Patrick starts Kindergarten

The day didn’t start off so well. I didn’t set my alarm correctly, so we all slept until 7:08. We managed to get there at 7:50. Ten minutes before class began.

We spent part of our morning forcing Patrick into his new clothes. It wasn’t only that he objected to the school uniforms. Patrick has super tough anxiety around new social situations, too. So as we crammed him into his khakis, Jordan explained that everyone else at his new school was in the same situation; this was all new to the other kids too. And every kid in his class was going through what Patrick was going through. A new school and new classmates. Plus, everyone had to wear these same new clothes. We weren’t forcing him out of his favorite jeans for no reason. This seemed to calm him down for the rest of the morning.

Which is not to say that he was completely happy. 20140723_125316553_iOS But he agreed to give it a shot. 20140723_125301383_iOS Once we got inside, he learned that coloring would be among his first tasks. He started to take the lay of the land. 20140723_130119795_iOS It seemed like he was doing great so we started saying our goodbyes. 20140723_130441371_iOS Jordan reassured Patrick, and did so without crying even a little.  20140723_130347448_iOS You can’t see it here, but I’m totally crying. It was the same exact feeling I had when Patrick and Wil were born. A feeling like I was just an instrument of life—I am a small part of something very big and unfathomable. Jordan and I are here to protect and serve, and to move things along, and we’ve made it to another big step. 20140723_130235167_iOS I’m probably not putting that into the right words. And Patrick had no time for crying or deep thoughts anyway. But he did have time for his brother. Who was the only one to rate a hug before we left.

Notice Wil is still in his jammies. I told you we slept late.

At 3 pm, Patrick’s first day of Kindergarten was over. At 3:47, I messaged Jordan to ask how things went. She sent me this photo. 20140723_203511828_iOS I guess things went okay. Patrick has, at least, agreed to let me take him back tomorrow. It’s the least I can do to move things along.

A birthday thanks to my dad.

Three Musketeers
When I was a kid, I asked my dad why he didn’t have a nicer car. You know, it’s one of those “why don’t you just write a check?” questions kids ask. Except I was probably in middle or high school at the time, and my dad was driving a Ford Tempo. Turbo.

“I could have a really nice car right now,” my dad said. “I could afford a great car. A luxury car. But I had kids instead.”

Haha, Dad.

Haha, indeed. Now that I’m a dad myself, I see how bittersweet this joke was/is. As much as I love my kids (they’re ridiculously beautiful and awesome), I can’t pretend I’m never jealous of my single and/or childless friends and their free time. Or that I couldn’t dream up fantastic ways to spend our daycare money.

Of course I could. But when Jordan and I chose parenthood, we took a a long view of how things will go. Whatever our dreams and hopes, they’re fused into the hopes we have for Wil and Patrick. Whatever our material wants and needs, we mostly shop (and save) for the kids now.

Can we admit, as parents, that we sometimes think about the road not taken? I can. I do.

But most mornings I can’t wait to see the boys. And most nights, I feel so lucky to be there for them as they take turns falling asleep on my shoulders.

I’m glad I’m a dad. I’m insanely grateful that Jordan chose to share this with me. And I love my own mom and dad so, so much for choosing me and my brother. I’m especially grateful to my dad for:

  • The dozens of times he fielded calls from my frustrated teachers.
  • When he tucked a copy of Defender for Atari 2600 under my arms as I slept.
  • When we won a ribbon in 5th grade science fair demonstrating no appreciable taste difference between regular cola and caffeine-free cola.
  • When he bought me a new catcher’s mitt for no special reason.
  • The time he made me apologize to everyone on my tennis team after I broke a window at the Northampton Club.
  • The many repairs to my ’86 Pontiac Grand Prix.
  • When I spent way too much on his charge account at Baylor.
  • When he paid my rent all through college (I’ve never felt more rich).
  • When he wrote me letters about how he struggled early as a father and as a man. And I realized it wasn’t just me. I wasn’t alone. (btw…lol @ writing letters, amirite?)

He hasn’t been perfect. I know he would change so many things about the way he helped raise me and my brother. But whatever regrets he’s got, I know having kids isn’t one of them.

And I feel the same way about my boys.

I want to say happy birthday to my Dad. Who bought a new Jeep Grand Cherokee this year. And last time I checked, he was very pleased with it.

IMG_1720

Hank Says Goodbye

Hank Close (3)

Jordan took the boys out to Bastrop Wednesday evening because I had to go to Houston for a conference. Hank had been acting kind of funny and didn’t want to come inside. Everyone went to bed, and Hank stayed out as he had many times before. Jordan’s folks live on 17 acres, so given a choice, Hank would many times rather roam than be inside.

The next morning, when Jordan went outside, she found him. And he was gone. She was glad Patrick and Wil weren’t awake. Jordan’s dad took him to the barn, and on Thursday Frank took him to the vet to be cremated.

Hank was anywhere between 11 and 14 years old. We never were able to learn his exact age. In the last three months, his arthritis had rapidly hobbled him and he could barely see. So maybe it was time. But the last few years, roaming those 17 acres, he had been as healthy as ever. When we sold our house and moved to a townhome in Austin, Jordan’s parents let Hank live with them on their property. Really, he became their dog.

Freed from the suburbs and his limited dog walks, he got very lean and strong. He chased rabbits and squirrels and got muddy under the barn’s porch. He would roam the park lands outside the Wilsons’ property and people would call us (our number was still on his tag) to let us know where was. Always, we’d reassure the caller, Hank will make his way back home. Just turn him loose. He’ll get back to where he needs to be.

And so he did. On the porch. Eyes still open. Looking out on the grounds of his estate. As was his habit and practice.

We’ll miss you, Hank.

IMG_4417

Patrick & Hank

Patrick & Hank (4)

Frank & Hank

SuperBowl Party 2010 006

Hank the magic dragon

down the stairs
Layabouts
IMG_1760

me and hank

Photo By Shu Latif

Twins

It’s been a while since I last posted here. Even worse, I neglected to even post when our youngest son Wil was born back in September. Thankfully, Jordan’s sister Jessi was there to take pictures when it happened and in the days after. The results are typically amazing.

Now Wil is five months old, and Patrick’s three years old. And they’re not the youngest Preddys anymore. That’s because my brother Scott, and his wife Julianne, welcomed identical twin girls on January 30 2013.

IMAG0493

As Julianne said:

We are home from the hospital with our beautiful daughters, Quinn Elaine and Avery Lynn! The girls were born on Wednesday, 1/30 at 1:30am- Quinn was first at 5 lbs 15 oz and Avery was second at 6 lbs 4 oz. We are overwhelmed with love for these little girls!

Jordan and I couldn’t be happier to once again be aunts and uncles. But I’m going to let Scott and Julianne share additional photos and stories in their own way (Facebook? Flickr? wallet size prints?).

In the meantime here’s a slightly less official set of twins. This is a photo of Patrick and Wil side by side. Three years apart. Wearing the same towel. See if you can guess who’s who. Click the pic for the answer.

side by side

The Sock Killer

So this is a cliché. Because it is true. Behold the following example.

The other day we put Patrick down for a nap, and we were impressed that he became silent so quickly. “Amazing,” we said. “He must actually be asleep!”

Alas, no.

I realized I could hear him through the door, very quietly, talking to himself.

When I opened it, I found him using a pair of nail-trimming scissors (the safe-for-infants kind) to  methodically and diligently cut holes in his socks. While he was still wearing said socks.

IMG_1598

IMG_1594

IMG_1593

Patrick’s Third Birthday

We began celebrating the previous weekend, when we picked up a train table and train set for Patrick from a garage sale we saw on Craigslist. We figure we could get him this table to start and then augment it or replace it with something newer as he gets a little older.

We went the garage sale and packed everything in the back of the C-RV, then went home and set it up. For $50, we got the table and train set, plus a baseball glove, toy space shuttle, and a bunch of dinosaur stuff. Garage sales rule.

The downside of buying a used train set is you don’t necessarily get instructions. It’s not for sale anymore, but we were able to find the set on the Sam’s Club website. Sadly, the picture isn’t big enough to figure out exactly how to put it together.

image

We did our best, though. Our favorite feature: the two enormous bins that slide under the table. Not something shared by any of the newer sets we looked at. Patrick’s favorite feature is his newfound ability to hide behind the table when bath time arrives.

_____________

The next weekend (this past Saturday), we had the party, and it was enormous fun. There was swimming, grilling, cake, and presents. Here a few photos. The full album is here. Thanks very much to all who attended, and especially to Jordan’s parents who hosted the party, and my family who drove from Houston to attend.

We’re expecting. Again. Soon.

It’s been a while, huh?

A lot has happened. I took a job in Austin. We sold our house. We moved from Houston, where I personally had lived pretty much all my life. Now we’re up here in Central Texas doing our best to further Austin’s rapid gentrification (we’re not ones to “keep it weird”).

In all the excitement, we forgot to mention to many of you that Jordan is pregnant. Actually, she’s been pregnant a long time. Since December. Her due date is September 13. That’s like a month away. Really soon.

Surprise.

FrankieUltrasound

We do not know if it’s going to be a boy or girl. We do know he or she is going to be awesome. From what we can tell, the baby is healthy and active. And a wonderful kicker. Jordan looks great and is feeling great, too (except for the frequent leg cramps that hurt like hell). Things have gone smoothly, but I’d say she’s definitely ready to carry all the kids on the outside of her body again.

Everything else is going pretty swell. Patrick’s settled into his new town. He’s about to turn three. He knows how to say corythosaurus and pachycephalosaurus.

He’s taking a lot of swimming lessons.

He went to see a baseball game at the beautiful Dell Diamond, home of the Round Rock Express.

IMG_1514

IMG_1518

And we’ve tried not to let him forget completely about Space City.

IMG_1520

IMG_1522

Anyway, that’s it.

Nothing much.

Just living in a different city and having a baby.

Santa and other photos

This year, as we did last year, we took Patrick to Bering’s on Bissonet to visit Santa and let the big guy know what he wanted for Christmas. If you live in Houston and you are a parent lying to your children about the existence of St. Nick, you should know that Bering’s is SO much better than a mall for several reasons:

  1. FREE.
  2. Little or no wait. There’s no snaking line full of screaming, antsy children. You wait with a few other parents and in five minutes or so, it’s your turn.
  3. You get a free 4 x 6 print. They take four or five pics, and you pick your own.
  4. They also email you a copy.
  5. Amazingly, they do not use your e-mail address to spam you with ads for Bering’s. Or if they do, Google’s spam filter is killing them softly and silently.

So anyway, you may remember last year’s horrifying / hilarious Santa shot, with Patrick seeming to cry and point, J’accuse!

marshall.preddy@gmail.com

Hilarious.

This year he was a bit more sanguine about the whole thing. Pleased, even. He even told Santa he wanted a fireman hat for Christmas. I think he’s much more likely get what he wants when he can relax a bit. Not sure about Santa though. He looks like a cry for help.

jordan.preddy@gmail.com

We should also note that we’ve been updating our Flickr a bit more often these days. Including adding a few shots to our much beloved (by us) photo set, Patrick’s Greatest Hits. I think two of the more recent ones deserve brief explanation.

IMG_0818

Earlier in 2011, our friend Bev Caplan fell in love with Patrick and “his Stryper hair.” So much so that she vowed to make Patrick a Stryper Halloween costume. Specifically, Patrick would embody the blonde bomber, Stryper’s drumer, Robert Sweet. We sorta thought Bev would forget, but she actually kept reminding us about it. So on Halloween, her black and yellow dream came true. The best photo we have (above) is the one Bev took herself with her Android phone. But there are quite a few more on our Flickr, here and here.

You might have noticed my supporting costume, but I cannot take credit for owning a vintage Stryper tee. It actually belongs to Bev’s husband and all around legend, Ty Mahany. I don’t have time to tell you how awesome these two people are, but you can see the photographic evidence. Thanks to Ty and Bev for the best Halloween memory ever.

Patrick_Sea_World_Aquarium

When we went to Sea World, I took a ton of photos, but none were as good as this that one Jordan’s sister took. Is he looking at sharks? Rays? Those fish that look like Nemo? I dunno. We were too busy looking at Patrick and Gage as they had the time of their lives.

Last, but certainly not least, you should head over to Framed By Fletcher. We had Jonathan Fletcher take a ton of photos with us and Patrick in Hermann Park, and he’s put up 15 of the best shots on his blog. He just posted these this evening, so Jordan and I haven’t even seen all the photos, but we’re very happy with how these pics turned out. Patrick was so patient and happy as we walked all around the park taking photos for an hour and a half.

We can’t speak for him, but we think it was worth it.

I Like to Move It (Move It)

Patrick’s only seen bits of the movie, but there’s one line from Madagascar he remembers quite well, because his Ponch (Jordan’s dad) does a hilarious impression. Here’s the original from the film:

 

Now, usually, when Ponch does it, he puts something on top of his head to mimic the Lemur King’s headdress. So that will help explain what Patrick’s trying to do here:

 

Apologies for not having video of Ponch doing his version.

P.S., photos from Patrick’s birthday are now up here. The week-long adventure included a nice family party, a trip to build-a-bear, and a trip to Sea World that Patrick still can’t stop talking about, nearly a month later.