We made it back from our trip to New York. It was a great trip, and all of my worries about going there turned out to be just that…worries. Nothing more.

We had a wonderful time and I’m glad I don’t have to be back at work right away so I can take some time to recover. We walked way more in those 5 days than I think we walked the rest of the year!

Instead of posting a bunch of pictures here (I took over 300) I’ll just direct you to my Flickr photostream. If you’ve been checking in over the past couple of days, I’m sure you’ve seen those four thumbnails on the right changing every couple of hours as I upload.

I’ve created a few sets on Flickr to kind of categorize things, so if you want to see the wedding pictures or touristy things, or architecture, pictures of our family, gargoyles, or pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge (yes, I took enough pictures of it for its own category), they’re all there. You don’t have to go wading through all of them to see the things you like.

I think we’re going to have to go back. Soon. The list of things we didn’t do is about as long as the list of things we did do.

New address

One of the many changes you’ll notice around here is that Laleblog has a new address. I’ve been trying to get my entire website a little better organized, and one of the ways I wanted to do that was to create a subdomain especially for Laleblog. The new address is http://blog.namelal.com – that’s it. Nothing else to remember, nothing else to type. It’s a little more simple than the old address and it allows me to keep all of the blog stuff out of the main site folder.

If you happen to view this site via a feed reader, the feed will be changing as of today too. After today, the new feed will be located at http://blog.namelal.com/atom.xml


In case you hadn’t noticed, Laleblog is going through a few changes. It started off as a little tweak to the code to allow me to post larger pictures, because we all know, bigger is better. It’s turning into a little more tweaking here and there, so be on the lookout for new things soon, and bear with me through the mistakes.

Twenty Four Months

Dear Rachel,

Yesterday, you turned two years old. Two years!

Birthday Girl
The difference between boys and girls

We had a big party for you on Sunday, the day before your birthday, and lots of friends and family came to help you celebrate. You were very excited about your presents, and actually understood that they were for your birthday. Since you got a few presents early, you would point to them, sitting on Sparky’s kennel and say “for my birthday.” We’ve had a very busy month with you, and next month is looking to be even more busy.


The temper tantrums that you were throwing last month have subsided a bit, because we’ve started telling you when things are coming up. We never thought that it would be helpful to warn you, but the Great and Powerful Internet told us that we should tell you that we’re going to clean up in a few minutes, or that you’re going to take a bath after dinner and then go to bed. Who knew that simply telling you what was next would help curb those fits?


You are starting to have entire conversations with people now, even on the phone. The other day, your mother put you on the phone with me and you said, clear as day, “What are you doing?” and I told you that I was coming home. When I asked what you were doing, you told me that you were helping Mama water. Simple as that, like you’d been talking your whole life. There are still times when we have to pause and consider what you’re saying in context, but overall, we can figure out or just plain hear what it is that you’re trying to tell us. We repeat back to you what we think you’ve said and you either tell us no or yes depending on whether we get it right or not.


Speaking of the phone, every time the phone rings, you make sure to tell us, and then proceed to ask if you can talk to whoever it is on the other end. You’re getting really good at talking on the phone because your speech is improving so much.


You also started counting to us this month, and you can count to 10 on your own pretty consistently. We still need to get you started, but once you hit four, you can take off on your own. I love to listen to you say seven because it comes out at “sen-en.” You’ve also started actually saying “I love you” instead of your shortened “fu.”

Rachel in the wildflowers

The big exciting thing for you this month has been car washes. Yes, car washes. I have no idea what it is that fascinates you about the car wash, but every time we pass one in the car you have to point it out.

“Yes Rachel?”
“Is a wash? CAR!”
“Yes, it’s a car wash”

You even know that there are different varieties of car wash – the touchless ones at the gas station, the self serve ones down the road from us, and the Wash Tub, where they hand dry and detail your car.


We had to work on you with your manners quite a bit this month and it’s paying off. You no longer run up and stick your nose in people’s crotches or jump on them when they come through the door. Wait…wrong child. You started off the month saying “Yeah” almost all the time. It took a few weeks of me frowning at you, and correcting you even when I knew you were just playing a game, but it’s paid off. Of course, in the meantime, your mother and I have also started correcting our own speech because you were only repeating what you’d heard. Saying “yes” has become a habit for all of us, and we sound much more polite because of it. Along with “yes,” you’ve also started saying “thank you.” You had please down a couple of months ago, but one day you came home from Judy’s and everything we did for you was met with the sweetest little “dink doooo, dink dooo Dada, dink dooo Mama.” Cute and polite. A deadly combination.


The last thing this new this month is the healthy stuff. Girl, you loves you some fruit. And apple is one of those words that you started saying very clearly this month. You can put the apples and cantaloupe down like nobody’s business. When you tell us you’re done with dinner, we’ll offer you some apple or other fruit and you’ll sit another 15 minutes chomping on grapes, apples, pineapple, anything sweet. Strawberries, not so much. In addition, we’ve started giving you vitamins in the morning to help you grow up nice and strong. I loved my Flintstones when I was a kid, but I’ll tell you what. The Flintstones vitamins are six bucks a bottle, and the grocery store brand is just over three dollars, so you do just fine with your HEBuddy vitamins. The first day I gave you one, you looked at it, and said “I eat?” and put it in your mouth and crunched away at it.


We want you to grow up to be a strong, healthy, well mannered little girl, and you’re well on your way. Happy second birthday, and many, many more to come. We love you very much.


So long, farewell, good bye.

Last week, a chapter closed in the educational history of San Antonio.

Horace Mann Middle School closed it’s doors for business after 70+ years of service. The building will be re purposed, but it will no longer be the “Home of the Tigers.”

It was the first place I ever held a teaching job. The first place I ever coached. The place where I started fiddling with computers. The place I met my wife.

It is a sad occasion when a school board makes political decisions that effect an entire community. The neighborhood around Horace Mann will no longer have a school to call their own.