Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Perfect Cookie

Right before the holiday break from school, Ty's class had a party. Dad attended and enjoyed watching some of the projects the kids were given. First they made votive candle holders that they decorated with paint and stickers. Fun, but challenging for some of the kids.

The next project involved lots more freedom, and the results would get eaten. Each child was given a sugar cookie that they could decorate with frosting and glitter among other edible items. Ty waited patiently as certain items got passed around until he could expertly apply some cherry lines as captured here on film.

After careful work and some selectively placed "snow", he declared that he was finished and began to eat the cookie. He even let Dad have a bite and it was indeed beautiful and delicious.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Zilker Trail of Day Lights

The best way to avoid the crowds is to go when no one else does, right? Well it doesn't have the same effect during the day, but we visited the scaled down version of Austin's holiday lights this year. I surprised Ty with this secret adventure and we walked through the park checking out all the displays. This one with the penguins was his favorite.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Feliz Navidad

Ty and Dad wish all our friends and family a Merry Christmas. Here's hoping everyone got what they wished for.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cousins: Now and Then

And this is why we all are amazed at just how fast they grow up. First shot was taken when they were just one year old at their first meeting. The second shot is from this past Thanksgiving at age six.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Science of Water

We made a very quick visit to the Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk one afternoon. When I say quick, it was because we were not aware they closed much earlier the day before Thanksgiving so we basically had about 30 minutes to see everything.

Ty spent a big chunk of that time in this room where they had interactive water activities. Here he is pumping one of the valves and sending a surge of water through a pipe to push along some boats. Dig the fashionable smocks they had the kids wear!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ty Hits the Jackpot

The next few posts are some shots from the annual visit to CT for turkey day with the family.

There is an antique slot machine in my parents' kitchen that Ty loves to play with. It takes nickels and is also very hard to pull (I imagine in the old days at casinos some people had some big biceps from all the slot pulls).

Well at some point, Ty pulled the handle and up came the jackpot of 3 bars! Now mind you the machine doesn't pay out big (this is for amusement only), but it may have been one of the only times a jackpot was hit since my parents got the machine a few years ago. So of course, dad was there to capture the moment before the next pull cleared away the evidence.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Friendly Competition

When Ty realized one of his classmates and good friends was on the opposing team of a recent soccer match, his whole face lit up. The two of them giggled and waved each time the other took the field. During one of the breaks, I managed to capture the two of them hanging out in the shade.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hockey Night

We continue our world tour of sports with Ty and find ourselves now sitting a few rows above the ice at the new hockey arena here in Cedar Park, TX. Welcome to the Texas Stars, an AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars.

Ty got into the action quickly and loved when the skaters banged against the boards nearby. His favorite part though was watching a dancing puck on the video screen while it stomped out "We Will Rock You".

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Balloon Animals

A blue tiger? Yup that's what he asked the girl making balloon animals recently at a restaurant we went to. So she did. Afterward he explained it's the school mascot. So there.

Ty was a bit bummed though that the animal had a short lifespan of a few days before it lost most of the air and looked all deformed. Luckily we have this picture to preserve both of them at their finest.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Lost My Toof

Another milestone in the life of Ty. He lost his first tooth on the top (3 already gone on the bottom). It was super loose all week and then we got a little assistance on the removal. Ty had a dentist appointment Thursday morning and they agreed with Dad that the tooth needed to go. A little bit of numbing of the gum and Ty didn't feel a thing. It was so cute too because they polished the tooth and stuck it in a tiny treasure chest all ready for the tooth fairy to pick up.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Fall Awards Ceremony at School

Ty's school recently held an assembly to honor the Kindergarten kids for their first nine weeks of progress. Personally I don't remember this type of thing when I was little, but hey we give kids ribbons and trophies these days for just showing up.

Ty was so excited to get his little dog tag with 2 additional recognitions attached. The lighting was pretty bad in the room and Dad did his best to get some good shots. Here he is coming down off the stage holding his prize.

Congratulations little guy from all your family. Keep up the good work.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Spurs and KD

Ty and I recently went to an NBA exhibition game held right here in Austin. It featured the San Antonio Spurs against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Being down the road from San Antonio, it should have been a home game for the Spurs, but the Thunder were the "home" team because of their star, Kevin Durant. Durant was a former Texas Longhorn basketball star whose jersey is retired in the rafters.

Ty and I rooted for the Spurs (who won) and it was awesome to see all the stars like Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili so close. We happened to be sitting just a few rows off the floor and behind the Thunder bench. Here's a close up of Durant from warm-ups and also a shot of Ty with some bangers I brought along from a previous Spurs game.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Trick or Treat

Halloween in Austin this year provided perfect weather and a full moon for the kids to cruise the neighborhood. Now that Ty is attending the local school, he has more friends who live nearby.

This year he dressed up as a Jedi knight (Anakin Skywalker, but without the mask). The real reason he chose this was for the light saber, rather than his knowledge or fanaticism over the Star Wars characters.

We hooked up with a large group of kids and the parents strolled along as they went from door to door. The second picture shows Ty with one of his classmates. Our readers can supply their own funny caption in the comment section if they would like.

Monday, October 26, 2009

UT Football Backstage Tour - Part Three

Standing midfield at the stadium. It is pretty awesome to think you are out there and over 100,000 eyes stare down at your every move. This really was a special day for us.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

UT Football Backstage Tour - Part Two

Ty in the players lounge with the customized burnt orange pool table. Anyone who watched the College Game Day broadcast on ESPN before the OU game might have seen an interview with Colt McCoy playing at this very table. (watch the video here)

The players lounge is huge and includes large leather seats for watching TV or playing XBox games. Another unique feature is a wall of NFL helmets that have plaques below each one listing former UT players that played for that team.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

UT Football Backstage Tour - Part One

Just yesterday, the college football world was focused on Dallas, Texas for the annual Red River Rivalry. The burnt orange nation migrated North on IH35 out of Austin for the game. (Texas eeked that out luckily) This led to a magical opportunity for Ty and myself.

A family friend (thanks David!) happens to work on a project at the UT Football Stadium and gave us exclusive access behind the scenes while no one else was there. We got to go in the players lounge, see some suites, walk out onto the field and some other amazing places.

Here Ty stands at the top of the ramp that leads out onto the field. This is where the players line up on game day and run through the smoke tunnel onto the field. Pretty awesome.

More pictures on the next post.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Working on the backswing

Our well rounded athlete Ty is also spending some of his free time learning the finer points of the game of golf. A game that his Dad, G-Pop and Papa all enjoy. Our hope is that soon he can ride around in the cart and hit a few balls with us.

I started pretty young too and won a father/son tournament once. After that I retired from competitive play at the top of my game. (I was about 12 perhaps at the time).

Friday, October 09, 2009

A Sweaty Profile

It still feels like summer when the kids have mid afternoon games here in Texas during September and October. Our little soccer player was working hard on this day.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Futbol Season Again

Ty is back in action again this fall with the Red Pirates. Five of the boys from the soccer team have returned and they continue to improve their skills together.

Actions shots coming soon.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Little Longhorn Fan

How does it feel to be among 100 thousand fans wearing burnt orange and chanting "The Eyes of Texas"? Well Ty knows the answer to that question now. He joined Dad for his first official Longhorn football game on a recent Saturday here in Austin.

It gets loud. After settling in to the chants of "Texas Fight" and the cannon blasts after every kickoff and score, Ty finally started to enjoy himself.

This is the view from our seats. You can see the huge jumbo-tron screen and the picturesque skyline of the ever growing Austin in the distance.

This was his first game, but certainly not his last. And in the words of his fellow fans, "Hook 'em Horns!"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy Sixth Birthday

Ty officially turned six on Saturday. We held a big birthday bash for him at a local bowling alley and a great group of his classmates and friends showed up. He was also excited to have all his grandparents and even some great-grandparents in attendance.

The party began with some games and cake in the party room. Then after opening presents we moved out to the bowling lanes. With the help of bumpers and a ramp occasionally, the kids had fun and posted some decent scores (well that's debatable but who cares)

The last part of the event took them to the arcade room where they could spend tokens on games to win tickets as well as spending a few minutes firing balls at each other in an outer-space themed room.

Thanks to all who attended and everyone who called or sent cards to wish our super boy a happy birthday.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Trivia Winners

Earlier this week Dad's coworkers had a gathering at a local restaurant for some team bonding and sports trivia. I brought Ty along because he was with me that night and my boss said it was OK.

We joined a group of seven others playing the sports trivia on the computer gaming network that shows in a lot of bars. Ty manned the controls while I fed him the answers that I knew (or guesses).

After the first round we were tied for fourth place but each round saw us climb higher in the rankings. Finally during the last round, we answered a few key questions for lots of points and vaulted to victory.

One of my coworkers snapped these shots of us playing and the eventual screen showing Ty as the victor. At the end I turned to all of them and said "Are you smarter than a Kindergartner? Looks like you are not!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Here stands Ty where thousands of celebrities and legends partied the night away many decades ago. This is the famous Indian Room inside the Cal Neva Casino owned by the late Frank Sinatra. The fireplace behind him was built straddling the state lines of California and Nevada.

We played games hopping around the room running between the two states. It's a big room and was quite eerie with all these animal heads around it and almost no one else there except us.

This is our last post from our Tahoe trip this summer. We plan on returning each August to beat the Texas heat.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Powered by Ty

But Dad, I thought you said this railroad had a steam engine?

Keep pumping Ty, there's a big hill coming up.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Doing Time

Nope, Ty didn't crash the boat or steal the lost treasure of the Sierra Nevadas. He just found himself behind bars in the old silver mining town of Virginia City, Nevada.

We ventured away from the lake, through Carson City (two state capitals on this trip!) and up the mountain again to this once famous and prosperous town made popular by the TV series Bonanza.

The town also has an old railroad still working that takes you around some of the mines. And that is where our blog will pick up next time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Move Over Captain, I'll Take the Wheel

I'm on a boat!

Ty and I took a cruise on the lake aboard on old Mississippi river style paddle wheel boat called the Tahoe Queen. It was quite entertaining with a narrator dressed as Mark Twain providing background commentary about the history of the region.

During the ride, we visited the wheel house and Ty actually drove the ship. Luckily there were no accidents and we did not stray too far off course. As a reward for his efforts, the captain gave him one of the signal flags that had been hanging up on the ship which was very cool.

For some additional scenic photos of the lake that Dad shot from the boat and elsewhere, see my flickr set here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

C-c-cold Water

We went swimming in Lake Tahoe at two different beaches during the trip. The first was at Baldwin Beach on the California south shore side. This was a very large park with an amazing orange colored sand that stretched across for maybe half a mile. The lake was very calm, but very cold. Neither of us managed to go all the way in. But Ty enjoyed digging in the sand and playing at the edge of the water.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Squaw Valley

Ty and I visited Squaw Valley resort, site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. It was a beautiful clear day and we took the cable car to the summit. And what do they have up there now? A pool!

We swam and soaked in the hot tub at over 9000 feet above sea level. It was so cool. Then we walked around and checked out the ice skating pavilion before heading down to the base and doing some shopping in the village.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Under the River

Here is Ty doing his great impression of being underwater and holding his breath. This cool little room sits along a trail in one of the parks along the California side of Lake Tahoe. We hiked for a few hundred yards among the trees and wildlife which was just awesome.

Kind of like an aquarium, the trail dips below a stream and this glass wall exposes the underwater life of real nature. Apparently in the Fall you can watch the salmon as they swim upstream to spawn. It was very cool.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Heavenly Part 2

Shots of Ty from near the summit and at the observation deck level. We really had some amazing views up here. Surprisingly it also wasn't that cold at the top. However, at almost 10,000 feet above sea level, we could definitely feel the affects of the altitude.

Another cool fact that Ty enjoyed from the top was that if you walked down one side of the mountain you were in Nevada, and where we stood was California. Later in the trip we had some more fun with the state lines.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Going up? Our hotel in Tahoe was situated at the base of the Heavenly ski resort gondola. On the first full day, Ty wanted to go see the top of the mountain. So we took the gondola up part way, got off at an observation deck, and then proceeded up to base camp.

The next post will show the views from there and then further up another chairlift to the summit.

And the photo above at the lake level of the gondola is not a stock shot or postcard scan. Dad took that. And it really is that beautiful.

Monday, August 31, 2009

SFO to Tahoe

Our longest and final vacation of the summer began with a flight from AUS to SFO. We spent the night at the Marriott just outside the airport before picking up a car and driving East towards Sacramento and then across the Sierra Nevada mountains to South Lake Tahoe.

The morning of our drive I captured Ty by the bay at low tide with the airport in the background. We had clear sunny days the entire time in California. And with the temperatures in the 70's and 80's during the day, a much needed break from the sweltering Austin summer.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Back to School

This blog serves as a chronicle of Ty's adventures, but is not always in chronological order. I thought it was important to insert a photo and story tonight about Ty's first days of school this week.

We were a little nervous about the transition from the small protected environment of the Montessori school, to the big reality world of public school. But Ty seems to be handling it extremely well. He is in one of ten kindergarten classrooms (yes you heard that right, and this is our neighborhood school!) His teacher is super nice and she knows a bit of his history and how advanced he may be compared to the other kids.

To underscore this point, Ty commented about his first day like this: "The other kids don't seem to pay attention much to the teacher." Bingo. Our kid is smart and observant and will do just fine.

We took a few pictures in our driveway before we left. Here is a great one of Ty and Mom.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Funny Farm

From the last post you know we took a drive out into the Hill Country. Headed south from Marble Falls we arrived in Johnson City. Here in the middle of nowhere, sits an exotic zoo.

While waiting for the tractor that pulls a small cartload of visitors around the property, we stopped at the petting zoo and Ty found this baby goat. The bigger part of the park had buffalo, antelope, zebras, ostrich and camels which could all be fed by the kids during the 45 minute tour.

So next time you find yourself bored with the kids in the Austin area, take a drive out to the Exotic Resort Zoo.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hill Country Cuisine

Time for a little Hill Country road trip. We took a drive West on 1431 out to Marble Falls. Here sits a famous little cafe that serves up some of the most famous pies in the land.

Dad ordered an apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Ty wasn't thrilled about the pie, but liked the ice cream. Not sure now if this is really my son.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Farewell Aruba

We had a great vacation. Just one more shot to leave everyone with. On to the next adventure!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Post #400 - Come Sail Away

Wow! Another milestone in the blogging time line of our Internet star, Ty. This is officially post #400.

In real time, Ty and Dad have just returned from a relaxing week in Lake Tahoe. A cool break from the unbearable heat here in Austin this summer. Eventually we will get to those great pictures and stories.

In blog time, we are still in Aruba. Amazing how that happens. But after the jeep trip we spent the next day on a catamaran cruise out in the sea. It included three stops for snorkeling. Dad took Ty along in the water to float along and see colorful fishes and even a shipwreck!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jeep Safari, Part Four

Hopefully our audience does not grow tired of the images from the jeep trip, but it was a whole day adventure around the island and we saw many things. These two images feature our young adventurer at top with Dad's snorkel gear. We stopped at a protected pool among the rocky shores of the windy Caribbean side. This pool is hard to access and requires tricky navigating but provides an awesome collection of tropical fish. Ty waited with some folks from the tour while I took a dive.

In the second image, we are inside a cave. Natives once used these caves and left many carvings along the ceilings. There is also a large colony of bats living deeper inside. Some fascinating stalactites and stalagmites decorated the area where we were allowed to explore.