The Cude family (my lineage anyway) has probably never been accused of being a tightly knit group. Maybe it's the military background and the somewhat nomadic life that goes along with it, but whatever the reason it's a big deal if/when we gather together as an extended family. So it was in October of 2003 that my dad, whom I hadn't seen in at least three years prior to that, gave us a great surprise by calling up out of the blue and asking if he could come over for dinner. Assuming he was kidding, I jokingly said sure, and he promptly asked for directions from the Krispy Kreme in Dothan to my house. True to his word, he showed up not 30 minutes later. He was only able to spend a few days with us but it was nice to have him. The picture with me holding Briggs and my Dad standing behind us is a rare pic of three generations of our Cudes. It had probably been a long time since he fed a baby and that was the first time he had seen his first grandson. As is our Cude way, we haven't been able to get together since. It's mostly my fault for having been so busy since then and for having used my vacation for stays in Alabama for the past 5 years. I promised him we'll be coming out there next year since Max will be at a decent travel age by then and I'll be able to plan the trip, let's hope I'm blogging about that trip a year from now. He's never seen Max and Briggs has always been curious about Texas and where I grew up. Let's just say my dad had better not get rid of the horses, cows, chickens, ducks, cats, dog, llama, ostrich, and whatever other critters he's had; and he'd better make sure we have access to some stocked fishing tanks or else there's gonna be one disappointed little boy :-). The last couple of pics are from Briggs' first birthday a couple of months later. It was one of Leslie's best looking cakes and we were so blessed to have so many friends from work, church, and family to be there. The one of Leslie and Briggs blowing out the candles is one of my all time favorites.
Monday, April 21, 2008
There are times when I wished for the boys' sake we lived enough in the country to have room for a dog. However, they've certainly had lots of other things to occupy them and it's probably best from a PETA standpoint that we didn't have one anyways. There's no doubt that they boys have suffered much less without a dog than any poor hound would have suffered had we had one. The top picture is the first one that I have with Briggs and Blue. Briggs never really was attached to a pacifier but there are no telling how many iterations of Blue we went through until he finally quit, ummm, gnawing? on a Blue. He would (I'm going to stick with) "gnaw" on the paws of his Blue to go to sleep every day and night. Blue went with us everywhere we went, he was a companion and a pacifier for those first few years. From a parents perspective it was cute, at first, but man when those things went sour, wow they went sour in a bad way and clued us that we needed to try find a store that still sold them, which got harder and harder to do by the way. The next to last pic where it "appears" Briggs is strangling a dog (okay, I have to admit when you zoom in on that pic that poor dog does not look happy), is our failed attempt at owning a real dog. Leslie put in that she thought she could handle taking care of a dog and after much research decided we should purchase a King Cavalier Charles Spaniel. I won't go into details, but after about 6 months King Rusty was given away to a good home, beyond a shadow of a doubt for his own good no less. Lastly, Briggs has without prompting settled into having a less needy pet Rusty. Actually, the current version of Rusty has been around for about the last four years as I've found in some of the old videos I recorded. Briggs used to tote him around a little bit but over the past year or so, Rusty has become essential for going to bed and lounging around with. He usually goes to get Max out of bed too with Briggs and Max tossing him back and forth, it's amazing he hasn't come apart at the seams for all the wear he gets. Rusty picks out which book to read at night, says a dog version of his prayers which Briggs translates for us, and every night he snuggles in the bed with Briggs. He only requires a bath every now and then and thus far has been the best dog we've owned, I'll be curious to see what the next version of Rusty looks like a few years from now...
Sunday, April 13, 2008
This Saturday was our second tee ball game of the season. I think we won, but couldn't really say for sure. As is evidenced in the pictures, Briggs is not really "into" playing defense, he likes hitting and running much much more. This past week at practice when we got finished Max came onto the field and we thought he was just going to run around. Instead, he found a ball, put it up on a tee, grabbed a bat, and proceeded to hit the ball off the tee. Granted it only went 6 inches, nearly straight down, and he hit it with the wrong end of the bat, but it was still cool to see how much he had been paying attention and how badly he wants to do whatever big brother is doing. After tee ball this Saturday, we all four went to the short course and played nine holes. Max was pretty worn out by about the fifth hole but even with that, it was a beautiful day.
Friday, April 11, 2008
It was another rainy April afternoon in Birmingham but it stopped just long enough before bedtime that we could go out and play for just a few minutes. Max was barefoot and had a good time playing in the puddles. Briggs has taken to playing Peter Pan lately. He's always Peter, I'm Captain Hook, Leslie is Wendy, and poor Max has been designated (by his brother) as either Tinker Bell or Smee since "he's just the right size". At least Max doesn't mind, for now...
Monday, April 7, 2008
What a nice weekend we had, pretty normal, stuck inside mostly from the rain but the boys both seemed to have their usual level of fun (every day is Saturday to them). We, mostly me, got a good laugh from some "Bald Guyz Head Wipes" that Leslie bought me, thankfully it was fairly cheap and she won't be buying anymore of it. ANYway, Leslie called me this morning and asked if I had used the water hose recently, because there was a "puddle" of water in the garage. As the day progressed the "puddle" turned into several puddles and by the time I made it home the basement was already being soaked in several spots. Thankfully the builder was just next door and we figured out that at some point they had clogged my french drains that surround my house and that the water must have built up around the walls. It could have been worse I suppose. I am sooo glad I bought that wet/dry vac a few years ago, a Great purchase. AND from now on, when Leslie even mentions water and house, I'm leaving work immediately!
Saturday, April 5, 2008
This is one of those posts that Leslie is definitely going to have to chime in on since she is the keeper of all of Briggs' birth specifications, length, weight, time and what not. I'll give my thoughts on D-Day and a few months after. I remember being at work and getting paged while I was in a meeting. Leslie had a checkup that morning, which was a couple of weeks before her "due" date. This being my first time around, I never really put much thought into the variations possible in said "due" date, I assumed it would be maybe a day or two off. A few weeks early however, the doctor told her it was time and off we went. I'll spare the details, but suffice it to say, like all births, it was amazing and awe inspiring. Reality didn't really sink in though until we brought him home and realized, wow, this is all on us now. Those first about 8 weeks were wild until he got his days and nights right and we figured out that a combination of him in the bouncy seat that is placed on top of the mattress in his crib, equaled a few hours of respite from the mind numbing wails. And thank God also for those freaky (at first) Baby Einstein videos that calmed him down for 30 minutes a pop.
With him having been born in November, the month of December was pretty awesome and made for one of our best Christmas presents. Looking back, we went through a time (after about the first year of trying) where we really were worried, that we may never get to enjoy that day, I am very very thankful to God that He has blessed us the way that He has though. In my wildest dreams would I have ever have imagined that I would be blessed with not one, but two, awesome, blonde haired, blue/green eyed, boys! Now I think I know how my dad must have felt, him with his blond hair and blue eyes and his little tan, black hair (old days), brown eyed kid tagging along. It's amazing though how much of yourself you see in them, good and bad, there's no doubt for example they inherited that Cude stubborness, and Briggs got my talking in his sleep trait too, that's always good for a few laughs.
Coming from an only child family, it was amazing to me to see how many people cared about us and our family and showed up for Briggs' delivery. The picture above looking out of the hospital nursery is one of my favorites.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Okay, back at it. Tee ball was cancelled today due to all of the rain we had last night. We did go visit a little old lady that lives by herself in Avondale along with some of our friends from church. It was nice until Max had a nuclear detonation in his diaper that resulted in him losing his outfit for the ride home. And I'm overlooking that the boys (there were four total) knocked over the little old ladies coffee table and dumped all of the belongings on the floor, okay other than that it was nice. I really kind of felt bad b/c it was really kind of hard to visit whilst all the while worrying about the little gladiators tearing up this woman's living room. We ate at a new "restaraunt" tonight b/c we had some coupons to use, Tortugas, I have to agree with the Junkins, it's the best pizza I've had up here and the service was really really nice.
Alright, back to the pics. The first few are of the super nice nursery that we created for Briggs in house #1. I repainted the walls a nice color of blue with a yellow border that we stenciled with a nursery rhyme. Leslie's dad and I even air brushed some clouds on the ceiling, it was really nice. I'm guessing Briggs slept in it maaaybe 9 nights, total. Well, more than that but a very small amount nontheless. We moved out of the house right before Briggs' second birthday. Moral of the story, we didn't "do" anymore super nursery's after that one.
The others are the ultrasound pic of Briggs and obviously the delivery room.
Wow we didn't take a lot of pictures before the kids. In looking back, I'm going to skip 2001 b/c when i look in that folder, mostly what i find are golf pictures, cats, and flowers (tons of flowers, day lilies to be exact). We got our first video camera that year since I was working at Sony, and my video to picture ratio leaned heavily to video in the old days. Lately I've been doing pictures almost exclusively, so I'm sure as I get closer to the present day I'm going to have way too much material to put in here. Anywho, things i remember from Y2K, well besides the world nearly freaking out b/c the computers were supposedly all going to crash, thankfully Clint had his arsenal at the ready and Scott had us well supplied to survive post New Years Eve. Back then we stayed at the Crossroads till midnight (pre-kids) and we even splurged on those fun poppers that shot confetti into the ceiling fan, immature I know but that'll be a common theme in this blog, but man was it fun!
We both graduated in 1999 and the little pink house above was our first house, it was great and fit us well for many years, well until Briggs and his toys ran us out. It was a new neighborhood (Grove Park) and the first few years were kind of scary before it really took off. We ended up owning three separate houses in GP and Briggs still refers to them as our #1, 2, and 3 houses. The hole in the ceiling came from when I was trying to install some surround sound speakers on my own. I was doing soooo good, just barely stepped on the sheet rock and man that stuff broke easily. I wasn't hurt and I remember Leslie coming around the corner seeing my leg sticking through the ceiling and saying she just knew I had fallen through. I had mixed feelings, mad at myself for being so stupid and clumsy and thankful it wasn't any worse. Good times.
Leslie behind the lawn mower is something of an optical illusion. To this day she maintains that she has never cut the grass. Her uncle Scott and on another day our pastor at the time bailed her out from having to cut the grass, technically. I had broken my leg from sliding into third (dislocated my ankle too and reset it myself - booya!) anyway, i was on crutches for a few weeks and this pic will probably be the only one we'll ever have of her anywhere near a lawn mower.
The one of Leslie, her mom, dad, and Gunner was at an ice cream social at Southside Baptist Church. It's the first picture I have with Gunner in it, I'll never forget when he joined the family. Understandably he was a completely different child back then, but he's growing into a fine young man, quickly I might add.
The last one from 2000 is a picture of me (the tall guy) and the Sony Volleyball team. I have no idea what we got a trophy for, doesn't seem like we won the Championship or anything but apparently we won something. It was fun though, the one and only volleyball team I was on.
On to 2002 and the new addition to the fam!
Alright, here's the plan, the next several posts are going to be of my oldest digital photos to the most recent, I'm guessing that's going to take a while to put some story behind many of them. If I get a good story in the mean time, I'll try to throw it in. So, if you're for some reason wanting to keep up with out latest happenings, you might have to skip around to find them. Sorry for any inconvenience, this reminiscing section is obviously for us to have on paper some of our experiences in the past and hopefully I'll get caught up to the present fairly soon. Most of them will probably seem pretty boring to outsiders, but I'm hoping I'll be able to recall some pretty good stories, either way it'll be a good medium for our purposes. On a selfish note, I'm kind of hoping to see an improvement in the quality of the pictures as the years have progressed, otherwise I've been wasting my money on equipment and time spent practicing :-).
While I'm on the subject of Easter, I might as well post some pics from last year as well. Leslie's Dad took the time to come out to the egg hunt, it was pretty obvious he had a great time helping out with his four grandsons. I'm sorry future Max for the bunny ears, you too will learn to pick your battles with whomever you end up marrying :-). Briggs was trying to look awfully smooth in his baby blues during the hunt. Wow those '07 outfits were shiny! I mean seriously, if I had used a flash I think I would have blinded myself, wow.
These are from this past Easter as well. After church on Sunday we always go out to The Crossroads for lunch and play. The first one is from the egg hunt, one of my favorites of that day, it's a good picture of Leslie and Max, and reminds me of how much I love to smell my boys' hair, not b/c I'm bald :-), just b/c there's something about it, it's just...exquisite. Leslie always makes the boys' outfits (the white ones) and does an amazing job (can't get a button sewn on my pants, but that's another story altogether). Thanks to Sue for cooking all morning that day, it's always good, and she always has plenty of her famous chocolate chip cookies to feed the growing horde of mouths that show up every year. This year Scott added a swing rope and a climber thing for everyone to play on, I think Briggs enjoyed them the most. Another great Easter spent with family.
Well, here goes nothing. Thanks to my friend Scott for introducing me to the world of family "blogging". I have to admit, at first I thought blogging was kind of something just for other people to do on just a wide range of topics, and in the end, maybe it will end up being that way. I hope not however, my hope is that Leslie and I will be able to document some of the life and times of our family for years to come and end up with something of a journal that we and our extended families can enjoy.
As such, most of my writings will be geared toward those that already know us. If you're reading this and you don't know us, well, welcome and good luck figuring us out.
At the time of this first posting the family unit consists of myself, my first wife Leslie, Briggs, and Max. Briggs is currently five years old, weighs in at a svelte 46 pounds, is closely approaching 4' in height, and is maxing out on the bench at around 135 lbs (kidding). Max as of today is 18 months old, lean and mean at 25 pounds, and near as I could measure whilst he was on the run, he's coming in at at 32 inches in height, we've delayed weight lifting to allow the steroids to kick in...
I like to take a LOT of pictures and I will try to post some from time to time and put some story behind them. My plan, if you can call it one, is to back post some older pictures and try to recall the stories behind them as well. The ones above are from Easter. I prefer candid shots, it's a good thing because that is what I end up with most of the time with the boys anyway. That day, as most now, Max didn't want to stand still and almost never walks anywhere, it's a full tilt run. It was his first Easter egg hunt, he did fine except he hated the pine straw. Briggs was on top of a bouncy slide thingy-ma-jig that like all boys, he had a great time with. The last is of Briggs sharing his water. Despite their age difference, they get along great, and I sure hope Briggs continues his trend of being such a well behaved son, because Max wants to do whatever his big brother is doing. Gotta run, we missed about 30 minutes of our evening due to being stuck in the basement for yet another tornado warning, seems like we have them at least once a month. Now it's dinner time, a re-creation of one of our favorite Dothan 'restaraunts', Honey's!