Dallas Fire Academy Burn Night

My brother, Johnny, finished the first part of his training as a Dallas firefighter and is now officially a rookie. His class showed us several things they have learned: rappelling, church raise, helio something, burn house, propane tank simulation. Elise had fun watching and cheering on the firefighters.

Elise clapping for the firefighters.

Johnny’s biggest part was the burn house. He was on the engine that responded first, Engine 54, and he was the guy on the nozzle which means he operated the hose in the fire. He was the first one to enter the fire. In the video, he’s the one kneeling down at the door; then you sprays of water coming out of the house after he enters until he finishes. You also here Elise and I talking a lot, so it’s pretty well narrated. 🙂

Then after officially becoming rookies and shortly before the closing prayer, the chaplain said, “There’s a young man that has something to say, but I’m not sure which one it is.” And Johnny stepped forward to propose to his girlfriend Erin. He had been nervous that something would happen like the chaplain or instructors would forget to give him time to propose, but it was perfect. They’re engaged!

My brother, Johnny, and future sister-in-law, Erin

3 Days of Ice and Now Snow

So, this morning after being home 3 days because of ice, we woke up and were surprised to see everything covered in snow. We got 6 inches instead of 1 inch. Elise wanted to go out in it, so I bundled her up much to her dismay. She wanted to wear her crocs and t-shirt not jacket, boots, and scarf. She only lasted about 10 minutes, so we have  a few pictures and a link (Checking out the Snow) to the video. Enjoy and stay warm!

Checking out the Snow

Lounging vs Training

So these days, I’m not into doing much. I did pull Elise around the block in her wagon when we had 70 degree weather, but mostly I try to just sit. Elise has generally given up on me playing on the floor with her when her dad’s around; she’s giving me lots of floor time off. (On this lovely snow and ice day, she and her dad are playing legos on the floor as I type.) Elise and I have become great at watching movies together on the couch. And my growing belly which Elise loves to comment on is going to keep me off the floor for awhile.

26-27 weeks

Now, other people, like my younger brother Johnny, are doing a lot of physical activity. Johnny is in the Dallas Fire Academy, and he has been sending me videos of things he has to do which are much harder than sitting on the couch.

The first video he sent me was of the church raise. A church raise (if I understood correctly) consists of climbing a 45 ft ladder sticking straight up in the air, locking your legs, and then doing a back bend like you would need to if you were changing a light bulb in a church. Then you climb over the ladder and down the other side, but don’t worry there’s some cushions at the bottom in case you fall. I’m out on that. In the video Johnny says, “I can’t reach sir.” He was supposed to reach his foot down to the third rung before he locked his legs and bent backward. But after he says that you see blue sky, so he still managed to do the back bend.

Then the second video he sent was of him doing ventilation where you cut a hole in the roof. You simply put on your gear – suit is 15-20 lbs, SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) is 47.6 lbs. when filled with air, and carry a 6-8 lb axe. Then climb up the ladder and swing away. Again, out on that. I did not miss my calling in life. Oh, and you need to do this skills test in under 5 minutes or you’re fired. No pressure. Johnny’s ventilation video is 1:39s, so he’s good. I like that you can hear the other guys cheering him on and saying, “Let’s go Fairleigh,” and when he delivers the final blow to the middle of the wood. Check it out.


While we were in Houston, Elise had plenty of time to play with her 9 month old cousins, Olive and Vivian. Elise loved playing with them; she just didn’t want mommy to hold the babies. One time Elise went so far as to say, “No, that’s not your momma. That’s not your baby,” as she threw herself on the floor. I do think we are in for a little adjustment when little Maggie comes along. 🙂

The Zoo

This Tuesday, Annie and Elise took advantage of time off from school to go to Dollar Day at the Dallas Zoo. Here are some pictures and videos from their trip. If you haven’t checked out the new Giants of the Savanna habitat, it’s worth the trip.

Happy Birthday to Elise!

Last Friday, June 11, Elise turned 2. This post may be a little late, but don’t worry we captured the moment with photos and video. And though we tried, Elise didn’t actually eat cake or ice cream; she just wanted the purple icing – silly girl.

What A Year!

Merry Christmas!

Wow, what a year it has been. Believe it or not, one year ago today we arrived at DFW airport with little Elise in tow. Here’s the last video from our Vietnam trip:

One year later, we celebrated our first traditional Christmas morning (no international flights). Elise came downstairs to discover a new kitchen and a backyard blanketed in snow. Naturally, we captured everything on video:

What a difference a year makes! We hope your Christmas was a great one.

Wake Up!

Waking up Elise every morning for school is a pretty funny process. Emphasis on the word process.

Goodbye, Summer

It has been quite a weekend in McClellan Town, let me tell you. Why? Well, the little one came down with the flu! Our three-day holiday weekend turned into wrangling an ailing but active toddler … not exactly what we had planned. The good news is that Elise’s fever has subsided and me and Annie managed to keep from coming down with flu bugs of our own.

The other good news is that Annie and I put together a little summer highlight reel of some of our favorite Elise moments (that we managed to capture on video anyway). Grab a bag of popcorn and enjoy: