The Water, the Waffles, and the Birthday Ukulele (A Haines Home Companion)

Allume stole Amber for the weekend. In retaliation, I am committing a grand larceny (how grand, indeed!), and thieving Amber’s blog for the day. So hang on to you false teeth, because we’re doing this Haines Home Companion Seth style!

Fall has officially blown into the Ozarks, and we’re trying our best to squeeze the last kind-weathered days out of the year. It’s come a cold autumn season, and the morning temperatures are low enough to fog every breath. This is the best season, if you ask me. It’s the season of coming colors, of pumpkin and spice, of Haines’ birthday, after Haines’ birthday, after Haines’ birthday. That’s right, October brings three different birthdays to our house, which is to say that by the end of the month, we’ve blown all of our discretionary income on celebrating good times–Come On! (This, I might add, is not a bad way to blow your discretionary income.)

This year, Ike decided he’d rather forego the typical third grade birthday party. Instead, he asked whether we could take a father-son bike trip deep into the heart of the Ozarks. I agreed, in large part because I well recognize that a day is coming when the ole boy might not have as much time for the ole pops–a sobering thought, no doubt. So, we loaded up the bikes and headed for the Frisco Highline Trail.

At 36 miles, the Frisco Trail is a bit much for third-grader. After all, an out-and-back on the trail would amount to 72 miles, which is the distance between San Antonio and Austin. Since most people use cars to drive those distances, we decided to cut the trail down a bit, and chose a route that totaled a mere 24 miles.

Frisco Trail

Ike fancies himself a wilderness master, and finds every living creature along every nature trail. In addition to buffalo, a few stray dogs, two  box turtles, and a chipmunk, Isaac found these two little guys along the trail. To their reptilian and amphibian dismay, I’m sure, they were not nimble enough to escape Ike’s cat-like reflexes or my camera lens.

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 And just in case you have any questions about Isaac’s love for nature, take a peek at his third-grade essay on the platypus. Did you know the platypus has a squat body and “poison that causes pain?”


It is Ian’s birthday month, too. If hindsight could be applied in retrospect (think about it), I suppose we should have named him Zack, because the kid is a Lego maniac. His happy birthday? More Legos, please!


At this stage of life, your own birthday becomes a lesser celebration. This is fine by me. After all, who really wants to be reminded that they’re one year farther down the road of adult responsibilities? Who really wants to face the annual barrage of grownup questions? Am I raising well-adjusted kids? Is my career on track? How’s my bank account doing? What about retirement (that’s just around the corner you know!)? And so on. And so forth.

Amber was at Allume for my birthday, but before she left, she coordinated a pooling of birthday funds and bought me the coolest little ukulele this side of the Mississippi. If you could see the wood grain, you’d know that it’s spalted maple. What’s “spalted” you ask? I don’t know, but it’s wicked awesome! Anyhow, since Amber was not around to throw a proper party, and since Siri failed miserably

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I made due, and threw my own birthday party. This is not nearly as pitiful as it sounds. In fact, it was most enjoyable! This is my friend Hope Ray. She works at my favorite little coffee shop, and helped me toss this party that included conical hats, candles, and a ukulele led sing-along.

Today, the boys test for the yellow belts in karate. If’n you think about it, perhaps you could offer a prayer? One of the three is a little less skilled than the others, and though we are tempering his hopes, we sure would like for him to move up with the other two. Even if hr doesn’t, don’t they look great in uniform?


For those of you who have taken to praying for Titus these days, thank you. Your prayers for his growing appetite are working, although in the oddest of ways. His favorite meals these days include waffles with ketchup and peanut butter,


and smoothies with Chocolate coconut ice cream and spinach.

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Yes, we’re hanging in here at the Haines house, trying to make all things hold together. We haven’t unraveled yet, and this is the surest sign of a grace sufficient for the next day. And that, I reckon, is more than enough.

About me


A Haines Home Companion: Go a Different Way
May 02, 2014


Tara Owens
Reply October 26, 2013

Praying for the one with a little less facility, that he would know that he's nothing little and nothing less, no matter the outcome.

Diana Trautwein
Reply October 26, 2013

You do have the most beautiful children! Hoping all three boys had a great experience today. And always, holding sweet Titus in my mind's eye, before the throne.

Happy Birthday, Seth! Very glad you were born.

    Reply October 29, 2013

    It was a grand week, D. And thanks for keeping T in your prayers.

Reply October 29, 2013

I'm so glad Allume stole Amber for the weekend because she was a highlight of the whole thing for me. That wife of yours is fantastic and I'm so looking forward to the next time we get to hang out. Happy Birthday Seth :)

    Reply October 29, 2013

    Thanks, Suzie! And yes... she is quite the highlight. :)

Reply October 29, 2013

I was at Allume as well! Celebrated my own bday there with myself! Didn't have the wonderful chance to meet your Amber there, but maybe another time :)

Joanna Leuven
Reply December 20, 2013

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