What was supposed to be a nice weekend trip to Dallas (Arlington to be specific) for a wedding of Lynn's old family friend turned out to be much more than we had expected. The plan was to bring the two little ones, leaving behind the two big boys since they had soccer games scheduled. The day before leaving, Tyson got the dreaded pink eye at school and was sent home early. Then later Elliot spikes a fever and is quickly not feeling well. Uh oh... but we can't not go. But we also can't leave all the kids behind, especially two sick kids. There was nothing left to do but power through.
On Sunday, I popped my (racing) cherry when I completed the Houston Half Marathon. This was all to prepare for the upcoming Houston Marathon in January 2020. I've never participated a road race before... 5K, 10K, anything... so it wouldn't have been smart to have the full marathon be my first one.
For me, the Houston Half was to experience the process of a race... to see if there are any issues that might arise... to see what works. Here's what I did and the lessons I learned.
The temperature finally dropped to feel like fall weather and the kids had a 4-day weekend for Columbus Day so we made a quick trip up north to the State Fair of Texas. It's been nine years since we last went together as a family. Since then, we added two more kids and the ones that did go have no memory of their prior visit. All things considered, it was a good time to visit the biggest state fair in the country once again.
When it rains in Houston, there's always a chance of local flooding. So when a hurricane or tropical storm comes, flooding is guaranteed. It began on Wednesday when Tropical Storm Imelda made landfall. The school district canceled all classes so everyone got to stay home. The day was pretty uneventful, raining on and off, nothing too heavy. On Thursday, schools were open and we're back to our regular schedule... or so we all thought.
Football season officially begins and our whole family is playing fantasy football for the first time this year. Why? Because now we'll have a reason to watch any random NFL game that's currently on. It'll also help us learn the current players in the league. Like who's Saquon Barkley or Nick Chubb? *shrug* Apparently the top running backs. But what I really like is that sports bring us together, whether it's watching it or talking about it. And playing fantasy adds an element of friendly competition and trash talking.
Our Labor Day weekend was spent outside... literally all day long... in the heat... both Saturday and Sunday... for soccer. Now that Jacob's playing in a competitive league, we now have to travel for both big boys. Luckily they played in the same tournament. But that also meant we had to stay for twice as many games. It's gonna be a long season...
School is back in session. And with that, all four kids are going to four different schools. Andrew is now in junior high (6th grade), leaving Tyson (3rd grade) as the only family member in elementary school. Jacob (8th grade) is also in junior high but is bused to another school since he's in the STEM program. Which leaves Elliot, who officially started going to preschool/Mother's Day Out. She was so excited to being going to school, just like her big brothers. They're all growing up so fast! 😭
Although we celebrated Tyson's birthday earlier, we had another celebration for him on his actual birthday. We gave him the two things he wanted: a sleepover with his cousins and to play video games. So I setup a LAN party so that he could play StarCraft 2 (currently his favorite game) along with other multiplayer games. It was a weekend of non-stop gaming for my video game addict.
A LAN party is a gathering of people with computers or compatible game consoles, where a local area network (LAN) connection is established between the devices using a router or switch, primarily for the purpose of playing multiplayer video games together. (source: Wikipedia)
We time traveled to celebrate the fact that I'm another year older. We stayed at an 80's themed house in Dallas where the walls were painted in a bright color palette. Beds fitted with retro sheets. Artifacts dispersed throughout the house, e.g. cassette boombox, Sony Watchman, original NES console. It even had a TMNT arcade machine and a McDonald's Officer Big Mac jailhouse in the backyard playground. It truly felt like we traveled back in time. And to go along with the nostalgia theme, we also visited the National Videogame Museum. It was fun to show the kids a glimpse of my childhood. And of course, we ate a lot of good (unhealthy) food. It was totally radical.
I ❤ Colorado. We frequent The Centennial State to ski/snowboard but haven't been during the summer. I've always heard it was nice during that time but wanted to experience it myself. This would be our fourth trip to Colorado since 2018. At this rate, we may as well move there...
So we packed up the minivan and went on another road trip. Even though we're on the road for two solid days each way, it's actually not that bad. I like exploring new places along the way. Or even going to a random Walmart in the middle of nowhere... you never know what you might find.
Last weekend we surprised Tyson with an early birthday celebration. For one, we're going to be traveling back to back so just in case we're too busy to plan anything, at least we can say we did this for him. Two, his birthday is forever close to mine (two days after) so this spreads out the birthday celebrations. Three, I was going to give him a laptop for his birthday but wanted him to have it now so that can he make use of it during our trip. And Andrew saw right through me. Right after Tyson unwrapped the laptop, Andrew says, "Ohhhhh. Now I know why we're celebrating his birthday early." Obviously, I had to lie and told him he was wrong.
To celebrate my dad's milestone birthday, we got a waterfront house for the weekend so he can do what he enjoys most... fishing. But with what would eventually become Hurricane Barry approaching, I was close to canceling the trip. Can't really fish with a storm barreling in. But on the final day to cancel (without losing tons of money), we decided to keep the reservation. And it paid off. It didn't even rain in Galveston except for a few spotty light sprinkles. My dad thoroughly enjoyed fishing and so did the kids (especially Andrew).
Father's Day started early for me with an Astros game on Wednesday night. But why this particular game? To get the Springer bobblehead! The game itself saw Verlander get a career high in strikeouts (15 K's) but unfortunately the 'Stros lost the game in extra innings.
I love that the kids are into watching sports. It gives us a reason to all come together. To root for the same team, for the most part. When it comes to the Premier League, each kid has their own favorite team. The best games are when they go against each other, e.g. Liverpool vs Manchester City. They get so into it. Tears have been shed. But I digress, I like how sports bring us closer together.
Andrew is officially done with elementary school. And the first thing that came to mind was that we'll have kids attending three different schools at the start of the next school year. Oh, the logistics. Anyway, Andrew received the Citizenship Award and the Perfect Attendance Award. The latter is actually more surprising than anything else. Yay to us parents for not being conned by a "sick" kid.
Tyson also got the Citizenship Award, making it three years in a row! Jacob made all A's once again; a feat considering his "I can't really comprehend anything to help you" STEM curriculum. He also got the Engaged Student Award, which I was going to toss in the recycling bin, until he said only a select few received that award. I'm proud of all my boys.
Memorial Day weekend began with what else, soccer. Andrew's team did the 5v5 Memorial Day Classic (which they won last year) but came up short based on the (whack) scoring system. They went undefeated. Scored the most points. Had the biggest point differential. But yet, finished third. 🤷
Sunday was spent with the in-laws. More fun in the sun. And Monday was just grill and chill time at home with our family. It was a much needed break from the fun but exhausting weekend. 🌞
Saturday I invited my mom (and dad) over for dinner to celebrate Mother's Day. Texas BBQ brisket was the main course but this time around, I cooked it via sous vide. Low maintenance. Super tender. The days of smoking a piece of meat for 12-16 hours might be over. For dessert was the giant chocolate cake from Costco that I've been craving for weeks. Mother's Day was just an excuse to satisfy my inner fat boy.
Sunday morning the kids and I made breakfast for Lynn followed by a brunch buffet at Churrascos with the rest of the family. Okay, I'm done eating.
This past weekend we took the kids to the Houston Dynamo game... But I was this close (my thumb and index finger only an inch apart) to calling it off. As we were getting ready to leave, the kids were fighting... over the dumbest thing... again. It's usually between Andrew and Tyson but this time all three boys were mad at each other. And what were they fighting about? About the potential of them fighting. It began with a comment, "I can't sit next to you because we might fight."
According to Wikipedia, a utility player is "one who can play several positions competently." This is true of Andrew. In soccer, he can play any position on the field (which can't be said of many of his teammates but I'm not going to rant). But what makes him the ultimate utility player is his ability to play whatever, whenever.
What the hell is a bomb cyclone? I've never heard of that term until our recent spring break trip to Colorado. According to the local news, "The March 2019 'bomb cyclone' was the strongest ever recorded in Colorado." Oh, great. We were essentially buried under the white fluffy stuff. It looks pretty when you're warm and cozy inside but it's a motherf*cker if you have to actually go somewhere. This trip would be our second time to Leadville but after this wintry blast, I might have to reconsider coming back again.
This past weekend was the annual IBJJF Houston Open, where I came to support everyone who competed. It was definitely less stressful being on the other side of the railing... though it's still a little nerve wracking watching your friends compete. Here are a few pictures I took from the event.
This past weekend was filled with celebrations. On Saturday, Jacob officially became a teenager (gasp) and to celebrate this milestone, he had an escape room party with his friends (and brothers... because you can't not invite them). On Sunday we were part of Lynn's uncle's surprise 50th birthday party. His wife went all out and it had the ambience of a nice wedding reception. Happy tears were shed. Well deserved. Afterwards we went for my family's (cousins) Tet celebration. Takeaway: Andrew is lucky... and quite the gambler. It's his year though, the year of the pig.
Ten years. It's been a decade since we each said, "I do." Like the song says, "First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes baby in a baby carriage." And plenty of babies we had (four kids, if you didn't already know) so it wasn't possible to do anything "big" to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. We decided on a quick weekend getaway to Waco to do all things Magnolia (Magnolia Table, Magnolia Market, Silos Baking Company). But even a short trip without the kids was difficult because we are forever busy. We had to call in the reinforcements... but I'll get to that later.
My long time friend (John) who I've known since the second grade (30+ years) was getting promoted to Lieutenant Colonel at The Pentagon so I wanted to be there when that happened. The initial plan was to take everyone and make it into a family vacation. But airfare to DC was pricey... multiply that by six... ouch. Plan B, road trip to DC. But during the planning phase, there were reports of snow storms across that region and I thought, I don't want to get stranded in the middle of nowhere, let alone drive through that. Plan C, I'll fly but only take the boys. But ticket prices never decreased and actually went up. Plan D, I'll go solo.