Been a Minute…

Hi there.

Yep. Been a few weeks. Sorry about that.

But, in my defense, I have been in Plano for job training, which has been not entirely unlike standing in front of an informational fire hose for 9 hours at a clip. And in my rare spare time I’ve been trying to write 11,000 words for a game publisher, finish a proofing job, and, somewhere in there, find time to work on my little start-up.

Which means I’ve had next to no “spare time” to speak of… For about a month.

But things have settled slightly, or at least enough for me to bang out a quick post here in the next 15 minutes or so.

So where were we? PAX? 
**checks post history**
Yep, PAX.

You know, I didn’t really get many pictures at PAX this year. And to be honest I wasn’t all that impressed with it. This is probably going to sound curmudgeonly, but this was the first year where it felt like everyone there was busy trying to be a productLots of kids with their Mixer, Twitch and YouTube channels advertised on shirts and poster boards. And tons of people streaming video throughout the halls.

I feel the same way about that as I do about the people who record concerts. At some point, stop amassing data on your life and take a moment or two to live it. 

And you know it’s bad when the guy who has a blog where he posts pictures and videos of his kid all the time thinks you’re being excessive…


Like these, for example, which are the only ones I have from PAX.

Anyway, I don’t want to harp on that. Suffice to say I’m not entirely sure if we’ll be returning to PAX next year.
So let’s move on.

After PAX I still had 2 more weeks of training in Plano. And I’ll tell you, I don’t know how those “road warrior” types do it. I was completely OVER living out of that hotel room by the second week, and I desperately wanted to be back home. So much so, that I did whatever I could to feel connected to my family.

Like eating these for lunch.

Between you and me, I’ll be quite happy if I don’t see another hotel room until 2020.
Late 2020.

But now to Daphne.

So we’ve been doing the potty training thing pretty hard these past weeks. And honestly Daph has been off-and-on with the whole process. Last week we had a stretch where she was using the potty both at school and at Gramps & Nana’s house…but not at home.
This week she’s not using any of them, anywhere.
*sigh*
I know. It’s a process…  Hopefully they had some luck with it at school today.

In other Daphne news, I had to evict her from her playroom upstairs and have turned it into the following:

Not nearly as entertaining as foam letters and a play kitchen.

But given that I’m working with patient health information, and given how loud Alex can be, I absolutely have to be able to close the door in order to work from home.

And that’s where I’m writing this little post from right now, before it’s time for Daphne’s bath.

Oop! And the water just stopped…so I’m on my way.

See you (hopefully) soon.

j.s.

Yep, I’m Back…Sorta.

Hi there.

Yes, I know. It’s been almost 3 weeks. But I do have a pretty good excuse…

So, in what we’ve taken to calling “The Christmas Miracle,” I got a job offer about 30 hours before Xmas morning.

Not only is it roughly the same pay as my old job, it’s also 100% remote, so I’ll be working from home. Which means I get to keep my Mornings with Daphne, and I might even get to continue going to swim lessons if I can squeeze them in during “lunch.”

“Not tryin’ to hear that, old man…”

It qualifies as a “miracle” because my 6-month emergency reserves, which I’d somehow stretched out to last for almost 14 months, were getting perilously close to hitting “E.”

But, I officially started the job yesterday. Which means I’m coming to you “live” from a hotel room in “The Colony.”

Be it ever so humble…

Yes, I still had to come up to their office for training, which will go on for the rest of the month.

And yes, I’m already sifting through my phone for videos of my wife and Daphne, because I’m missing them so much.

Like this one, Daphne’s latest swim video…

And this one, featuring my beautiful wife rocking and singing to our little girl…

It’s going to be incredibly hard for me to be away from them for so long…

Fortunately, the PAX South gaming convention has returned once again this weekend, and so we’re all going to meet in Seguin tomorrow, then stay in a hotel in San Antonio on Saturday night before I have to return to “The Colony” (which sounds rather ominous…) for the week.

And somewhere in all this I have to finish that writing assignment I mentioned in my last post, continue to cultivate my little virtual reality start-up, and maybe find time to sleep in there somewhere.

But! I didn’t want to let another week go by without saying “hi” to all of you, and to at least let you know why the posting’s been so scarce of late.

I’ll talk to you soon, hopefully next time with pics from PAX!

j.s.

HoliDaph

Hey there.

Yes, I know…it’s been a few. There’s been an awful lot going on.

Daphne’s strep has indeed cleared up, and thank you all for your well wishes.

I will say that having to pin her arms down while shooting amoxicillin into her mouth before school every morning was not my favorite way to start a day…but she’s better now as a result, so all’s well that ends well, I suppose.

She actually wrapped up her school for the year a little more than a week ago, and was sent home with this adorable little guy.

Rudolph the Recyclable Reindeer

Inside were a few other crafts, a snowflake, a Christmas light, and a painted snowglobe, all of which are currently magnetized to our refrigerator.

So last Sunday, Christmas Eve-Eve, we went over to the Sugar Land Skeeters baseball field for their annual holiday lights event.

I’d pay extra to see a game with all this stuff still in play.

You get to walk a path around the perimeter of the field and all of the seats are lit up in various colors. These, in turn, light up your daughter in various colors.


She got tired of walking…
A rare BumbleMom sighting!

They smartly had a beer tent open as well, complete with rocking chairs, firepits, and s’mores.

Cozy.

Daph got to run around and do her thing here while we sipped a beer and relaxed in front of the fire.

Yes, I know she touched the ground and then put her hands in her mouth. Don’t judge.

In all it was a really good time. Definitely worth checking out if you happen to be in the west Houston area during the holidays.

I had a couple more gifty things to pick up afterward (Christmas procrastinator that I am), and so I purposely waited until around midnight that night to run over to our new 24-hour Wal-Mart, thinking that the crowds wouldn’t be so bad.

Which was a very correct assumption.

Judging by the cars in the lot, there were something like 4 people there…but I never saw them.

No one but me and Mac, the janitor bot.

**bbbbrrrrt. DING! Welcome to Wal-Mart. I love you.**

I even checked out by myself at the self-service stations.

It was, in all honesty, a little spooky.

But I picked up what I needed, at which point Christmas was officially a “GO!”

And as it turns out, Santa would do his part too, and he dropped off presents for a particularly good little girl that we all adore.

He brought a Big Wheel…

“I drive . Give me keys.” –Alex–

And some new artwork that he knew Daphne would like…

Storybot on the half-shell.

That last one was particularly interesting, as Santa must have had to take her old picture down off the wall while she slept, and swap it out with the new one.

Sneaky Santa.

And finally, he brought a little something for the entire family…

Yes, there are fish in the house now.

Jen picked out all of the decor and artfully arranged their ichthy-condo, and I handled the biological additives and chemicals.

We dropped our first two fish (Lewis and Clark) into the tank last night, and I’m happy to report that they are both still alive and zooming around the tank (as of the time of this writing, anyway), blazing a trail along the nitrogen cycle and laying the groundwork for all the settler fish to follow.

It was a fun Christmas all around, and Daphne loved all of her gifts.

Finally, we went out on a post-Christmas sailing trip with the Sailing Angels on Friday, cruising around the Kemah harbor.

As you can see, we had a horrible time.

Daphne loved the rocking of the boat and, much like her daddy, seemed to find it soothing. So much so that she fell asleep on the way back to the dock.

We were just waking up here…

Was a really good time, and we’re very appreciative of the folks at Sailing Angels, and for the people at Hope for Three for setting us up with them.

Speaking of Hope for Three, you’ll find a familiar face (and writing style) on their website, talking about a particular little mermaid.

Okay, I think I’ve gotten everyone caught up. There’s more to talk about, of course, but that will have to wait for next time.

We hope your Christmas was every bit as merry as ours.

See you soon.

j.s.

Comin’ Strepped

This has been a challenging few days…

Daphne has been a very sick little girl. 

She developed a wet cough out of nowhere on Saturday afternoon which, while unlike her, wasn’t in itself a huge deal.

Then by Saturday evening, a fever had begun to creep up.

And by Sunday morning, she was hot to the touch and our failmometer was vacillating between 99.2 and 101.5.

Regardless, that meant “fever,” and so we propped Daph up with some pillows and a blanket, gave her Little Baby Bum on the iPad, and tried to keep her stationary, insomuch as such a thing can be accomplished with a 3 1/2-year-old.

The lighting from that screen isn’t doing any favors to your pallor, kid.

Unfortunately, her fever got worse as the day progressed and the failmometer read 102.1 on the high end of the samples (seriously, I hate that thing) by Sunday evening. 

So on Monday morning we cancelled swim class, called her school, and settled in for another day of rest here at home.

But, despite being completely soaked in sweat after two naps, her fever never broke.

Grandma picked up some toddler ‘tussin from the local CVS and we gave her a shot of it just before bedtime on Monday night. (Fun aside: this would be just after she threw up all of her rice and chicken nuggets while we were still sitting at the dinner table.)

And man, that stuff knocked her out like I’d spiked her Martinelli’s with Vicodin. 

Capri Sizzurp

She crashed out at 8pm and didn’t even move until 7am the following morning.

Awesome…” I thought as I awoke on Tuesday. “That had to have knocked out whatever that bug was. We’ll have a chill day at home again and she’ll be ready for school tomorrow

I stomped triumphantly upstairs to congratulate her on a great sleep and talk about what a fun day of videos we had ahead of us. But when I opened the door I found her sitting up in bed, flushed, and still burning hot to the touch. 

The Failmometer beeped back 99.5 and 101.9, unhelpfully.

This isn’t fun anymore…

Okay. This one is officially beyond dad’s over-the-counter skill to heal… We’re going to need a cleric doctor.

So I called the local clinic and, after some preparatory discussion about how Daphne would be unable to describe her symptoms, they found an opening for her at 11:30.

Now, getting Daph to cooperate with a doctor’s poking and prodding when she feels great is an Olympic sport. When she’s already sick, it’s a wrenching, muscling, screaming battle of wills and endurance, and one that’s entirely unpleasant for everyone involved.

Suffice to say, we did get her checked out.

And suffice to say, as you might’ve guessed by the title, Daphne does indeed have strep throat.

So today began the first of 10 days of amoxicillin shots, administered via one of those weird oral syringe thingies.

And I’d love to say the stuff was a fast-acting miracle drug like they described…but that would be a total lie.

No, now she has the exact same fever, but has added a gurgling cough to it. (One with a tendency to spackle throat yuck on everything within a 10′ cone area of effect.) Couple these with a mucus spigot where her adorable little nose used to be, and you can probably guess how entertaining our homelife has become.

This, of course, leaves out the bit about strep throat being ridiculously contagious. And Daph has, on more than one occasion, coughed directly up my nose.

At this point I have zero hope of escaping the streppy fate that’s ahead of me.

Anyway, Jen has taken the day off today to help take care of Daphne while I finish up the writing that I have due at the end of the week.

Oh, I haven’t mentioned that have I?

Yeah, I’ve been hired to do some creative writing for an role-playing game. It’s not a huge deal, as I’m just one of several writers working on it. And it certainly isn’t going to pay the mortgage…
But, full disclosure, this is one of those things that I’ve dreamt of doing ever since I was a kid, and I’ve been given a chance earned my shot right now.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it if/when it’s published. (Pending, of course, my stuff ends up being good enough to make the cut.)

I can’t say a whole lot more about it right now, NDAs being what they are, but I am a little excited. And, whatever happens, it’s been fun to work on.

Okay, I’ve got to run. I need to take some more vitamins…

j.s.

“Yule Love It!”

You know, I haven’t had my annual “Scrooged” viewing yet…

Let’s remedy that right now, shall we?

“TOWEL!”

There, that’s better.

Okay, so let’s talk about the pivot from Thanksgiving to Christmas. This transition is always accomplished by two events.

The first is watching Scrooged and Die Hard, my favorite holiday movies. And, as we’ve established, we’re halfway there on that front.

The second is our annual Dickens on the Strand trip to Galveston, which is always the first weekend in December.  

This one was Christmas 2015. Daphne’s first DotS.
And here’s this weekend.

This was the first year that we didn’t bring some kind of Daphne Transportation Device (a stroller, Daphwagon, or the Kelty backpack) and, naturally, her little legs got tired after a while.
And there’s only one answer to that problem…

“Yah, mule!”

This would have been fine, however she took it upon herself to use my beard as a steering device, yanking it in whichever direction she wanted to go. And while this was oodles of fun for Miss Daphne, it was a bit rough on Dad.
By the end of the day, my beard had gotten so wild I looked like Hagrid the Grey. 

We also picked up our Christmas tree last week, and as it turns out Daphne is a big fan of it this year.

Pine needles on feet is apparently a strange and amazing sensation, so she’s been hanging out in that chair rubbing her feet on the branches.

Okay, so I started playing with Photoshop a bit… Don’t judge.

Yes, she’s that adorable all the time. 

Okay, I’ve really gotta run. Lots to do and less time to do it in.

Talk to you soon, and happy holidays everyone.

j.s.

Turk 187!

Yes, that’s an 80’s movie joke, mixed liberally with a 90’s gangsta rap reference, and delicately sprinkled with holiday trimmings.

And I’m afraid it will have to stand on its own, because this…

is the only picture I got of the turkey this year.

And honestly, it wasn’t all that great this year anyway (it was a bit on the dry side), so it’s fine to let this one go by unrecorded.

That said, we did get a family picture this year, which is infinitely better than shots of a smoldering bird carcass.

Overall it was a good, if slightly low-key, event this year. However my baking game was decidedly off point. I tried twice and still couldn’t get my homemade dough to rise properly. So instead of light, fluffy dinner rolls, we got thick slabs o’ carbs. 
To be honest I still don’t know what the issue was, which is frustrating.

Still, it’s always nice to have family over. And Daphne seemed to have a great time too.

So who cares about the rolls.

Today saw us driving over to Enchanted Gardens to pick out our tree (a holiday tradition), which should be delivered to our house tomorrow morning.  I’ll have some pictures of that very soon.

Speaking of pictures, next weekend, weather permitting, is our annual Dickens on the Strand trip.

So there’s plenty going on. I’ll update you all again soon.

Until then, happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

j.s.

Hallowhen?

Yeah, it’s been a few. We’ve had a lot going on though. Let’s set the Wayback Machine for Halloween and just go from there.

So, Halloween. 

Daphne’s school put out a request for kids to dress up as a character from their favorite book for a little parade. But since we weren’t sure how well-known the tap-dancing pigs from “Moo, Baa, LA-LA-LA” were, we opted to revisit her Alice costume from last year and halve our cost-per-wear on that little investment.

“I would’ve preferred the pigs, Daddy.”
That white bunny is fast

Thing is, I wasn’t entirely sure if the ECAP kids were going to be allowed to walk in the school’s parade. There were quite a few parents with cameras lined up on both sides of the parade “route” (which was really just the sidewalk in front of the school) which might very well have constituted a sensory issue for some of the more sensitive kids. So, I didn’t stick around for any pictures.

Later that evening, we dressed Daphne in this year’s Halloween costume, which seemed perfectly appropriate.

“Oh mighty Neptune, ruler of the seas, sometimes a mermaid’s just gotta stim a little!”
“And drink apple juice.”

Jen walked with her around the block and did the trick-or-treat thing, and Daphne did fantastically well. Obviously she didn’t say “trick or treat,” but she did pick up candy from bowls and drop it into her bag.

I stayed home and manned the door for the rest of the trick or treaters. 

The little mermaid did drop in occasionally to check in on Dad, though.

Unfortunately the entire business was cut very short by inclement weather, but I think Daphne was done after about an hour, so it worked out well. Another successful Halloween.

The weekend that followed, however, was not so great.

A cool front came through on Friday night, and so the weather on Saturday was 72° and sunny, perfect weather for a trip to the Renaissance Festival. So we packed a day bag and headed out toward Todd Mission, Texas.

We’d been in the car for about an hour before traffic began to slow, and Siri informed us that, instead of it being 15 minutes to the Ren Fest, it was now going to be an additional 45 minutes.

So we sighed, accepted that as the cost of being out on such a beautiful day, and plodded our way along Route 1774 at 3 mph. 

Unfortunately, Siri was incorrect in her calculations, as she was assuming the side roads to the Ren Fest weren’t closed down to festival traffic. So after each intersection where we were unable to turn, she would recalculate the route and subsequently add 15 minutes to the total drive time. 

After an hour of waiting in traffic, and having our time to destination remain unchanged at 45 minutes like some kind of GPSisyphean torture, we decided to call it and head back home.

I did manage to get a bit of the traffic on video on our trip back:

As it turned out, however, going home would be a good thing.

We had just about gotten to our house before Daphne became really, really, really fussy. And she remained so for the rest of the day, despite a very long nap.

The following morning Jen checked her temperature, and found that Daph was running a fever of about 102. And no sooner had she settled her back into bed for a day of rest, when Daphne promptly threw up all over herself, Jen, and the bed.

Jen took a shower while I stripped the bed down and wrapped Daph in some blankets, and she basically slept the entirety of Sunday away. I don’t know how it is for everyone else’s kid, but for our 3-year-old to sleep through an entire day, she must be really sick.

Later in the afternoon her temperature began to creep up to the 102.7 range, and so we battered it back down with some Tylenol, which took it to a respectable 99.9.

Although that was not without drama either. Because Daphne hates Tylenol.

We have to hold her down and force it into her mouth with that little Tylenol Super-Soaker syringe thing, all while she turns her head, clenches her teeth shut, and fights us the entire time. Normally it takes 3 shots to get a proper dose of medicine in her; the rest of it ends up on her face, her pillow and in her hair.

It is unpleasant. But it worked.

On Monday morning when I checked on her she was back down to 99.3 and seemed to be feeling more like herself again.

“Man, do you guys ever have to take that ‘medicine’stuff?”
“I’m not sure which is worse. The feeling bad, or having to take the medicine…”

 We stayed home from school anyway, just to be on the safe side, and spent a lot of the day snuggling and watching StoryBots.

And, as you can see, it was torturous for everyone involved.

That pretty much catches you all up to speed. Daph’s in school today and I’ve just finished working on my submissions for a potential writing gig. (Fingers crossed there.) I also have a lunch n’ learn this afternoon for my VR thing.

Speaking of which, I need to get working on some changes to the PowerPoint…

In my next post I’ll talk a bit about this past weekend, and our trip to see Grammy for her birthday.

Talk to you then.

j.s.

Red Five

Yes, my beloved Red Sox won the World Series in just five games last night.

And yes, I was so amped up afterward that I didn’t go to bed until around 2am, after I’d watched the post-game celebration about 9 times.

They certainly didn’t waste any time putting that one up…

And yes, I did wake Daphne up with my barbaric yawps after Chris Sale struck out Machado to end the game.

Bend the knee, Manny.

With so much weighing on me right now, a Red Sox World Series was a welcome respite from my day-to-day worries, even for just a little while.

Speaking of the day-to-day, Daphne and I went out for a walk around our neighborhood this weekend, and I got a few pictures of her in the flowers.

Good times.

Afterward, we were both a bit worn out…

Man, that beard is getting grey.

We also broke the seal on the Halloween candy this Sunday, and so we have a bucket o’ goodness just sitting on the counter.

“There’s plenty. I’ll have just one. Just a nibble. Maybe two…”

I am slightly ashamed to admit that this cauldron of calories called to me like a chocolatey siren after the Sox won last night.
And I went to it.
A few times.
(Which might also be why I was up half the night.)

Okay I’m off. Talk to you all soon.

j.s.

Hi **cough** There…

Yeah. The crud that’s been going around has crash landed on our house. I came down with it last week (shortly after I wrote that post, actually) and Jen is suffering through it right now.

So far, Daphne has somehow managed to avoid contracting it from us. Hopefully that continues to be the case.

Unfortunately, it did cause us to miss out on a familial baby shower last weekend, which was a disappointment.

 I started feeling better on Tuesday, though, and things are going along like they do.

Daphne’s school pictures came back this week.

These are serious business.

I realize I’m a bit of a geek about these things, but with that white halo around her head and the very intense look she’s giving the camera, she’s kinda got an Edgar Cayce thing going on. 

But hey. First school pics. Still adorable.

And speaking of school, she’s still doing very well. There are very few “-” marks on her daily report cards, and she seems happy every day when I pick her up.

That said, mornings are still a bit admittedly rough some days…

*zzzzzzz…*
“No Dad. Go away.”
“Seriously. The morning pictures are a special torture. Please stop.”
“Didn’t we just do this yesterday?”

But despite her aversion to the a.m. (or perhaps mine) we’re getting through it just fine.

We also did our annual trip to the Katy Rice Harvest Festival, a little while back and dropped by our favorite pumpkin patch while we were there.

A very far cry from this one, taken just 2 years ago…

Yeesh.

And finally, a BumbleDad post would be incomplete these days without a swim class video or two…

She’s really doing awesome there.

Okay, I think all this tapping might be threatening to wake her up from her nap…

[whispers] See you soon.

j.s.

Driving for Miss Daphne

I will, more than likely, have another post later this week. However I didn’t want today to go by without sending a huge shout out to the wonderful people taking part in Hope for Three’s “Golf ‘Fore’ Autism” tournament at Sweetwater Country Club today.

Hope for Three are the fine people who first alerted us to the scholarship opportunity (provided by KNOWAutism) that Daphne received for her swim classes.

Today is their biggest fundraiser of the year, and I’m thrilled to say that Daphne has not one but TWO teams playing on her behalf, both of which are filled with grandparents, granduncles, grandneighbors, and generally grand people. Not to mention a grandma (who doesn’t golf) who’s doing volunteer work for the tournament.

The weather has become a bit unpredictable, as the first cool front of the season came through this morning. (Yesssss…) But hopefully the rain holds off so everyone can enjoy a fine, if overcast, fall afternoon in the park.

Most importantly, Jen and I wanted all of you to know how much it means to us that you’re doing this. It’s a huge help, and a reassurance, that so many of you are in Daphne’s corner, pulling for her.  You’ll never know how thankful we are for all of you, and for everything that you do for our little girl.

So thank you. All of you.

j.s.