easter

On Saturday, I took the boy to Teitze park where they were having an Easter extravaganza.  This was, of course, after our monthly, first-Saturday-of-the-month trip to Home Depot to build something with the kids.

The park had a hoard of people and a big Easter Egg hunt. It was basically just a big flagged-off field where a bunch of volunteers tossed a zillion plastic eggs around the grass. Then have a countdown, and the hoard of kids rush to claim as many eggs as they can. So not really much of a ‘hunt’ per se, but Henry had fun. He was FAR more aggressive than he was last year. I was actually trying a bit to restrain him until the countdown was finished. When it was time, I just about thought I lost him in the crowd a couple times. Pretty freaky for a relatively new dad, but I think it’s getting time to lengthen the leash just a bit, and not be one of those overly paranoid ‘helicopter’ parents.

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Later, when Sarah was home from work, we dyed a few eggs. I personally made my token army egg.

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Next morning, we woke up to Henry giving us reports on where he was finding the colored eggs around the house. He was pretty excited to have something like that to do. He also got some candy too. I think the Easter Bunny was keeping it pretty low-key this year, but he was still a happy boy. Later we had some fun with that crazy Mexican tradition we picked up since living in Texas: Confetti Eggs.

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We had a face-melting ham dinner as well. A good day for celebrating the resurrection! Huzzah!

Pinball Festival of Grapevine

First off, I just have to mention how odd my kid can be. He found it necessary to don all his cowboy gear this morning, and this is what leapt out of his room at me first thing:

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Now, on to the rest of the day…

I guess there’s still the occasional benefit to getting the newspaper. Albeit a dinosaur propaganda rag, whichever it is you read, you still get to occasionally catch some event you would otherwise not have even heard of. In this case, Sarah and I noticed a ‘pinball’ festival being held in Grapevine this weekend. We said, ‘huh’. And the next morning, we went. Now I have to say, I’ve always been a fan of video games, especially when there’s some ‘retro’ involved. In fact, one of my goals for the next few years is to procure a dream home arcade. That being said, I was honestly surprised at how much fun the wife and boy had as well. It was at a hotel convention center, and ALL the games were free. In spite of the crowds, it was surprisingly easy to get on pretty much any machine and try it out. I also didn’t realize how far back pinball machines go. The grandfathers of video games, as it were. Some of those machines were clearly from the 60′s, possibly the 50′s, and kept score with rotary numbers.

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Many others were the tackiest of the 70′s. featuring mustached, feathered-haired heros with their custom vans.

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And some cheesy 80′s sci-fi themes.

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I found the world’s biggest pinball machine to be the most amusing. Henry’s arm span couldn’t yet reach the buttons on each side, and it used a pool cue ball for a pinball, with massive wood flippers.

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And, of course, there were all varieties of newer machines, and some regular video games to amuse us all…

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There was a drawing to win your own pinball machine. Sarah was wondering where we’d put such a thing in our little rental home. I was like.. “we’ll think of something”. And we entered. But not surprisingly, we didn’t win. Unfortunately, I think Henry is still learning the concept of ‘more losers in a drawing/sweepstakes than winners’. It took some cheering up to make him forget we didn’t win our own ‘Terminator’ pinball machine. But all-in-all, I was extra-ordinarily pleased to have caught a showcase of classic gaming machines from all decades. And It seems the family had almost as much fun as I did!

Irish Festival

The 2012 Irish festival was great, and fun as ever. Of course, now that I have a growing boy, the meaning of ‘Irish Festival’ is changing somewhat. What used to be food, beer, and music is now evolving into a whole lot more of the rides/carnival section. I didn’t even know they had that many carnival-style rides and junk at the Irish festival.

Sarah and I had to make deals with the boy throughout the day. “If we can check out this merchandise building for a few minutes, we’ll then go do a ride you want”, etc. Henry’s favorite was the one where kids (and a few grown-ups) get in a big, air-filled plastic ball, and try to walk/roll it on water. I was surprised at how brave he was with the bunjie-up-in-the-air thing. But he had done that once before at an oktoberfest. I thought it was pretty cool that they had the ‘Back to the Future’ time Delorean there. I began to wonder why I always saw these at Irish festivals. Turns out, it was an Irish-made vehicle. I had no idea!

We also purchased Henry a pretty cool toy. A wood mobile catapult (shoots ping pong balls) on wheels. It was a great display by some wood-toy maker (by the Delorean). Hand made varieties of catapults, as well as firetrucks, ambulances, Noah’s Arks, etc. Lots of neat moving parts and all. Henry and I have been using the catapult to destroy castles we build out of his wood blocks ever since.

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It was great fun fitting it all in, and we topped it off with some Seamus Stout at the end of the day. Henry was pretty pooped by then. I ran to purchase a jersey as a last-second decision when they were packing up. I’m really glad I did.  It was a generic, no-actual-team jersey that advertised ‘Jameson’ (my favorite adult beverage), and it looks surprisingly good on me. I think I need to wear more of these things. (The one in the pic is actually a County Mayo jersey I bought in Ireland over 15 years ago in Ireland. Yep, I still bust it out now and then)

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Christmas 2011

Earlier in December, we took Henry to see the man in red at Neiman Marcus downtown. They have a pretty fancy setup. Henry gets to crawl through a gauntlet of tubes before we go wait in line. He told Santa he wanted drums. That’s all he’s been asking for. He’s a weird boy.

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Christmas morning, my evil wife hung a sheet in the hall to keep the kid from peeking early. This is him eagerly waiting for his mom and dad to get themselves a cup of coffee before we let him through the curtain.

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Oh look at that! Santa remembered his drums. Joy!

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But seriously Sarah and I don’t mind the sound of him rocking out on his drums. He really loves them and practices often. He’s since started lessons with “Uncle Damon” and isn’t half bad!

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My favorite time of the year

The temperature is finally getting tolerable. Leaves are changing and falling. I’ve been working my butt off with little sleep for the last couple weeks, but that’s okay. Then I’ll have a day with Henry and we’ll try to do as much as we can on a nice day. On Saturday, I took him to a little carnival that Stonewall Jackson elementary was putting on. We rocked the bounce-house for a long time and ate burgers. A couple Saturdays ago, we did the same type of thing at St. Thomas Elementary. I have to say I like the Catholic schools far better than public.. because they serve beer.

Yesterday (Sunday) Sarah and I made our annual trip to farmer’s market to score pumpkins and some food. We bought meat for the first time there. The farmer showed a picture of his prize bull who is as tall as me at the shoulders. His name is Fluffy. The bull, not the farmer. As every year, it was a great time and the weather was nice. Henry and I were especially pleased because we found an awesome ice cream place there. I think the females of the world have decided once again to stop using an age-old American word for something, in exchange for a fancy foreign word for the same thing, in the name of being more urban and fancy. I believe ice cream is now called ‘gelatino’ or something. Henry and I just like to eat it.

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After the market, Sarah and Henry decided to have a silly string fight with an extra can I picked up from the Stonewall Jackson carnival the day before.

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It might look like Henry is crying.. he’s really not. He thought that was pretty fun!

Well I’m trying to convince my family to send my bro down on a plane to hang out for Halloween because we had such a good time last year. Not sure if I convinced them yet. Flights have become ridiculously expensive lately so I won’t be surprised if I don’t see him. We’re trying to save up to fly to Utah for Christmas, but now that we have to pay for Henry too, it’s pretty painful. Oh well.

I’ll just say I dig the fall and the holidays. After farmer’s market Sarah and I scored a babysitter and were able to go out and hit an art show that Leann entered in. It was a ‘day of the dead’ theme so everything had a creepy hispanic death theme going on. It was pretty cool. Leann was one of the few to sell her work, some tiled skulls. They were neat. Sarah and I then went and hit a Sushi place. I did the whole ‘drink Saki from a box’ thing and everything. I never understood sushi and how everybody who liked it spoke like they were in a club. Finally we went out for some a month ago and I ordered stuff other than the plain ol’ California rolls. Now I understand why it’s spoken of as if it were a drug. Good stuff! So that felt like a pretty uptown evening to do an art show and then sushi. I feel like I should have my nose in the air. Good day y’all!

Long Summer

It’s been a scorcher! I think the Dallas heat is finally thinking about decreasing just a little… at least some time in the next month or two.
It’s pretty hard to find motivation to write in a blog anymore when there’s such a thing as facebook. Not even sure if anyone ever looks at this. Hello?.. Hello?… Echo…echo….
Oh well. Facebook is evil, and this is in effect a diary of mine, so I’ll keep putting stuff up here instead. It’s been so long, I’m trying to remember what’s transpired.

My wife and I celebrated out 10 year anniversary. I can’t believe it’s been that long. I know that’s what the husband is ‘supposed to say’, but it really has flown. Seems like I married her and moved to Texas just a few months ago. But no… ten years! No regrets though! It’s been a pretty awesome ten years. Sarah and I were able to break away for an over-nighter to celebrate. We booked a room at a hotel, but when we got there, we straight up were not impressed. Here is one difference between Matt and Sarah ten years ago, and Matt and Sarah now: Ten years ago we would not have just called another hotel and rebooked that night while we were in our ‘disappointing’ hotel room. Sarah even nicely checked out and when asked if there was a problem, just nicely told her the truth. We even got our money back.

So we scored a room at a nicer hotel and splurged on some fancy food. One might expect a ‘sexy time’ all-nighter, but the bed was so comfy… we were so free of the kid… of distractions… noises… that .. well…. it was the best night of sleep we’ve both had in about 3 years, I’ll put it that way.

In other news, our landlords found some water damage from an upstairs leak in the walls, so we had our kitchen redone. Some guys named Dudley and Jesse were pretty much living here for a month or so tearing up our place. It’s done now and looks great. I’ll actually kind of miss Dudley. We had some moments of pleasant chit-chat, albeit awkward. Awkward because he would knock on the trap door in the closet floor, from the other side, and I’d open up and let him in. And that sort of bizarre interaction was pretty much the daily norm for awhile. Henry probably thought he was the man who lives under the house.

Henry is just about potty trained too. Sarah had the genius idea of buying little cheap toys and filling up a nice wooden box we have ‘treasure chest’ style. When he pees, he gets a little plastic firefighter or a starburst. When he does #2, he gets a hotwheels car (which he loves and has a giant collection of). So this motivated him to get potty trained pretty quick. He’s in big-boy underwear now. We still use a pull-up for nighttime still, however. But our kid is growing up so fast. Cliché, but the truth of it burns brighter with each passing year.

For awhile this summer I was getting pretty spooked about the economy and state of world affairs, realizing just how fragile and fine-tuned our infrastructure and economic system is. So I got my preparedness on. I geared up a bug-out bag for the family, water filter, and some storable food. I figure that if I’m totally crazy, it’s still good general practice to have a bit o’ the family preparedness.
I also got my ham radio license, finally. I’ve been flirting with the idea and encouraged by my dad since I was like 14. I finally got a tech license. I shelled out for a nice portable receiver, but ran out of money before scoring an antenna or power supply. So it still sits idle. I’m encouraged, however, and have been studying for the general exam, though I’ve found it to have ten times the technical stuff crammed in the exam.

I’ve been pretty tired of late, but for good reasons. I’ve been pretty busy as a freelance editor, assistant, tape op, and more often than not, working at night. But I gotta chase the kiddo all morning, so I don’t get many full nights of sleep lately, but I can’t complain. So between working and hanging out with Henry, I have no social life.. no movie life… no ‘cool’ life whatsoever… and I’ve never loved it more.

Henry’s 3rd B-day at the Farm

Amanda took us to her mom’s (Vikki’s) farm again for Henry to have an extra-awesome day. We all had an extra-awesome day. We had to take pictures of the giant rooster we found at the truck stop. (Mainly because of the fun jokes that we can make when we call it something other than ‘rooster’.)

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Amanda spoiled him with a new bubble machine.

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Weldon took him on another tractor ride. Henry seems to be scowling, but he loved it. He puts on his ‘serious business’ face whenever he gets to drive tractors, ride trains, or check out fire trucks in real-life. They chased a cow in the tractor.

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Vikki made us some killer fried chicken, then we had birthday cake that Sarah made. I drew a tractor on it with felt-tip-like pens that are made for cakes. Sarah made his favorite, ‘red’ cake. (Apparently that makes Henry even more of a Southerner.)

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We flew kites. I brought a pricey ‘stunt’ kite that I bought more than 3 years ago, and never had a chance to fly. I tried to take it out once at Stu’s, but it was about 110 degrees at the time and I only lasted about ten minutes before heat-stroking out and having to pack up. It was awesome to fly. Vikki loved it. I think she wants to get one. I also flew my tie-fighter kite, which was more of a cool-looking decorative novelty kite, but wasn’t that hot at flying. Amanda brought a little pterodactyl kite too. At first we messed around with the tie-fighter and pterodactyl kites for a few minutes. Henry seemed to be having a good time. Then I got out my pimp kite. Compared to the others, it sounded like it had a motor on it. And it would do looping nose dives at the speed of sound that swooped by Sarah’s ear, sending her screaming and flailing. It subsequently made Henry a little terrified of the whole kite thing for awhile.

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But eventually Henry warmed up to it again when I turned him on to flying the pterodactyl kite while Vikki flew mine. Henry was an AWESOME kite-flyer, by the way. He kept at it for a very long time. Flying it all by himself!

It was a great time, and now that I’ve experienced my awesome kite, I’m going to want to take it out more. Which might not be a good thing, since there isn’t many great places to do that here.

Amanda was very pleased because Josh was allowed to call her for an hour. He’s in Air Force basic training. Amanda hadn’t heard from him for 2 weeks, so she was happy.

We said goodbye and headed home. We then stopped at a dairy farm that sells raw milk. Amanda turned us on to the creamy awesomeness that is raw milk. Makes all store milk taste like chalk water. Henry found a cat to chase, and looked at a calf.

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Needless to say, Henry was pretty pooped when he got home. Well we all were. Great day.

A Good Saturday

Today while Sarah was at work, Henry and I had a great day. I took him to Home Depot in the morning. This is a once-a-month thing where parents can take their kid to build a little knick-knack. It helps them learn handy-man stuff I guess. But it’s fun and Henry loves it. This is our 3rd time. This build was a little flower pot holder. The last 2 months was a rain-measuring device, and a butterfly house.

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Then Hank and I went to the gym, also a several-time-a-week tradition. After his nap, we hit the art store so dad could score some needed art supplies. I then remembered it was free comic day. I took him along not realizing what a star he’d be. Soon as we step up on the curb, all the hot super-ladies go ‘ooooh he’s soooo cute!’ They ga-ga’d over him for awhile. He was being extra suave because he actually gave Batwoman a big hug. We scored a bunch of free comics, a sweet ‘Flash’ graphic novel at 10% off, a balloon, a sucker, and a photo op with the babes, all in about ten minutes.

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I’m pretty sure this was a good day for Henry. (And his dad!)