Keeping you posted on our big adventure into parenthood

Fresh Air

Spring is upon us and that means lots of time spent outdoors here in Austin. Oh, and allergies. Apparently Austin is the allergy capital of the world. Go figure. Anyway, we’ve been taking advantage of the nice weather and we’re loving it. That’s right, mom and dad, the weather is beautiful. It’s much nicer than Ohio or Wisconsin so you might as well just move on down here 🙂 We’ve gone out to dinner more in the past 3 weeks than we have this whole year and Mason has really enjoyed being set free in the backyard with the dogs to chase after. We’ve also been fairly busy outside of work for the first time in a while.

Mason and I have been spending a lot of time together lately and it really has been great. I know it’s nice for Kelly to be able to relax a little and not have to chase around a toddler with an infant in her arms, but it’s really good for me too. I’m excited for the day when Ben gets to join the action and I’m sure Kelly will relish the opportunity to nap freely once again and also join us on our mini adventures. We recently went to Kiddie Acres, which is an old and somewhat run-down amusement park for kids in North Austin. Amy was out of town for a few days and Jeff made the suggestion that we take the kids there to play for a little while. Out of the house = out of trouble… most of the time. We arrived with strollers ready to walk around the “park” and quickly realized that the 6 rides were all within a lob wedge of each other. The kids seemed to have fun though and it was good to get them out in the sunshine on a beautiful day. After the trip to Kiddie Acres I took Mason for a hike through St. Edwards park (see pics below) and then we went to dinner down on the lake with the whole family plus Jeff and Bella. It was a great end to a perfect Sunday.

Our trip to Kiddie Acres reminded me that dads spending time alone with their kids is still somewhat of a rarity and it’s almost never organized into groups of dads. This inspired me to create an email list that I’m calling the Austin Dad Crew, the intention being to do some group activities with dads and their young kids. It sounds cheesy and probably is, but moms do this kind of thing all the time and us dads like spending time with our kids and also with other dads. It’s a lot easier to explain to a fellow father “hey, my kid just threw up all over the car seat so I’m gonna be a little late” and we all feel more manly in the company of other guys. I think there’s a critical mass for this, though. At some point the number of men in a group goes from manly to feeling like something out of the show Spartacus. I don’t know where that threshold is but I’ll be sure to let everyone know if we pass it. So, for any of you male Austinite readers (or wives who want some alone time) who aren’t currently on the list and want to be, post a comment or shoot me an email and I’ll add you. The first outing is this Saturday at 3:30 pm when we’ll be riding the Zilker Zephyr train around Zilker park with the kiddos.

I can’t remember if it was the 2nd or 3rd but sometime in the middle of last week the Bancrofts welcomed their new addition. Christopher Bancroft III joined us and we sneaked over to the hospital to meet the new little guy. Chris and Meghan actually had the same nurse that we had for Mason and she remembered us. When she was leaving she said “see you soon” and we laughed and told her only if another friend has a baby. A big congrats to the new parents and now you will understand the constant look of exhaustion on our faces whenever we hang out. Meghan recently texted Kelly to let her know she is her hero for having two little ones all while working. I quickly agreed. I am clearly married to supermom; I’m just waiting for her to reveal her secret identity to me so that I can say “I knew it all along!”

This past weekend was the Zilker Kite Festival and we made our second trip down to the park to watch the high-flying action. Unfortunately, most of the kites were grounded this year, as the wind rarely exceeded 2 mph for most of the morning. That didn’t stop us from trying though. What did stop us was the fact that we are both in horrible shape and running for more than 5 seconds made me so winded that I felt like I needed an oxygen tank. The boys got to take their first ride in the newly gifted double stroller and they loved it. We met up with Jeff and Amy again so that Bella and Mason could further strengthen their budding puppy love, and we also saw Mason’s school mate, Ferris, down at the park. Did I mention how much we love the outdoors? After we got home and Mason woke up from his second nap of the day we went to Walmart to look at patio sets. On Monday I purchased the set and on Tuesday it was assembled and we had our first outdoor meal at the new house. Let me just say that assembling toys, furniture, and other household items is basically a second job for me at this point. It seems like we always have at least one giant box at the house and save for the double stroller that my sister put together (thank you again, Danielle) the contents of all those boxes have been assembled by me. That may explain the quickly growing box of “spare” parts that I have in the garage. One day all of those items are just going to collapse but for now we’re living the dream!

Mason Update: His new favorite word is “outside” and I think that he believes he’s part dog. He constantly tries to eat dog food and loves to stick is hand in their water bowl and then lick his fingers. He also grabbed one of their bones yesterday and started chomping on it. Gross! Next thing you know he’ll be falling off the couch when he tries to lick himself (and I’ll give you a dollar if you can name the movie that joke is from). He learned how to sign “pain” so he can now tell us when his teeth are hurting. This may seem like a small thing but I’m pretty sure it’s going to keep us from over-drugging him when we’re unsure if he’s in pain. Good work duder.

Ben Update: He is sleeping a little better on his own now, although his allergies/cold make his breathing difficult at times. It still amazes me that babies can’t breathe through their mouths until their about 4 months old. How is that possible?! Anyway, he also seems to be our little puker baby and I think Kelly and I are averaging a combined 7 shirts per day thanks to his post feeding regurgitation routine. He’s such a happy little dude most of the time though, and he has started to laugh a bit more in reaction to our tickling and talking to him. Fun, fun, fun!

Jeff and Bella rode the caged ferris wheel at Kiddie Acres. Unfortunately for Mason and me, I was over the 200 pound weight limit by myself. While I’m pretty sure the ride could’ve handled our combined weight of 250 pounds, I wasn’t willing to risk it on a ride that’s probably 30+ years old. And considering how much Kelly and I love roller coasters the thought of traumatizing Mason at this early of an age and depriving him of years of gut drops and screams of excitement just didn’t seem right.

The rides were tight. Very tight. I can make fun of Jeff trying to squeeze into this one but the truth is that I actually asked the ride operator to make it quick because I couldn’t fit my big butt in the seat. Writing this is making me feel fat…

Mason rode the on the cars and I think he was wondering when the world would stop spinning.

Bella took a pony ride while we watched from the side. Mason was not quite ready to be strapped on an animal apparently. We tried twice but he looked terrified so we’ll work on it.

Mason and his new buddies were happy to look on while Bella rode the pony. Do you have to get permission from a kid to show the back of their head? I hope not…

Plastic ponies are now on the safe list. I didn’t force Mason to ride the real horse, but I may have coerced him into riding the merry-go-round. With the amount of tears I’ve seen on these things I think a name change is in order. Maybe the less-than-merry-go-round… Funny thing was that Mason actually enjoyed it once we got going and he realized that the ride went up and down. Go figure- pops kinda knows what’s fun and what isn’t.

The train ride was a good test for this week’s Austin Dad Crew outing to the Zilker Zephyr. Clearly Mason was not that excited but I think he was just in a general funk that day.

St. Edwards park runs over Bull Creek a few times and I took advantage of the scenery and used it as an opportunity to test out the new camera lens.

Mason really liked hiking through the park and even though he asked to be picked up a few times he trudged along really well. I was very impressed. He also tried to follow a dog and walk right into the water but fortunately my long arms snagged him before he ended up a wet mess.

After a fall at school resulted in a nicely scuffed nose I decided to tie a bra around his head a la Weird Science. This completed the Mickey Mouse look for the little man and he sported it well. If you’ve ever wondered how we keep ourselves entertained wonder no more!

Daddy nap!

Mommy nap! Ben is an equal opportunity napper, as in, he’ll take the opportunity to nap on anyone. Just don’t try to put him down on his own.

The boys were bundled up for their first ride in the new double jogging stroller. We owe a big thanks to Dave Kinsey and his wife for this one. They gave us the stroller, which is virtually brand new and only needed a little air for the tires. It rendered our newly purchased double walking stroller pretty much useless but I’m okay with that. We’ll be paying it forward as soon as the boys are old enough, so if you time your child’s birth right this bad boy could be yours.

Dudes and babies. Word.

The Leer clan, complete with bow in hair. Where is yours, Jeff?

Mason helped me put together the kite. He was very excited to run after the tail and try to help get it flying.

Mason finally gave Bella a legitimate hug. She’s been asking for months and I guess she finally tugged on the right heart string. He squeezed her so hard I think she had trouble breathing but at least he used his arms this time.

One of the great things about blogging is that it can keep you honest. Last year at the kite festival I learned that Kelly had never flown a kite and I promised that we’d bring one next year so she could fly it. Well, I delivered on getting the kite (actually, she bought it) but the wind didn’t cooperate. This picture is proof that the kite actually left the ground, so I guess that constitutes flight. Good work, babe.

Mom and the boys. It’s amazing how calm and well-behaved these two are when they’re outside. Something about fresh air is just as relaxing for kids as it is for adults. And this just solidifies that we won’t be moving to any cold weather climates any time soon. I don’t think we could handle being cooped up inside with Crazy Pants McGee for months at a time. It just seems unfair to the kids.

The love fest continued between these two as they shared a ride in the double stroller.

And, of course, Ben didn’t want to be left out of all the fun.

Moms of Austin

Mason passed out pretty hard on the walk back to the car. We were worried that this would cause him to fight his nap later but we were surprised by the rare double nap that occurred on this glorious day. One hour nap around noon followed by a three hour nap from 2:30-5:30. I’m not sure how long other kids nap but I will say that I’m very glad this kid likes to take a good snooze in the afternoon. Now if we can get Ben on the same schedule it will be absolutely amazing!

When we got home we decided to spend some more time outside and continue enjoying the beautiful day. Apparently Mason had some texting to do, though, so he took a break in the lounge chair. I can imagine what the back and forth between two babies would say… “Hey baby friend, wassup?”… “Me? I’m chillin. Bout to take my second nap of the day. I got my binky ready to go!”… “Word??”… “Word!”

Even the dogs got in on the action. Our friend Tiffany gave us a bag of giant beef ribs for the dogs and I think they’re working on doggy sign language so that they can thank her properly. They’ve gotten almost two weeks out of those bones already and there’s still a few left. They’ve been rained on and mowed over but they keep chomping away. Mmmmm…. bone marrow.

This train ride was a little more Mason’s speed. Beware of baby butt in this video.

 

 

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