What do you know about Gulf Shores, Alabama? If you answered nothing, that was my response too. This semi-spontaneous trip started in June, when my boss (once again) required that I take a day off in July. From there, I was like let's take a family trip. But where? We always wanted to try Destin but being that it was so late to book a house, we had to think of an alternative. A nurse at one place that I work at mentioned that she went to Gulf Shores and actually preferred it over Destin. Wow. She said it was just a nice but less crowded, closer and cheaper. That makes sense... who ever thinks of going to Alabama when going to the beach? I was sold. And that's where we were last weekend.
Summer is the time for birthdays. First there's my mom's birthday in June, then my dad's in July, then my birthday in August and then Tyson's birthday a couple days after mine. Whew. And I'm not even counting all the relatives and in-laws who also have summer birthdays because it's a lot. So last weekend, we got together to celebrate my dad's birthday.
While almost everyone was off on July 4th, I actually had to work. Yes, someone out there is playing the world's smallest violin for me. But all was not lost. After work, I went over to Lynn's aunt house to spend time with the in-laws where we swam, ate and watched some World Cup action. Later that night, we went to Miller Outdoor Theatre to catch the Houston Symphony and a fireworks display afterwards. But unfortunately we got there late (due to horrible traffic and parking) and could only find a spot on the other side of the hill, meaning you could barely hear the music. And due to the earlier downpour, the ground was soaking wet. The rain was on and off which pushed the fireworks back until 10:30 pm, i.e. wayyy past the boys' bedtime. But in the end, it all paid off.
Ever since Tyson's awesome arrival, we've been going to Empire Cafe for brunch on Father's Day. The food isn't even that good (we go primarily for the coffee) but we gotta keep the tradition going. Three years in a row and counting. So along with the kids' handmade cards and drawings (which is all that I need), I also got gifts from them this year. And I got... Pokemon cards! Gotta catch 'em all!
I’m moving. I don’t know when but I’m moving away from Texas. All of my life I assumed summer meant hot, miserable weather. I thought that was just the facts of life. But only until recently, I discovered that was not the case. There can actually be nice, cool weather during the summer. It was quite mind blowing. And that magical place is the West Coast. So that’s where I’ll be relocating but which city? The only one left to explore was Portland.
Another kid finishes kindergarten. Oh my, how they're growing up so fast. Andrew had an awesome year (maybe better than Jacob when he went to kindergarten). He got Student of the Month in October and was chosen for the Citizenship Award in his class. I think it's awarded to the most helpful person in the class, a team player. Well that's my assumption since they didn't explain it during the ceremony. And he got straight A's for the year (of course). Being the stereotypical Asian parent, anything less would have been punishable by death. Just kidding... sort of.
The extended weekend began Friday night when we (sans kids) met up friends at Winston's to celebrate my friend Thu's birthday. I honestly can't recall when Lynn and I last went out to "drink" but it's been a long time. I remember the pre-kid days when we used to each drink 64 oz mugs of cheap lite beer. Those days are long gone now. I don't consider myself a beer snob but since the boom of craft beer, there's no way I'm going back to that piss water. As for Lynn, she's not much of a drinker anymore. That's no problem as I gladly drank for two.
This is the only "Day" holiday that I can think of that actually lasts longer than one day. Why? Because we have so many mothers. You have your mom, your mother-in-law, grandma(s) and baby mama (hopefully you only have one).
If you ask any parent what their plans are for the weekend, more times than not, it will involve a kid's party (either attending or hosting one). And the more kids you have, the higher the chance you will be spending your weekend at a kid's party. And if you have a big extended family, forget about it. Last weekend was more of the same (celebrated Collin's birthday at the Kemah Boardwalk) but this time I went without parental help (Lynn) or my eldest, helpful son (Jacob) and brought Andrew and Tyson with me. This had disaster written all over it.
My boss "forced" me to take PTO (paid time off) in April so I gladly obliged by taking off last Monday. I love being off on weekdays, especially when everyone is either at work or school. The city is so calm... well, less chaotic. So this was how I spent my day off... as seen through the eyes of Tyson and myself... with the use of my cell phone and Android's default camera app (picture filter #4).