Monica did the final step in completing her Master’s degree this weekend. She walked the stage in Kingsville.



Congratulations, Monica! We’re all very proud of you!

Thanks to everyone who joined us, and a big thanks to Ed, Mandi (big Darby), and Darby for suggesting the wonderful steak house that we dined at after graduation.


Two years, eleven months

Dear Rachel,

This past weekend, you turned 35 months old. You’re almost three, and you’re turning into quite the little girly girl. You are starting to show signs of maturity, and we’re very excited about the next few months of your life. Some big changes are in store for you, little one.


I feel bad because since Nana and Dodd left two months ago, we haven’t been doing a very good job of keeping up with teaching you new things, like your letters, or writing, or counting. It seems like we’re so busy all the time, and while we do try to read with you, teaching you new things just hasn’t been very high on the priority list, and I know it should be.


You’re a very inquisitive little girl, though, so you do a lot of discovering on your own. The latest round of “a million questions” has involved songs you hear on the radio. The questions are always the same: “Daddy, what’s the name of this song? Who sings (name of song we just told you)? Where is (name of singer or band)? What are they doing in (location we just made up)?” And your newest question added into this mix in the past week, “Is (name of band or singer) a him or a her?”

My little flower

One of the things you came home doing this month was counting to 20. You still skip 16 and 17 most of the time, but with a little help, you can get to 20. You also recognize your numbers up to 12 because we’ve been trying to get you to tell time. Sort of. “When the big hand is on the 6, then it’s time for us to go take a bath. When the big hand is on the 9, it’s time for us to go see Miss Judy.”


And speaking of Miss Judy, in a couple more weeks, you’ll be done going to see her. We’re going to let you go a few times over the summer, but starting in the fall, you’re going to preschool! We’re very excited to see how you do interacting with lots of kids your own age. For a long time, it’s only been you and one other little boy at Judy’s house, and he’s a year younger than you. Now, you’re going to start going to school like a big girl. We know you’ll do well.


Something else new you started this month is delaying your crying fits when you get angry or upset. I got after you one day for doing something, and you turned on your heels, walked quickly to your room, sat down and started crying. I was shocked. We have been trying to get you to do that since you started your terrible twos, and you have always fought us on going to your room to cry. The fact that you just did it on your own makes me wonder what we did right. Of course, it doesn’t happen that smoothly all the time, but at least you’re starting to warm up to the idea of not throwing a kicking, screaming fit in the middle of the living room. I hope that going to your room to cry will be something you continue when the new baby comes along, because, I swear, if you wake that child up with one of your fits…


One of your favorite things to do this past month has been jumping. You jump everywhere – across cracks in the sidewalk, from the tile floor in the kitchen to the wood floor in the living room, up and down curbs, in and out of the garage, you name it. You love jumping. Sometimes you’ll even jump instead of walking.


But, your absolute favorite thing this month has been to play on Mommy’s computer. It started off with just wanted to watch videos of yourself, but now you’ve moved up to watching music videos on YouTube. Your favorites are Rhianna’s “Umbrella,” and Sarah Bareilles’ “Love Song.” You are starting to occupy Mommy’s computer an awful lot, watching your videos and playing on the PBS Kids web site. You know how to fully navigate around the Curious George portion of the web site, and the other day, you somehow got yourself into the Sid the Science Kid part of the web site too. I guess it’s a good thing Mommy is finished with grad school, so you can have her computer as much as you want now. Maybe you’ll get your own little notebook soon. I said maybe…


Finally this month, we had a pretty big scare just in the past couple of days. Mommy’s car caught on fire early Friday morning, and we had to wake you up and get you out of the house because we didn’t know if our house was going to catch on fire. Luckily, someone was watching out for us, and the only damage was to the car and a few incidental things like bushes and flowers. Things that can easily be replaced. I don’t remember ever having a visit from the fire department when I was a kid, and as an adult it was a pretty scary thing to have to deal with. You handled it like a champ, though. You didn’t see any of the actual fire, since we took you out the back door and let you sit on the deck. Once the fire was out, I carried you up to the front of the house so you could see the fire truck and the firemen working on Mommy’s car. After we got the “all clear,” we put you back to bed, and you went right to sleep. I hope that we never have to deal with anything like that ever again in your lifetime.


As always, we love you very much, and we’re looking forward to you turning three next month!



It sounds so much nicer in Spanish, doesn’t it?


Today, my mother turns 60. And just as she always tells me, “I’m not old enough to have a son that’s ____ (whatever age I happen to be at the time),” today, I’m thinking, I’m not old enough to have a mom that’s 60!


Since my sister already beat me to saying all of the lovely, sentimental things, I’ll just say this:


I couldn’t have asked for a better mom, a better Nana for our daughter (soon to be daughters), or a better family to have been a part of.

Rachel and Grandma

We love you, and miss you down here deep in the heart of Texas.


Like a good neighbor…or not.

Maybe State Farm should be paying attention to Twitter.

Just in case you’re keeping track, the car caught fire 12:30ish Friday morning. Monica was on the phone with State Farm by 1:15, who told her that they couldn’t give her a claim number at that time because their computers go down at midnight. Really?! Because accidents stop after midnight?

Gets a claim number by 9 AM, talks to “total loss” at 10 AM (Friday still), which means that the department dealing with this burned out hunk of metal that’s still sitting on our driveway has had well over 24 hours to get it removed.

If, by chance, this car had caught fire on the highway, it would have been removed within the hour. Since it’s sitting in our driveway, they take their sweet time.

The company who is supposed to tow it called yesterday from a Dallas area code which makes me wonder…isn’t there anyone in San Antonio that can tow this car? And the lady tells me that they will “be there by 5, and if not today (Friday) then tomorrow.”

It’s currently 9 PM Saturday and the car is still sitting on our driveway, and I don’t think they’re coming to pick it up today. And I’m betting money they won’t come get it tomorrow, either. Happy Mother’s Day!

Let me just say this: State Farm, you’ve really FUBARed this one.

Burn, baby, burn

I wrote this as an email to some family members and people I work with early this morning

So yes, I’m up at 2 AM. The fire department left our house about 45 minutes ago, and we’re just letting everything settle in.


Monica’s car caught on fire around 12:30 this morning.


It was parked in front of the garage, and miraculously, the house was not damaged. In fact, our garbage can was sitting less than 5 feet from the car, and it was only a little melted on one side. You can see in the pictures just how close it was to the house.


It was a total fluke…Monica wasn’t feeling well, and was in bed at 7. I felt her get out of bed just after midnight, then felt her return a short while later. I heard her say something about “what’s that noise?” and felt her get out of bed again, then seconds later, heard her yelling for me. I got up, and all I could see was orange outside of our dining room window. “My car in on fire!” she said. I remember looking out the window, then running to the front door. I felt it, it wasn’t hot, so I opened it. The heat was intense. No way was I getting out the front. But it looked like nothing else was burning.


My car was sitting nearby, so I grabbed my keys and ran around the side of the house to move it out of the way while Monica called 911. I came back in and told her to get Rachel and get out of the house. I was worried with as high as the flames were, that it would catch the front of the house on fire.


While she got Rachel out, I grabbed the garden hose and started spraying the front of the house while trying to hide behind the corner in case anything exploded.


Luckily, we live less than a mile from the fire station, and they were at our house within minutes of Monica calling.


Her car had been sitting in the driveway for over 6 hours, but the fire department said that it looked mechanical…they did not suspect arson. We’re still a little bit in shock, and just grateful at all of the random events (Monica waking up, hearing the noise) that allowed us to call the fire department quickly, have no damage to our house, and have everyone in our family safe this morning.