Lynn officially joined the 40 club. To celebrate, I invited her family over for dinner and cooked some of my best food. On the weekend we took a quick getaway to Austin. Actually, we stayed at a house in the middle of a 200+ acre working ranch outside of the city. Cattle, horses, and chickens... livin' that Texas cowboy life.
Thanks to one student testing positive for COVID-19 in Andrew's class, he now has to quarantine for 14 days. He seemed fine but we got him tested (PCR) just to be sure, which came back negative. But according to the school district, he couldn't return anyway.
A negative test result after close contact exposure does not replace the need to quarantine and monitor for symptoms. Ugh. So with the winter break in a couple of weeks, Andrew is not coming back to school until 2021. Lucky him. 😑
We made a weekend trip to The Hill Country (west of Austin and north of San Antonio) to explore a couple of state parks in the area, Garner State Park and Lost Maples State Natural Area. And for this trip, I told them not to pack any electronic devices. I'm sick of seeing them on their phone or computer, especially when they're with others. Go play. Go outside. Talk to each other. Anything!
My dad rented a fishing house for all of us, in what seems to becoming an annual tradition. He liked the idea after I had booked a fishing house for his 70th birthday last year. Overall, it was a good time for the grandparents and the grandkids. As for me, well... I don't really enjoy fishing. But I know, it's not always about me.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I ❤ Colorado. This was our seventh road trip to Colorado since 2018. We stayed in Silverthorne this time around, which was nearby Frisco and Dillon, and a short drive to Breckenridge... exploring more of Summit County.
It's been over six years since we took a trip without any kids so we were long overdue for a getaway. And we did so with Getaway. It's camping but instead of sleeping outside in a tent, we had a tiny house with basic amenities... so glamping.
We created Getaway to give people time, space, and permission to be off. Our tiny cabins in nature provide a break from the city, technology, and work, so that you can recharge and reconnect to who and what matters most.
Last week, we took a family beach vacation to Gulf Shores, AL. And when I say family, I mean the entire family... from Lynn's side (my in-laws). For 6 nights, we had 29 people under one roof... And we were still missing a few people!
On paper, it sounds daunting but my aunts and mother-in-law had it under control. There was a lot of planning prior, from who's bring what to setting a daily menu... from breakfast to dinner. Even though one family would be responsible for one day of cooking, it seemed like they were always in the kitchen... helping, prepping, cleaning, etc. Hopefully they were able to enjoy themselves, to relax and make it an actual vacation.
By the second day, I was content. There's only so much you can do on the beach. And I was a bit defeated when I lost two canopies. Our big canopy was broken on the first day when a sudden storm with strong winds blew through. Then a few days later, my aunt's big canopy flew into my personal canopy, destroying both. This beach kicked my ass. 😑
Andrew's current interest is sport/racing cars and he's been on a streak of drawing cars. To do so, he looks up pictures on the internet and draws with his laptop beside him. His pictures are really good.
Elliot (being the impressionable 4 year old) had to do the same. And her drawing was of her current interest... Disney's Frozen. The resemblance is uncanny!
This year was the first Easter that we didn't spend with family since... hmmm. I honestly don't remember the last time we weren't together on Easter Sunday because it probably never happened. And it's been tradition to have an annual egg hunt for the younger kids but sadly, COVID-19 came into the world. But I wasn't going to let a virus deny the kids of an egg hunt.
As mentioned on the previous post, we were out of town for Spring Break and that's when things started to get "crazy". Cases of COVID-19 started to increase and people began to panic buy. Hand sanitizer was already hard to find (understandable) but toilet paper was impossible to come by. For the life of me, I will never understand why. Why would people hoard toilet paper during a pandemic? And it just so happen that our supply was low before we left for our vacation (only 3 rolls left).
It's been only three months since our last trip to Colorado but I just can't get enough. This trip had us back in Leadville, making it the third year in a row we came for Spring Break. This vacation had some hiccups along the way and potential for disaster. On the first day we arrived, we suffered crazy altitude sickness (hiccup #2 - see below for the first one). My head felt like it was going to explode! Weird because I never had this issue before. But we quickly recovered and overall it was a good trip.
I'm nearly 40 years old. Before signing up for a marathon, I never ran. I hated running. For exercise I would do other things (strength train, BJJ) so I wasn't a complete slob. But I essentially went from zero running to running a marathon. And here's how I did it...
Disclaimer: I’m not an expert by any means. I’m barely a runner. But I sought advice from experienced runners (books, blogs, friends, YouTube) and tried to put it all together in a concise manner.
It's hard to believe that Jacob is now 14 years old. I'm only about an inch taller than him but it won't be too long until he surpasses me. And his voice is slowly starting to change. Hello, puberty. He's doing well in school, making excellent grades in subjects that are way advanced for the typical 8th grader, e.g. physics and geometry. His favorite sports team is still Liverpool FC (as seen in any picture of him). He's a good big brother to his little sister, who's nearly 10 years younger. He's an overall good kid.
Every week Jacob and a few of his classmates stay back after class for the school's rocket club. The kids were recently featured on Houston Life (Channel 2) where they summarized it best: Rodeo Palms Junior High students are learning how to build rockets with specific objectives. This year, the models must carry an egg 800 feet in the air, stay airborne for 40 seconds and land without cracking the egg. The after-school club meets on Saturdays at NASA to test and launch their rockets.
Last weekend was full of celebrations. On Friday night, Lynn and I celebrated our 11th anniversary (with food, drinks and cake). Saturday, cousin Chi Thu got married, ceremony in the morning, followed by a reception at night. On that same night, we made a brief stop (on the way home from the reception) to sister-in-law Julie's 40th birthday party. Sunday we celebrated Tết/Chinese New Year at my in-laws, simultaneously doing a baby shower for cousin Denise. Afterwards we went to my parents' house to celebrate (and gamble) with them.