Instant Yard

I took half a day off work today to finish a couple of projects around the house.

Monica and I bought a new stove over the weekend, and it was delivered today. I wanted to make sure that someone was home when they delivered it, which was my original reason for taking the half day.

Also over the weekend, I put fill dirt down in our side yard, with the intent of getting sod to cover it so our yard wouldn’t keep washing away when it rained. This is phase two of the larger landscaping project (phase one was the gutters). Since I had a couple of hours before the stove would be delivered, I decided to go get sod to put down in the side yard.

I only thought briefly about how much a full pallet of sod might weigh, and figured it couldn’t be much more than the dirt I had carried in. I couldn’t have been more wrong.


I worked most of the afternoon and ended up dirty and sweaty. But it was the perfect day to do it because it wasn’t too hot outside.

The HGTV before shot…

Before 1

…and after.

After 1

From the other side, before…

Before 2

…and after.

After 2

Not bad for a day’s work.

Month Ten

Dear Rachel,

Today you turn 10 months old. Just two more months and you’ll have been with us for a year!

Word to your mother

Things are moving very quickly now. Actually, you’re moving very quickly now. Once you started crawling, you picked up speed fast. NOw, we turn around and you’re in another room, or in the dog’s food bowl, or playing with the garbage can. You get into all kinds of stuff you aren’t supposed to, and most of the time you listen when we tell you “not for Rachel,” but sometimes, you try our last nerve.

Rachel in the bluebonnets-2

Your new thing now is standing up. You stand up in your bed. You crawl to the window sill and stand up, you grab the open dishwasher door and stand up, you pull yourself up on the footstool, which promptly slides out from under you. I’m sure you’re going to have lots of bumps and bruises in the coming months as you learn to stand and walk better. It has been so cool, though, to see you go from pulling yourself up on wobbly legs in your bed to standing with confidence (while holding onto something) in the past few weeks.

Watching Daddy Work

One of the other things you’ve started doing this month is “Sooo Big!” You love doing it and seeing if we’ll respond appropriately. But I can’t get you to sign “more” for more food. You are quite the independent one, I tell you.

Ta Daaaa

There has been an awful lot of The Crying Game this past month, except with you, it’s more like the Screaming Like Someone Is PUlling My Fingernails Out Game. We used to be able to tell your different cries, like when you were hungry, when you were hurt, when you were mad. They’re all blending into the same cry now, which is an ear-piercing scream. I now know why parents lose their hearing.


The crying started in earnest when we got back from Illinois. You did an amazing job on the trip, considering how long you were in your car seat, but when we got home, you decided that you didn’t like going to bed anymore. Your mother and I fussed and worried for a week, then decided that we were just going to let you cry. Over the course of a week, you gradually got back into your old pattern of going to bed when we put you down and not fussing. It was a hard week, but I’m glad we did it.

Mother and daughter

When we went to Illinois, Grandma and Grandpa introduced you to swings. You love it, and unfortunately, we haven’t had a chance to take you to swing since we’ve been back. We need to go to the park soon!


You got to see your Great Grandma Jean for just the second time in your life, and you gave her to love she deserved for being such a wonderful Great Grandma. I wish you could Grandma Connie, Grandpa Rick, and Grandma Jean more often. I know they love you, and miss you so much.

Grandma Bump

Rachel and Grandma

You are becoming more gentle with the dog, petting instead of pulling his ears, and he appreciates it. What he doesn’t appreciate is when you play with his food or water. He has growled at you a couple of times, and I’m worried that one day he will snap and you (rightfully so). We’ve disciplined him when he growls, but he is certainly trying to tell you what is off limits. We also try to make sure you know that you’re not to play with his dishes, but you know how that goes. In one ear and out the other.

A new toy

You are eating more and more solids, and we’ve enjoyed watching you try new foods. Especially when we were in Illinois and Grandpa Rick let you eat part of his cheeseburger. You dove right into it! There isn’t really anything you don’t like (yet), but chicken certainly seems to be a favorite. Since you’ve gotten two new teeth just in the past couple of days, I’m sure we’ll be trying even more new things with you this month!

Rachel in the bluebonnets

As always, you are growing up entirely too fast for us…but we’re enjoying every second!


And now, a published photographer…

When it rains, it pours.

I keep wondering when it’s all going to end.

Here I am, 35 years old, and have very rarely gotten accolades for anything I do. Yet within one week short week early in 2007, I get all kinds of recognition.

I had my second photo in a week make the top 500 on Flickr, this one from the big thunderstorm that rolled in Friday night:

San Antonio Lightning

And not only did this one make the top 500 for Saturday, it cracked the top 200, which I’m very excited about.

Then tonight, Monica and I come home from dinner and I find an email waiting for me from the Virginia Quarterly Review letting me know that a picture I took on our honeymoon of the US-Mexico border is going to be used in this article, which also happens to be the top article their home page as of today (maybe not by the time you read this).

In case you’re lazy and don’t want to check out the article, here’s the picture:


Because I publish my photos under a creative commons license, they don’t have to pay me anything, they simply have to attribute the photo to me, which is fine by me.

I’m just excited that people are finding my photos interesting!

I would walk 500 miles

Since March is over, we’re going back to basic black.

This month’s banner is up and it reflects Fiesta which takes place this month, when people feel the need to dress stupid and go out in public.

Yesterday, our family did the Race for the Cure. We had to get up earlier than we normally do during the week, and walked over three miles, but it’s all for a good cause.

There were over 25,000 people downtown walking and running to help find a cure for breast cancer. We were happy to be a part of it.

Race for the Cure

San Antonio Race for the Cure

Thousands Race for the Cure

Race for the cure finish line