Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Grandmary comes to town

The Corgeys came to town in the big RV and fun was had by all! Grandmary and Charlie came to Bastrop for a few days and we had SUCH fun at the RV park with them. We spent most of our time swimming in the saline pool and trying to keep Finn from drinking all the Cokes and Dr. Peppers in their fridge. Oh, but it was good old-fashioned summer fun...swimming, running around the playground, exploring, meeting new friends (with Nerfs and lightsabers!), eating junk food, staying up too late. That's what summer and grandparents are for, right? Finn asked me several times if we could just live there. It was that cool.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's 103 degrees in Austin...

but we don't care cuz we have our outdoor shower!!!! Oh boy, is Daddy happy or what? The seemingly never ending "Holting" (that's my name for reconstruction) of our dreamy house got a little closer to the end this weekend with the activation of the outdoor shower. It's SO beautiful. Hot and cold water (we have faith that it will get cool again someday) and a cute little shower head just for Finny.

Now, just need to install the outdoor claw foot tub, put flagstaff all around the area, plant all the tropicals, build the bamboo wall so the neighbors can't peek, build a cool wall for the back of the carport, etc., etc., etc. For now though, heaven, pure heaven.

Come on over and check it out!

We love y'all,



and Finnigan the Curious

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

midweek, midmonth, midyear, midlife

I thought I'd try out this blog, join the new era of blogness, and blog for a while. It's after midnight, I just walked the dogs through the park and visited with Meemaw for a while. Deposited a few checks on line (that is so cool when it works) whilst drinking a little bit of small-batch bourbon and mellowing out in the quiet of the late night.

Michele made a nice picnic dinner tonight so when I got home from my rather crazy day at the office dealing with random things like where to collect new Mars data, liquid Helium in the paleomag lab (that stuff is even colder than Mars!), the rejection of a paper on Mars data, aircraft modifications for possible Antarctic work, sharing said aircraft with the Italians to reduce costs and multiple attempts to clean my office, we loaded up in the Jeep and went to Pease park to eat fish tacos, play and then go get a surprise dessert on the south side. (By the way, our computer's keyboard is rather noisy.) The real surprise was that the surprise dessert place was closed! A hip airstream cupcake retailer it was! But we found a very well stocked candy and ice cream shop nearby and had fun picking out various treats. We drove home through downtown and took in the summer night, and looked at the pretty moon with bright Jupiter nearby.

The summer is flying by like none before. Work has been busy, making it difficult to take time off and that is unfortunate. I'm having fun with Mars, but I just want to do nothing for a while, play with Finn and go exploring, soak up summer. Not to mention lots of house projects I'd like to get finished or at least moving along. The time just flies flies and I can't slow it down. Is this the rat race? I hear rats racing in the attic sometimes, but not tonight. Must be too hot up there for any mammal. I know that someday I will miss this time and wonder how it went by so fast. I wonder what the average life span of a rat is.

I haven't yet accepted the near-reality that I may have to go back to Antarctica this year. I keep expecting that somehow it will all fall through and be delayed by another year. The last time I went Finn was 8 months old and his first tooth came in while I was there. This is what it looked like.
I still remember with perfect clarity looking at this picture from inside a hut in one of the most remote places on this planet, yet connected by satellite to home for a few hours each day. That memory is at once surreal and frighteningly real.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Naked Cowboys

Finn's best friend is Bowie Stutsman. He lives right down the street from us here in Brentwood. He and Finn have know each other since they were born. Finny is 2 months older than Bo. The Stutsmans are great friends of ours, an unschooling family and fine purveyors of fun and joy.
Last week Bowie decided he wanted to spend the night with us. It was his first sleepover with a friend. We had such a blast. The boys took a bath with glow sticks and played naked cowboy (which consists of being naked and shooting each other dead over and over and over again) before falling into a "we must sleep now" stupor. We climed into our king-sized bed and did some night reading; Jack read them "Sleepy Boy" and I read them "When I was a Boy I Dreamed" - both wonderful books from Grandmary. We then lay in bed and talked a bit about how funny it feels to talk with your eyes closed. Bowie said his eyes felt hot when he was sleepy and we told him that our eyes itch when we feel sleepy. He asked if he could go help Jack clean up the kitchen; we said nah, he could handle it. I hummed them Amazing Grace and they were off. Finn doesn't like my singing, but he loves for me to hum him to sleep. I really dig the way Amazing Grace sounds so that's what he gets. Sometimes I try to throw in a Tom Waits hum, but he always protests. Bowie really liked the humming too. Finn's other best friend, Bridget, spent the night once. When I started humming she sat up straight and shouted out "WHAT IS THAT NOISE?" (Her mother can really sing.) We all burst into hysterical laughter and had to start the night-night routine all over again.
I'm amazed that my baby now has friends spending the night. I can tell you that there is NOTHING cuter in the world than two small children curled up in bed together sleeping their little hearts out. Nothing.
We love y'all,
and Finnigan the Curious

Basquiat would be proud

Monday night Jack and I got a rare, rare treat - a date evening from 5 - 10. Our dear friends, the Stutsmans, took Finny for the afternoon and evening. They all went swimming in their home pool, they went to Conan's, they watched Daredevil vs Spiderman, they ate cinnamon toast, they went swimming again. Finny went over there feeling kinda sensitive, kinda sad and kinda surly - he and I had had some cross words earlier. He came home happy as a clam. We walked over around 9:30 and saw them playing spy in the front yard with flashlights. Finny reeeeeally wasn't ready to go yet and the Stutsmans were kind enough to tell us "no hurry." Finn felt like he needed one more swim before he left so he climbed on in (he was already naked, as usual) and sat on the stairs. He asked Autumn how deep the shallow end was (he swims in this pool all the time and knows this, but I could tell he was up to something). She told him 3 ft. He asked if he could stand up in that and she assured him he could. He asked me if I thought he could go out there without his swim ring. I assured him he could. And he did! Not only did he head on out, but he started doing a kind of swim dance that I remember Bowie doing when he first started really swimming. JUST like Finny to watch and observe and do it when he was good and ready. He was THRILLED and so was I. He bounced around and even took some water in a time or two and hung in there. This was really big for him. Really big. He loves to play in the pool, but has had absolutely zero interest in "learning" how to swim. He doesn't like water in his face - won't even put his face in the bath water or let water be poured on his head, won't go under water, nada. And here he was, up to his chin in water, no swim ring, alone, just bouncing on his tip toes and trying to do the swim dance. THEN he wanted the pool light off. I was slightly terrified as it is DARK in there with no pool light and he really can't swim yet and I was fully clothed. I tried to talk him out of it for a minute, but it was pointless. He got really upset and demanded to do it and so I just swallowed my fear and told him to go for it. And he did. It was so cool and he was HUGELY proud of himself. I had a lump in my throat the whole time watching how excited he was. Being proud of ones self simply eclipses having someone else be proud of you, no doubt about it. It was just glorious to watch. My baby. It was also bittersweet to me because he and I had had a "fight" before he went over there for the night. Too much to go into and nothing major, but I know that part of his jumping in the pool alone was him doing something to garner my attention and approval. He KNOWS, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he has that without having to do anything, but I knew what he was feeling nevertheless. He wanted to do something to show me how great he is and how deserving he is of my love. What he did was so cool, but I like to think I would have given him that same attention even if he was on the floor in hysterics.

We walked home, late at night, Finny still naked and barefoot, all of us giddy with accomplishment and love. Jack and I were starving when we got home and no one felt like going straight to bed, so in perfect consensual living style we cooked up some shrimp tacos and Finn asked to paint. You can see how he lined up all the colors and all the glitter - so beautiful. He has such a good eye for color and placement. He moved the colors around until they were "right." I asked him where he wanted the paper; I had an idea of where it would look best. He picked the exact spot I was thinking of - perfectly balancing his creation. The set-up itself was pure art. He then proceeded to squirt a LOT of paint on the paper and drive his trucks and cars through the paint leaving beautiful tracks. Then he decided to paint himself, as you can see. I felt so happy and grateful that he lives in a family where the desire to create art at midnight is more important that an arbitrary bedtime. He had a lovely and soothing bath followed by 11 hours of hard sleep.

We all got all the things we needed, as we needed them and it was all perfect.

We love y'all,
and Finnigan the Curious

Friday, July 11, 2008

Jedi Daddy

Just imagine for a moment that the thing you love most in the world is Star Wars. You love everything about the characters and the costumes and the weapons and the ships. All your friends feel this way too. Now, add the fact that YOUR Dad can build light sabers from scratch. REAL ones. Ones that light up and change colors and are the perfect size and shape. It is just magic to watch Finn and Jack sit together and build these things. Finn stands in rapt attention as Jack meticulously puts all the teeny, tiny pieces together. They work in starts and fits with multiple trips to the garage, the closet, the recycling bin. Then, voila, another light saber is born. I married the coolest guy on the planet. Lucky me, lucky Finn.

Public Transportation

One of our favorite things about living in the city is riding the bus. Almost every Friday we take the bus downtown and have lunch at Finn's favorite restaurant, Slices and Ices. We've been so much that we're on a first name basis with the owner - Gene. Today was super special because we got to meet Jack there. Nothing better than hot cheese pizza, an icy lemonade and Daddy!
One of our best family stories goes like this: When we eat, we "thank the farmer." It's our way of giving thanks and helping Finn learn where his food really comes from. We often go in a circle and each person says a little something. One night after we had thanked the farmer and the animal who gave it's life for our dinner there was a pause and then Finn blurted out, "And most of all thanks for Slices and Ices!" Classic Finny.
Our bus trips are wonderful for so many reasons: we do the Earth a favor by not driving, Finn gets to see lots of different people and things and last, but not least, we make people smile. Finn almost always puts on a costume to ride the bus. Today he was Spiderman with a sword. I was required to wear a scabbard and sword too. I can't tell you how many people smile, laugh or say something fun to Finn. It warms my heart. I think the world would be a better place if more people rode the bus wearing a costume. I really do.
Tonight we got a tip that the movie Zathura (our latest movie obsession) was on sale at Target for $6. I raced over there while Jack took Finny swimming. They came home exhausted and spent. We climbed on the couch together and ate Thai food, popcorn and chocolate chip cookies. Our boy announced that he was "REALLY ready to go to sleep" as soon as the movie was over.
Another day in paradise at the Holt House.
We love y'all,
and Finnigan the Curious

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Killing Zorgons

The Alamo Drafthouse must be the coolest theater on the planet. During the summer they show free kids movies every morning. Finn and I have been going all summer. Today we saw the best movie yet - ZATHURA. I can't believe we'd never heard of it. Think Jumanji, but in space. We ate pizza, drank Coke and watched kids killing aliens called Zorgons - all at 11 am; how lucky can you get?

Afterwards we went to a cupcake shop and had a chocolate cupcake. It's a tiny little shop located in an old house. Finny was giving the propietor apoplexy by climbing up on the ledge, hanging down and dropping off. When we left she remarked, "What a wonderful time you and your son have together." Be still my beating Mama heart.

Here's a picture of our ZORGON POISON that we made when we got home. We immediately went for a family walk around the neighborhood looking for Zorgons to kill; we found plenty. Who knew there were so many living in Brentwood?

Love Y'all!

and Finnigan the Curious

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

And so we begin...

We have been thinking, oh, forever, about finding a way to better connect with our much-loved (and missed) family and friends. We've finally decided that, despite my utter lack of love for the computer, a weblog (blog) is the best way to do that.

These amazing days with Finny are so fleeting for us, we can only imagine how they are for you. Jack and I hope to capture the magic, love, fun and challenges that fill our days. Our unconventional parenting and schooling choices allow us the freedom to live so joyfully - we want to share it with you.

Welcome to our world...we're so glad you're a part of it.


Michele, Jack, and Finnigan the Curious