Pasta Fingers

Tonight we had a meltdown. Tonight we had pasta.

Emerson is kind of a grizzly bear when she’s hungry. And that’s okay as long as we know how to fix it. We do a lot of cooking at home with Hello Fresh, but we skipped this week with the holidays. So it’s takeout and delivery. Considering how cold it is, I’m okay with that. Fixing the bear inside was nigh upon us last night. It was a rush.

So we ordered Cane Rosso, a Horn favorite. And the fastest “your order will be ready” place ever.

The honey bastard pizza is likely the best pizza you’ve ever tasted if you’re into spicy cut with sweet. Then the focaccia with marinara sauce as EKH’s best friend Olivia demands. Those were must-orders. To top it off, as Emerson is screaming about wanting more “screen time”, we appeased the grizzly within by promising spaghetti.

And when mom came home with our culinary masterpiece, we got the wrong order. Rigatoni with garlic butter sauce replaced our long, stringy noodles.

And this happened.

A happy Emerson emerged. And repeated in the morning.

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“I’m Am”

Our sweet little daughter says the darnedest things. Lately, as we’ll ask her things like “are you okay?” she’ll respond with, “I’m am.”  I mean. How precious.

Unfortunately, I’ve been saying “I’m am” at work and people are starting to wonder if I’ve sustained a head injury. No. I’m just dumbstruck with cuteness.

The “Nah” Game

Story-telling isn’t something Emerson has learned from her dad. I’m a horrible story teller when it comes to saying things aloud. I just can’t deliver.

But we certainly have a daughter who can. She’ll entertain mom and dad on our way to and from school with stories of her fictitious cat “Treasure” (the Palace Pet cat of Ariel from Little Mermaid) and “Diego” (Dora the Explorer’s cousin). They’ll be nervous or scared and superhero Emerson will come to the rescue, often with a lasso to ward off the foxes.

The stories are amazing and I’m sure Jess has recorded plenty of them on her phone. One of my favorites of recent was a story about a huge hole in a mountain. I inquired to Emerson as to what could have caused such a hole…?

Dad:  Was it a lion?

E.K.:  Nah.

Dad:  Was it a bear?

E.K.:  Nah.

Dad:  Was it a whale?

E.K.:  Nah.

And so on. For about 10 minutes. Until I couldn’t think of any more animals, real or imaginary. The whole time, we just laugh at every “nah”. It’s truly a fun time playing the “nah” game.

Big Girl Bed

Today, we were delivered a present. A big girl bed that was supposed to be for Christmas. But an early delivery from the stork for the Wrights at The Wranch is speeding up our schedule a bit. We’re gifting them Emerson’s old crib as she’s showing signs of being ready to transition into her permanent bed.

Jess bought bunch of great things to go in her room as well. Emerson’s playroom is moving to our upstairs “office”. So her bedroom will be for sleeping. And apparently she’s going to be sharing her bed with a fluffy friend.

Corpus Christi

We made a trip down to Corpus Christi this past weekend. My Uncle Jamie, Aunt Marybeth, Cousin Alecia & Ronnie, and their kids Alexis, Porsha, Shelby.  And you can’t leave out Bubba the white lab and Rusty the Maine coon cat.  What a family!

Emmy’s school was out on Friday, so we got an early start to a 6.5 hour road trip. That’s if you drive straight through. You can imagine we weren’t too bullish on getting there by lunch or anything. We made a decently long stop at a burger place in Georgetown, TX which proved to be a good call.  See…

Pulling up to Uncle Jamie’s house, a million memories of my childhood come flooding back. We would come visit most summers and go to the beach in Port Aransas. Back then, the beaches had tar and weren’t the cleanest, but as a kid you don’t really know about the difference between the Caribbean islands and the gulf beaches. These days, though, the beaches are nice. And with Emerson’s continued obsession with Treasure, Ariel’s cat that she found at the beach in one of E.K.’s nighttime books, we certainly needed to make a visit to the North Shore beach in Corpus.

My aunt and uncle are some of the kindest, most generous people I’ve ever known. I’m sure I’m biased, but I really can’t say enough about how good they’ve been to me over my lifetime. And, true to form, they gave us the royal treatment. Cooking, showing us around, letting us pick where to go and what to do, etc.

But the biggest gift of all was Emerson’s new best friends. Shelby, the youngest daughter of my cousin, was like a big sister to our little bear. They played and played and played to the point of exhaustion. It was so fun. Porsha was there quite a bit too, picking up Emerson and playing with her. You can tell she’s got that same Horn kindness in her.

Saturday was the most eventful day. We started the morning with a quick breakfast and then an 8 AM soccer game. Soccer is a big sport for the Peck family. From Alecia on down, they’re all soccer stars. Shelby was playing in this contest and Emerson was watching and cheering for her new favorite person. Afterwards, the whole family stopped into a local eatery for a second breakfast. Alexis was doting on Emerson as Shelby and Porsha helped get her fed. It was like free babysitting.

With our bellies full of delicious breakfast burritos, we stopped at the day-old bread store to grab a loaf to go feed the turtles. When this activity was described to us, we thought, “Okay, some ‘big’ turtles down in a pond.” In reality these were dozens and dozens of huge turtles, all varieties, down 30 feet into a creek off a bridge. Just look at this.

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When Aunt Marybeth mentioned she wasn’t sure that bread was good for turtles, we verified that with a quick Google search and Jess stated that we now owed our turtle friends some lettuce and tomatoes.

And then, we loaded up to head to the beach. It was the first beach trip for Emerson. And at first, she wasn’t too excited about the sand beneath her feet. But as Uncle Jamie took her by the hand and walked through the water, she warmed up to the idea quickly. It was a very sweet moment.

Cousin Alecia scoured the beach for seashell souvenirs. Porsha and Shelby joined E.K. and Uncle Jamie as Aunt Marybeth, Jess and I watched on dotingly.

We headed back to the house for some dinner and sleep.

The next morning, we packed up and said our goodbyes. It’d been 3 years since we’d last been there. It won’t be another 3 before we go back though. What fun we had!

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children

I love the TSRHC. It’s a place I used to volunteer at in the evenings. It’s a happy place where children face difficulties most of us will never understand, yet they’re joyful, hopeful and thankful. Life-changing experiences there for me.

So I have always gone to their events. The San Angelo Clay Shoot was my first introduction to the hospital and it’s been a must-do for most years. My dad and I shot together for years along with Jamie, my first mentor in banking, and several other friends.

This year, I went with Jamie, John and Kevin. We had a ton of fun, as always. I bid on a few things after a beer or two but didn’t walk away with any prizes. Oh, well except that I won our “group”.  Per usual.

I hope to, one day, take Emerson to volunteer at the hospital and give her the same gifts that volunteering there has given me.

The Maker

Yesterday, Jess was sick. Luckily it was a Sunday and we had very little we had to do. So as the wife was holed up in our bedroom, Emerson and I played in her room.

E.K. has really been very good at pretending lately. She’s always making up stories about her cat (not real) Treasure and adventures they go on. Mostly Treasure, the “Palace Pet” of Ariel from The Little Mermaid, bonks her head on a door or is scared of a dog or fox and Emerson comes to the rescue. It’s good fun.

But yesterday, we took pretend to a whole new level. I laid on her soft rug in the middle of her room as she kept wanting to feed Treasure or build a bridge to crawl over a rive or a myriad of other things. And as we need materials to create these spectacular make-believe stories, we had to use our map (Dora the Explorer’s map we bought months ago) to reach The Maker.

The Maker was mom, who was resting in bed. Emerson would yell, “We have to get it from The Maker,” as she sped off through the hall, past the kitchen, onto the jute rug of the dining room, and back to the hardwood floors connecting living room to bedroom. The pitter-patter of little feet.

Emerson would approach the side of the bed and request whatever magical material we needed to complete our mission.  Jess would dig under the covers or under a pillow and pull out whatever was needed and hand to Emerson who would then retrace her steps holding her hand high in the air as she came screaming like a freight train back to me.

We played The Maker for a good hour and she was exhausted by the end of it. Her, Jess and I, all.

The Library

Emmy’s first trip to the library is in the books. Get it? And what did she do? Read all the books?  Observe the quiet areas?

No. She played on the computer the whole time. Millennials. Or whatever her generation is going to be called.

I had to return the 3 books I checked out from the central library downtown, and, lucky for me, library books may be returned to any of the Dallas library system. We live about a 4 minute walk from the Lakewood library.

I pondered about the job it must be to return books to their rightful places. What such a job would pay and how easy it actually must be. And I think that sounds better than “banker”.

Anyhow, all of these books lately have really inspired me. Wrote my 29 page paper for SWGSB and turned it in on Friday, the last day I could. So I want nothing to do with economics for about another 99 years, I think.

There was a flood of memories brought on by all these pages filled with words. The fondest of them was reminiscing back to my introduction to ethics class in college. I remember the professor discussing with me that I should change my major from business to philosophy. Looking back, I am reminded of the lessons I learned there. Did he push me to change my major for my own interests or to save his department? It was quite the moral dilemma. And did my recognition of his intentions mean that I actually should have changed it? I do love some Plato, Socrates, Kant and the like. How amazing would it have been to just sit and think as your job? No one today is called philosopher that isn’t in academics. And certainly no one is paid for it.

We have 3 new books from the library. I’m loving that we can walk up there and borrower books to bring home and read. Emmy hasn’t been able to truly appreciate it yet, but my hope is to turn her into a bookworm.