Thursday, December 28, 2006

the house was quiet...

while Coan slept, dreaming of remote control Supermen and Speed McQueen cars. Julia was out with Mommy and Antamanna. The Christmas season came to a calm period. I gave the new treadmill a run and have been enjoying the silence with a glass of wine.

Shhhhh! I hear something! Nevermind, it's just my fingers typing away. I must stop now. More to come...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Santa checked his list.

We are leaving in the morning to go to my parents house (the house I grew up in) for Christmas. Coan is at the age where he understands what Santa Claus is and wrote (dictated) him a letter in detail about the things he wants. He wants a "Superman toy with a remote control that makes him fly", and a "Speed McQueen movie", and a "Diego Toy". No problem. Santa gave us the inside scoop (internet) on finding the Superman toy.

Julia is too young to understand about Santa and just goes with the flow. She smiles at everything that is said to her. You could say, "That's a really big green booger in your nose!" and she would smile...until you break out a tissue to wrangle it off of her face. She could care less what Santa brings her as long as she can smile at everybody without having to fight of the Kleenex Patrol.

My niece (who shares the same birthday as Julia) will be there and will be so excited that Julia is now walking. And talking. And be the cutest, sweetest thing since...well, nothing really. She's in a class of her own.

It will be a fun gathering of family with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, great grandparents, mommies and daddies, sons and daughters, and a sweet pup named Lucy.

When we come home on Christmas Day, we will be greeted by more grandparents and Antamanna to enjoy more time with family. The kids should be good and worn out by the time New Year's Day rolls around!

Thank God for family.

Monday, December 18, 2006

we went to the Trail of Lights...

at Zilker Park. Nothing says Merry Christmas more than a 30 minute one mile traffic jam. We even got squeezed out of our spot in line by a jackass in a huge suburban. We were being nice and let a truck cut in and the guy behind him decided it was his turn, too. Everyone knows it's one car at a time. Ho Ho Ho, you Scrooge! I hope the Grinch steals all of your presents. The funny thing is he was 4 inches away from an insurance claim on our front fender so he could be one car ahead of us. It's coal in your stocking, buddy.

Well, enough of the holiday gripes, how about some holiday cheer! The Trail of Lights is an Austin tradition since 1965. Most of the displays are the same every year. You have the usual suspects like the Peanuts gang, Mickey Mouse, the Grinch, Santa and the reindeer, etc., etc., etc. The header of this blog was created with photos I took several years ago at the TOL. There are way over a million lights and I'm sure the City of Austin electric company employees are smiling all the way to the bank with their Christmas bonus checks. So here are a few photos of the magical wonderland...

This is the huge lighted tree that is attached to a moonlight tower. The tradition here is to spin around under the tree looking up. It looks like the following sequence of photos...

Coan finally got into after seeing his friend Aidan spin around. We loaded up with giant bags of kettle corn and headed over to the...

And that's pretty much it. There are about 20 more scenes of characters but you get the idea. Now you can skip the traffic and the bah humbuggers in line to get in.

Monday, December 11, 2006

another semester was over...

for Stephanie! Her last class for grad school this year was tonight. She had to turn in a paper and was free to go! We all went with her to see the Christmas lights on the St. Edward's campus. This is the entrance to the main building...

Here is a close up of that beautiful door...

The front lawn of the main building is all lit up with thousands of lights...

At full zoom from that front lawn (about 3 miles), is the view of downtown Austin. Coan refers to it as "that place with the big buildings".

Sunday, December 10, 2006

we decorated for Christmas.

We got all of the stuff from the garage last week to transform the house into a winter wonderland. Out came all of the lights, Santas, stockings, Advent calendar, garland, wreath, coffee mugs, dishes, Santa cheese spreader knives, nativity scene, more lights, candles, bows, the winter village, snowmen, ornaments, and the tree. We made eggnog and cooked pizza. Julia crashed out and didn't make it for the hanging of the ornaments but Coan stayed up until ten helping.

After a while the eggnog kicked in and the tree started to look like this...

Not really, I'm just kidding you. It looked more like this...

It took a few days but we finally got all of the decorations up. For one day Stephanie was nice enough to let me have a Dallas Cowboys Christmas tree...

All of the Christmas specials have been coming on television recently and it's the first year that Coan has enjoyed watching them (over and over and over again). He asked Santa Claus for a remote control Superman that flies around. We were stunned when we actually found one. I think he was making it up but they really do exist.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

my well ran dry...

of articles about at-home dad stuff. Quirkee decided to let me write about sports along with my other column. This is good because sometimes life around here seems like the movie Groundhog Day. Don't worry, I'm sure I'll have something else to write about real soon.

The new sports category is under the commentary section and is titled Sports Junkie. Some of you may have read this on the new blog. The Quirkee world has yet to discover it so I thought I'd share. Sharing is caring...

Quirkee logo

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

my posts...

were absent for a while. I have been working on a new blog and we have been getting our house ready for Christmas. I have also been working on the header for this blog. Want a great way to kill some time? Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop should do it. Brew a fresh pot of coffee, though.

Coan had a great time putting ornaments on the tree tonight. Julia follows him around everywhere! She's walking now. I'll post some photos later. Off to bed.......

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Hey! It's Thursday! Want to read about what the whole gang did for Friends' Thanksgiving this year?

Well, you should read it then...

Quirkee logo

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

we traveled to Tyler...

for Thanksgiving. Good times! Thursday we watched the Cowboys whoop up on the Bucs and had our own little game in cousin Tim & Jennifer's front yard. Coan was running and tackling the bigger kids...

It was a free for all and the penalties starting flying...

On Friday, Crawdaddy and I snuck in a round of golf...umm, I mean went to the doctor. I had a fever of 108 and Crawdaddy had a fever of 107. The doctor prescribed a couple of doses of Jim Beamadryl and some relaxation time at the heated hotel pool.

Saturday was cousin Jennifer's baby shower so the guys hit the Putt Putt Golf & Games...

I think this was one of Crawdaddy's hole-in-ones...

The high school kid working there tried to give Coan a giant plastic putter because he was under five years old. I explained that he was a professional and had never played with one of those before. He gave him the real putter and said, "Okay, today he can be five."

Coan was excited about this hole and like a good three-year-old he couldn't read that sign...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

there was a turkey day rhyme.

Today is a day when most people travel to spend time with their families, eat lots of food, drink lots of beer or wine, watch football, eat more food, drink more, pass out for a little nap, then wake up and start all over again. Thanksgiving is a day when carnivores eat a big fat juicy bird, vegetarians eat a tofurkey, and picky eater children get peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. That was me when I was a kid. Here is a little poem for you to share with your family today. Don't worry, it's okay to read this one out loud in front of the kids.

Turkey, Tofurkey, and PB&J

The time of year has come again
To be thankful for the things in our lives
Our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers
Our husbands and our wives

Let’s not forget about the little things
We are thankful for on this day
Like the Dallas Cowboys playing this year
A losing team from Tampa Bay

While sitting around catching up with the family
Talk about life at your child’s preschool
But remember the times that were really funny
Not the times when they broke the golden rule

When your plate is clean and you go back for seconds
Don’t worry about the extra pounds
At this point thirds will be looking real good
Yep, that’s your stomach making those sounds

Take a break and relax on the couch
Your grandpa will already be there
Half asleep but nobody knows how
With all the kids running and screaming in here

If the game is a blowout; your favorite team winning
Go outside for a game of catch
You’ll find your uncles and cousins tossing the football
Getting ready for this year’s rematch

When your meal finally settles and you go back in
Looking for grandma’s chocolate cake
Think about eating the pie instead
Hmmm…maybe later if you are still awake

Another day of thanks will come to an end
As your aunt packs up food from the buffet
Some of the best leftovers to enjoy again later
A little bit of turkey…tofurkey…and PB&J.

Here is a Thanksgiving Day poem from a class at in Waco, TX. My Aunt Nancy opened a charter school in the fall of 1998 and they have been adding grades every year. This poem was from a class in the fall of 2001.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I had too much...

free time, I guess. Apparently I don't think working on eBay, taking care of the kids, writing a blog and a column for, and watching all of the TV shows recorded on our DVR keeps me busy enough... so I've created a new blog. This one is called "Your Photo Project" and it is a blog for any and all novice to prosumer photographers to submit a photo related to the current month's theme. The theme until the end of the year will be Industrial and Architectural Photos. Submit one of your own or pass this link along to any photography lover you know. The more the better!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

a Quirkee Thursday video...

made it's way onto this blog. If you read yesterday's post before this one it will make more sense. Coan loves this song by the Barenaked Ladies. His favorite part is at the end when they sing about buying a monkey. I found this video on YouTube and it was created by Fluff & Such Puppet Productions.

It's hard to find something more Quirkee than puppet videos. Speaking of Quirkee, check out today's new edition where I write...

"When I started a blog earlier this year it had been at least 8 years since I had written anything and it was writing assignments in English class at the local community college. I have always enjoyed writing so I decided to pick it up again with a blog about my life as a stay-at-home dad and the lives of my kids for them to read someday. A couple of months later my friend for many years asked if I would write a column for Quirkee about the same thing. Naturally I jumped on the chance and have enjoyed every minute."

Can't wait to read more? I know you have waited a whole week so I won't stop you from clicking on the link below.


Just kidding. Go ahead...

Quirkee logo

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I found the coolest thing...

at Goodwill. Thrift stores used to be the place where I found most of the merchandise I sold on eBay. Now that I purchase the majority of my inventory from wholesalers or liquidators, I don't stop at thrift stores but maybe a couple of times a week. I used to hit around 10 different shops about 5-6 days a week while the Little Mister was at school. Now I just casually check a few out when Baby Girl and I are out running errands. Sometimes I find stuff to sell on eBay and sometimes I find things that I can't live this sweet brand new lamp for $7.99...

I love thrift stores. One man's trash is definitely this man's treasure. You wish you had one, don't you? The little golf ball is the on/off knob! Coan wishes he could have it in his room instead of me keeping it on my desk. Too bad, my boy. You got the soccer ball lamp last year from Goodwill. It's Daddy's turn! I'll pass it down to you someday as it is now a family this awesome golfing monkey Nana painted for Papa many years ago...

that has been passed on (finally!) to us. I've always wanted a monkey.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

life deals you a hand...

and you just have to play it. There are many choices you make during the course of life and you look back on them hoping you made the right ones. I have often looked back and wished that I had made different ones, like finishing college before I got married, or not turning left in front of that car going straight 6 weeks after I got my drivers license. My little 1982 Datsun 200SX took a beating on that decision.

I know that I made the right decision when I decided to marry the woman I love and start a family. Having kids has been a wonderful experience and I wouldn't trade it for the world. You know you have made a good choice in life when you don't mind...

having to teach someone how to NOT pee on the back of a toilet and aim for the water. Over and over again. And you don't care if they miss as long as they try.

Life is good.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

you know the drill...

It's Quirkee Thursday! No quirky photo today, but I'll tell you a quirky story instead.

This week has been full of surprises from our little devil, I mean angel son. We got a call on Monday that he was missing recess on the playground. Apparently at the snack table one of the other kids turned to another and said "I'm going to kill you." So Coan turned to one of the other kids and repeated "I'm going to kill you, too!" That's just great. They are three and four years old! He doesn't even know what that means! But, I guess in this day and age you have to set them straight early on. This is one of those instances when Stephanie says to me, "That's your child."

Another "your child" situation happened this morning when, at the snack table of course, Coan turned to the kid next to him and grabbed his Teddy Graham. He knows not to take food from other people's plates and swiping a Teddy Graham is a major no-no. So, the kid turned and bit his finger. OUCH! I told you Teddy Graham's are special and this kid was out to prove it. There was no blood but Coan cried a little bit. I guess he won't be wahooing food from other kids' plates anymore. I should have told him the crayon story from my days in kindergarten.

Stephanie claims these little troublemaker happenings with Coan only prove that he is my son. I sure hope so. That means they didn't accidentally mix up my sperm in the lab.

Now go on and get you some...

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I added an audio/video/photo player...

to the blog. The only thing on there right now is audio of Julia laughing. Somehow when I uploaded it the speed of the file was changed so she sounds like a squirrel. When I figure out how to fix the problem you will be able to hear it in real time. Until then, enjoy the sounds of Baby Girl the Squirrel!

(p.s. click the music note on the player)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I didn't feel very well...

which is why there is not a Quirkee Thursday post.

Last weekend the whole family started to feel bad. Then Crawdaddy and Mitzi came for her birthday and Halloween festivities and we got them sick. At first I thought it was just allergies, but the clogged sinuses, cough and fever showed up. I spent most of the day yesterday doing nothing but lying on the couch, floor, bed, or wherever I could rest my head and still see the kids. Neither one of my little devils angels would take a nap. Most of the afternoon was full of time outs and me groaning for some backup, but Steph was at work in an all day meeting and team Crawdaddy/Mitzi left at 7:45 AM. At one point I thought I might cry, then realized that if I did that AND watched General Hospital at the same time I would have to do some serious self-evaluation of my mental health.

When I'm sick I'm pretty worthless around the house. I think Coan picked up on that. I eventually threw in the towel on the whole time out situation then retired to the couch and watched him throw baby toys at his sister. They were soft toys and she was laughing, so I let it go. He dumped out the big toy bucket on the kitchen floor and she played in a pile of toys for about an hour. During that time, about 4 of the toys started playing sounds and music at the same time. It sounded like a toy orchestra warming up. It was torture, but I couldn't talk myself into rolling off the couch to go and turn them off. I was saving that energy for any crisis that may occur before Stephanie came home.

I did manage to create a new header for the blog. The leaf and turkey is art Coan made last year at school. He brings home tons of art from school and they sure do make good headers. Pretty soon Julia will be creating her own artful treasures!

Here's that fun pile of toys I was talking about...

Friday, October 27, 2006

a storybook made me laugh.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article for Quirkee about the various toys around the house and the songs and sounds they play. Last year Nana and Papa gave Coan a LeapPad storybook. It's a great interactive book made by LeapFrog with music, words, and sounds that play when you touch different parts of the story pages. It has three different levels of play depending on how old the child is. This book disappeared for a while (not on purpose, though!) until yesterday when we cleaned out the toy closet and came across it again. Last night we were playing with it and I put it on the 3 year-old level for Coan. I don't remember hearing this part before but it made us laugh! Coan had to hear it again and again...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I was short on time...

so I'm skipping the weekly Quirkee Thursday's photo. Here is a portion of my article from today's edition...

"Thank goodness somebody is looking out for our children. An elementary school in Attleboro, Massachusetts, made national news last week when they banned tag, touch football, and other chase games from the playground. They don’t want little Johnny getting hurt and his parents suing the school."

I know you are intrigued and can't wait to read the rest. Click on the Quirkee logo below and you won't have to wait any longer...

Quirkee logo

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

we went to the pumpkin patch...

with Coan's class from school.


He got a free little pumpkin from the patch in the photo above, then we moved on to the BIG ones!



Even Julia got in on the action!


Then they stopped and smiled for a photo...


We went home with the "biggest pumpkin I ever saw", said Coan.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

you guessed it!

It's Quirkee Thursday! The one day during your whole long and boring week when you can sit back in your desk chair, put on some tunes, and accidentally burn yourself with your coffee because you laughed so hard at today's edition of

Quirkee logo

“Here you go sweetie. Can she eat this?” she asked me.

This was before she started eating solid foods and in the back of my mind I heard my wife saying to me, “No, James. She’s too young to have all that sugar.”

So I replied, “Well, she hasn’t had a cookie yet because she’s only 6 months old and only has a couple of teeth. I’m not sure if she can chew it up.”

“Oh, okay.” said the nice lady in a disappointing tone. “Well you can eat it then.”

“You bet I can!” I said. “Thank you!”

You will just have to click here to read the rest of the story. But before you do that, I want to leave you with the weekly quirky photo. During last Saturday's stomping of the Baylor Bears by our Texas Longhorns, I had to pause the TV and get my camera. I'll bet Coach Brown was wishing he wasn't standing downwind from the guy in the gray slacks...

"Did he just fart again?"

That is one big dude.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

while we were at Lowe's...

buying the new vent to replace the one torn up by a possum, we got new swings for the tree outside. The fiberglass ropes were starting to shed on the old one. Coan was getting too big for it anyway so we got him a new big kid swing and Julia a new custom cruiser car swing. As you can tell, she's really not that excited about it...




We made a trip to the corner Ace Hardware to get hooks for Coan's swing because it did not come with any. While we were there checking out other stuff like chainsaws, weed eaters, sprinklers, and bicycle horns, we came across a mini LED camouflage flashlight on sale. It even came with a carrying case! He loved it so much that he took it to bed that night...


Sunday, October 15, 2006

a possum called our attic home.

Have you ever had a possum in your attic? They kind of creep you out when they walk across the ceiling with their claws scratching and digging in the insulation. Not a good roommate to have. Since they are nocturnal animals, this scratching and digging ocurred above the bed at around 4:00-5:30 am. The little creature got into the attic by ripping open a vent in the eave of the roof. Here is what the new vent looks like...

This is what the old vent looked like after a crazy possum wanted to make a nest in our attic insulation...

We have not heard the possum milling around in our attic since the first two nights last week. Our neighbor, Mr. Scott, said he was probably just using it as a hotel and moved on. The lack of new possum poop on the roof suggests that he is right. Nevertheless, he let us borrow his trap that he used to catch one in his garage earlier this year. It is a non-lethal trap, but I decided to use it anyway. I was hoping to climb up on the roof one morning and find a half dead possum gasping for air in a large mousetrap type mechanism, but I guess the humane way to rid your house of unwanted visitors is the way to go. Besides, Coan likes to look on the roof, too, and see if we caught that little sucker. I would hate to scar him for life by showing him a half dead, puffy headed, bug eyed varmint before breakfast.

After a week of having the trap on the roof by the vent opening, no possum was ever caught. Apparently he didn't care much for cat food or peanut butter sandwiches and never walked into the trap. Maybe he saw one of his brothers get nabbed in one and knew better. Since we did not hear him anymore I decided to take down the trap and replace the vent. I only used a couple of nails on it in case he was still in the attic and wanted to get out. I didn't want the smell of dead possum coming from my roof in the event that I happened to trap him in the attic.

Yesterday I went out to get the paper from the yard and the vent was still intact. Today when I went to get the paper it was pulled (or pushed?) open a little bit. I'm not sure if he was still in there and got out, tried to get back in and gave up, or if Crunchy the Squirrel and his buddy squirrel that he plays chase with were stashing acorns in our attic. I guess you will just have to stay tuned to find out...

Friday, October 13, 2006

I missed the Quirkee Thursday post!

I'm a day late with this one. Most of you probably know the routine by now and when Thursday rolls around you automatically go to to read the new articles. Here's a teaser of what I wrote...

"So, Terrell Owens is preaching the word of sharing in a children’s book. That is just as crazy as if Paris Hilton wrote a book titled How To Grill The Perfect Meal. I don’t think she even knows what a meal is, much less a grill! She might know how to use a microwave, but do you really need to nuke your crackers and TrimSpa? ... "

This quirky fella says, "Click here to read the whole enchilada!"

Friday, October 06, 2006

there was a quote to share.

Coan was running and sliding across the floor, pushing his talking dump truck that screams "Let's get another load!" I finally turned to him and said, "Stop! You're driving me crazy!" He paused for a second, looked at me and said...

"That's because I'm a craaazy driver!"

Good one, my boy.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

my calendar said...

it was Thursday again! Yipeeeee!

“Hello lion in the African sun. Tickling your mane is really fun!”

Cute, huh? That’s one of the songs I hear daily coming from the many toys around the house. This particular line is from a Leap Frog soft rolling animal block that sings a different line on each side. Sometimes I think I’m going to go toy nutty and take the batteries out of everything in the house. That would be pretty mean, though, as the kids really enjoy this stuff. Instead of unplugging and silencing their little world from these songs and sounds, I’ve decided to make up my own words to keep me sane.

“Hello lion in the African sun. When my baby outgrows you, I’m going to smash you with a hammer!”


Read the rest of the article here at!

Here is another quirky photo for your Quirkee Thursday! This silver cowboy was at The Old Pecan Street Festival in downtown Austin last weekend handing out beads for donations. Strange fellow.

Silver Cowboy

He was conveniently standing by the ATM in case you ran out of money by following this girl around for too long...

Follow The Beer Rollergirl

Monday, October 02, 2006

an email came my way...

from Aaron Bundschuh, a best friend of mine since high school. Some of my family and friends reading this know Aaron. He is running in the LIVESTRONG Challenge here in Austin. We are helping Aaron by making a donation and supporting his challenge. A few of our own family members have died of cancer, or currently have cancer and are fighting every day to keep it under control to stay alive. Here is Aaron's email...


Last month I got a wake-up call that couldn’t be ignored. My cousin, Cody Gonya, had his life turned upside-down when he was diagnosed with cancer. Cody has just begun an aggressive chemotherapy program and is in the fight of his life. And he's only 16.

It’s such a helpless feeling, watching a member of your family battle this disease, especially when you are separated by such a distance as we are. So, I decided to take action. I will be participating in the LIVESTRONG Challenge in Austin this October, running a 5K and raising money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. While I am only required to raise $50, my personal goal is $2,000.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation was founded to provide practical information and tools for people living with cancer. Their mission is to inspire and empower people affected by cancer through advocacy, public health and research programs.

I’m doing this because one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. I’m doing this for my cousin, who has become one of those three. I’m doing this because I’m grateful to have two healthy children and I don’t want to take that for granted. Mostly, though, I’m doing this because I can.

Please support me by making a donation to this worthy cause. You can donate online at
my Livestrong Challenge page. Anything you can give will be greatly appreciated. Please forward this to all of your friends and family members.

Thank you for your friendship and support.

With love,

If you are interested in donating to help Aaron reach his personal goal of $2,000, please click on this link: Aaron Bundschuh's Livestrong Challenge page. THERE IS NO MINIMUM DONATION AMOUNT SO EVEN $5.00 WILL HELP! You can pay with a debit or credit card at the site or print out a form to mail a payment.

Below is more info about what the LAF does.

From the Lance Armstrong Foundation LIVESTRONG Challenge website...

"The LIVESTRONG Challenge is the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s (LAF) signature fundraising event. This annual series of events takes place in cities across the country, enabling anyone to support the LAF’s mission to inspire and empower people affected by cancer.

What We Do:

Advocacy: We are unifying people affected by cancer to make survivorship a health priority.

We’re your champion on Capitol Hill.
We’re your supporter with the healthcare system.
We’re your sponsor in the research labs.

Public Health: We are creating a network of resources for cancer survivors, their family and friends and healthcare providers.

We help you deal with long-term physical and psychological challenges.
We provide the resources you need to get on with your life.

Research: We recognize that research plays a vital role in eliminating suffering caused by cancer.

We connect survivors to clinical trials that may ultimately lead to new therapies and treatments.
We fund innovative research that may not qualify for traditional funding."

Go to for even more information.

Thank you for reading this and good luck Aaron!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I was feelin' Quirkee!

I managed to find some time this week to write an article at I'm sure you all will enjoy this one, especially if you will be reading it at your office.

I like to find a quirky photo for Quirkee Thursdays. I took this one a few years ago...