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Children’s Hospital Emergency Services Visit

Cinco de Mayo, a Super Moon and an ER Visit

Ever heard of a “SuperMoon?” Don’t feel astronomically challenged if you have not, over forty years old and I am just now hearing of this myself. In short, a “SuperMoon” is a term used to signify when the Moon appears to be closest to Earth. This past May fifth was one such astrological event and what I thought would be a fun Saturday night star and moon gazing activity with Kim and the kids but my good intentions turned eerily disastrous.

I’ll have to rewind the story to earlier in day… Not too far back tho… Early evening, I had mixed up a frozen batch of margaritas, it was Cinco de Mayo after all, and I had mentioned to Kim the coincidental fact that a super moon and the traditional south of the border springtime celebration coincided. (I’m not sure the history of Cinco de Mayo. Perhaps Mexico’s independence day? What I am sure of tho is that on this day we drink margaritas and eat Mexican cuisine). A plan was hatched to enjoy a couple frozen beverages, down a few tacos, dust off the telescope and find the binoculars for a fun night of sky watching. Harmless, right?

Around 8:30pm I scouted for the best spot to set up the telescope. The luminescent glow of a big bright moon was breaking the horizon line behind a row of tall trees directly across the cul-du-sac from our house. Attempting to find a decent lunar gazing location was frustrating, finding a clear shot of the ascending moon was impossible and it would take at least thirty to forty minutes for the moon to rise above the trees.

Higher ground is what we needed and I told the family that we must walk up the street to the elementary school for a clear unobstructed view, (ie, I begged Kim). Mobilizing quickly, the kids stayed in their pajamas and flash-like found flashlights. I cautiously disassembled the telescope and gently placed it in our green and red Little Tykes wagon with Sophie who was playing flashlight tag, my face being her target. Everyone except Hailey was excited for our sky watching expedition. She sometimes has issues with unanticipated change of plans, her main complaints being that she was in her nightgown and didn’t want to walk up the ‘big’ hill to the school. She had many other grievances as we marched toward our destination and I’m not even sure what those grumblings were; I let her cries drown in the bask of an ever brightening moon-lit sky.

Keeping track? It is now 9pm, we have four tired (one incendiary) yet excited little girls, a gargantuan full moon, Kim and I had consumed a pitcher of frozen Margaritas. What could possibly go wrong?

With flashlights brazened, we trudged up the “big” hill, (something we do almost every school day morning) to a steep narrow staircase that leads to a side entrance of the elementary school grounds. As we crested the last cement step the SuperMoon came into full view and it was strikingly magnificent.

Olivia (8) was fascinated, pressuring me to immediately get the telescope setup and I hastily chose a dark location, (better for viewing stars, but not so great for watching children) right behind the school at the apex of three terraced fields. Hailey (7) and Kim coldly bickered. Elizabeth (4) blasted into an elliptical orbit around Olivia and me while I was focusing the telescope on the oversized moon and in her exuberance she inadvertently enticed Sophie (2) from the Little Tykes wagon to join her in ring-around-the-telescope. Worried that the two little rockets would de-orbit and crash-land into the telescope I informed them that they were in a no-fly-zone and to jet “over there” gesturing with wave of my hand to a non-descript location.

In an instant, it happened: I had focused the moon into view and was making a slight adjustment for Olivia to have her first look. Hailey and Kim were still squabbling. Elizabeth darted down a steep shadowy incline that abruptly ends at a three foot retaining wall which drops down onto a black asphalt playground. Kim had hollered at Elizabeth as she was in mid-sprint down the hillside, “Elizabeth! Get back up here now!” Indifferent to Kim’s clear direction, Elizabeth defiantly did not stop, lunar crazed she kept on running down the hill with Sophie following closely in her contrail. Even with the reflective light of the massive moon they were both essentially flying blind. Elizabeth instantaneously stopped directly on top of the retaining wall, however Sophie did not stop and careened off the top of the wall disappearing into the darkness.

Silence, for a brief moment, frozen, for a split second and then an ear-splitting wail. My feet grew wings and carried me swiftly to Sophie. The crying was a good sign but she laid on the blacktop in a crumpled heap. I approached her cautiously reminding myself not to instantly scoop her up knowing that I could damage her little body even worse. She lay motionless for a minute and her cries were felt throughout the neighborhood. Rapidly scanning her body I couldn’t see anything dreadful although even with the radiant moonlight, it was too dark to see. She reached up for me and slowly drew herself into my arms. As she cuddled closer I softly felt her entire body for any breaks and gingerly carried her to the meager glow of the outdoor light fixture above the back door to the school. Using one of the kids flashlights, I noticed right away a large goose egg forming on her forehead, both elbows badly scraped up and her knees a bit scuffed. Intensely scrutinizing Sophies injured little body, if anyone had been talking to me I didn’t notice or acknowledge. I’m not even sure that I explained what my intentions or plans were to Kim or the kids, I didn’t speak a word, they instinctively followed my lead.

With Sophie cradled in a one arm football hold, I picked up the telescope, threw it into the wagon and pulled it behind me. “I got this. I got this.” Kim was trying to tell me she would tend to the wagon, but we still needed to get down the steep staircase so I pulled the wagons’ front two wheels over lip of the first step and waited for Kim to pick up the rear and we carried the wagon down the steps in silence listening to our baby scream.

Briskly walking home I still hadn’t said a word.  Sophie’s cries remained a constant ear shattering high pitch. Rapid fire questions from the kids were being ignored, “Will she be ok? Is she hurt? Is she bleeding? Does she have a broken bone? Etc. Etc. Etc.  I wanted to scream, “I don’t F-ing know! Shut the F-up!” Instead I bit my lip. The short walk back home felt like one of those dreams where you are running as fast as you can but going absolutely nowhere. Then Elizabeth asked, “what happened?”

“I’ll tell you what happened! Someone didn’t listen to their mother and now Sophie will probably have to go to the Hospital!” I regretted saying this as the words involuntarily exploded out of my mouth because at that moment, Elizabeth bared the blame and her older sisters let her know this too. “Yea Elizabeth, its all your fault Sophie got hurt!” Oye, sometime I say the worst things at the wrong times and this was definitely one of those moments. Elizabeth hung her head and slowed her pace. I wanted to tell her it was not her fault that Sophie fell, yet that would have to wait because I needed more than a flashlight to examine Sophie’s injuries.

Once home Kim and I quickly determined that an ER visit would be wise. Utilizing a couple stretchy hair/head band thingys I secured an ice pack to Sophie’s swollen head, made sure I had my ID and insurance card then strapped her into the five-point safety car seat. She was bewildered and crying but not as vocally. Before departing for the hospital, I talked to Elizabeth and told her again that what happened was not her fault, however by the look of regret and sadness in her eyes, our brief chat didn’t matter, she felt responsible and worried about her baby sister.

Hospitals are second nature to me; hockey injuries, childbirths, surgeries, illnesses, etc. I have plenty of expertise with emergency rooms although this was the first ER visit for any of my children. Fortunately, our home sits within a five mile radius of at least a half a dozen hospitals .Smartly, I chose (ie, Kim directed me) the children’s emergency room at the hospital where Sophie was born. Her medical information was already in the computer system which expedited the admitting process. All that I had to do before she could see a doctor was to fill out one standard medical history form, show my ID and insurance card.

This was my first experience with a Pediatric Emergency Center and the Children’s ER at St. John’s was great. The staff was quick and friendly however I was asked the same questions from the admitting attendant, the head nurse, Sophie’s nurse, an anesthesiologist and the physician. “Explain what happened?” ‘Umm… parental negligence.’ “Did she loose consciences?” ‘Umm… I almost did.’ “Did she vomit?” ‘Umm… pretty sure my wife hurled when she saw our baby disappear over a wall or maybe it was when she saw this nasty lump growing on her forehead.’

The doctor was confident that Sophie was going to be alright. The scrapes on her elbows indicated that she shielded herself and deflected some of the impact. “Better out than in,” is what the Doc said about the swollen bump on her head and “Better in then out,” regarding our taco dinner. No x-ray, no MRI, no CT scan. The prescription; Ice for the contusion on her noggin and elbows, ib profane for the pain and  polysporin for the abrasions. We were at the children’s ER for almost three hours, it was around midnight and before we departed Sophie was her inquisitive self again, playing with the toys and games that were available to us.

Kim was still awake when we arrived home from the hospital and overwhelmingly relieved to hear the optimistic prognosis. One odd coincidence tho; Elizabeth had vomited a few times while Sophie and I were at the pediatric emergency center. Strange, was Elizabeth sickened with grief? Or was it a metaphysical ‘twin-like’ sibling connection where the side effects of the accident transposed from one sibling to the other? I believe the former rather than the latter, although it was an ominously monster sized full moon and perhaps there is something supernatural about a SuperMoon.


Miscarriage – Complete Clinical Spontaneous Abortion

Unsubscribing from a Miscarriage

Babycenter.com is a great site. Good articles, good community, good tools, loads of goodies for new and expecting parents. I used to frequent the site quite a bit as a parenting newb and when the current forums were old fashion bulletin boards I started my journal which eventually transformed into this blog. Even though I rarely lurk there anymore, I mention BabyCenter because for the past few months I have been receiving depressing emails from the site which I am having difficulty unsubscribing from. It is not a technical problem getting the emails to stop from being sent to me, sort of a user error, let me explain.

When Kim was pregnant with Olivia, which was nine years ago, a co-worker first told me about BabyCenter. Originally what attracted me and glued me to the site was the automated weekly newsletter/updates that came via email. It was great for tracking the developmental stages of all my babies and throughout the past almost decade, I  have updated my personal information adding each child to my account. I still receive weekly email articles regarding the progress of all my children. I receive one for an eight year old, one for a seven year old, one for a three and three quarter year old, one for a one and three quarter year old, sadly I receive updates for twenty week old in-utero. Sad because our fifth child never mad it past week eight.

Flashback: Only a few knew about #5, my mom was one person who knew. She took the secret to her grave and it suffocates my conscience. Excitedly I told my mom about the pregnancy, unfortunately a week later Kim miscarried. I couldn’t bear telling my mom about it and then shortly after the miscarriage it was too late to say anything.

It went like this; My mom was very sick when I told her about #5, cancer was spreading throughout her body and she was spending twenty three hours a day confined to bed. “Mom, I have something to tell you,” whispering so my sibs would not overhear. “Kim is pregnant again.”
“What!?” shocked out of her morphine stupor.
“Please don’t tell anyone yet it’s still very early.”
With her sense of humor still intact she replied, “Why would I tell anyone how stupid my son is?” Although I’m not completely sure she was joking.

That was the last real bit of conversation my mother and I had. A week after that exchange of words, I didn’t have the courage to divulge the truth and like a child that hides mistakes and misfortunes from their parents I couldn’t tell her about the miscarriage. Within a few days her conciseness had evaporated and a couple days after that she died.

Flashing-back even further: Kim sobbed holding the positive EPT stick. At that moment she didn’t want a fifth child. Unplanned and surprised about the pregnancy, she cried a lot. Conversely I was excited. Four girls, a wife, even a female dog, I was sure #5 was my boy, but I concealed my exuberance and let her use me as a punching bag, after all, it was completely “muyyyy fault.”

Over the next few days Kim’s mood was gloomy and to make things worse she knew I was happy and sanguine about it. Attempting to put an enthusiastic spin on the situation, I mentioned all the joys and love new babies inject into the family. New life, new personality, new sounds, new sibling dynamic, new responsibilities. Being that Sophie was only sixteen months old at the time, fresh Kim’s memory was, she responded with; new baby equates to, no sleep, no breaks, no money, no quiet, no sanity. “All of that is only temporary,” was my reply.

Three weeks after the positive EPT and a few days before Kim’s eight-week ultrasound she started bleeding. “Normal spotting” is what I told her and what I prayed for, however spotting was abnormal for her pregnancy history, I was secretly worried. Two days before her exam and scan she had a “complete clinical spontaneous abortion” which is how her doctor described it. I didn’t need a fancy term to make the memory of blood stained sheets and a blank ultrasound monitor more empathetic, I was crushed and Kim was saddened, tears tracked down her cheeks as the diagnostic technician departed the exam room allowing us a “few extra minutes.” Kim was, “getting used to the idea of #5.” On the car ride home I suggested we could actually try again for a fifth child, Kim said that I was crazy and with that, was the end of my dream for five.

Three months later:  Kim had it right. I am crazy. My mom had it right. I am stupid. Not in the context of wishing for another child but for the painful emotional hoarding. Why can’t I just log into BabyCenter and edit my account, removing the fifth child, so that the depressing weekly email reminders of what could have been finally cease? Letting go is not easy.

Mother’s Day Gift Idea for Dad’s with Kids

Kim! Do not read any further!
Clothes Pin Picture Frames. This craft is easy for all ages especially dads.

List of necessities: These items should be available at any craft store, or Wal-Mart, or Home Depot, or Lowe’s, any of these places will have all this stuff.

a. Several Clothes Pins (the spring kind), these will hold the pictures. Ok one quick side tip; these make great chip bag clips.
b. 1’-2’ x 4”-6” Balsa Wood, (one per child) or bass wood or you could recycle paint stirs, the 5 gallon variety work good.
c. Stick On Magnets, I prefer a big roll.
d. Glue, wood glue will work, I use hot glue gun for speed.
e. Kids washable paint, or glitter glue, or foamy sticker shapes
f. Pictures of kiddos.

Figure (a.)

Figure (a.)

Figure (b.)

Figure (b.)

Figure (c.)

Figure (c.)

Figure (d.)

Figure (d.)

Figure (e.)

Figure (e.)


First, have kiddo(s) paint, stamp, marker, sticker, glitter glue, bug shape, google eye’s, whatever’s in the craft bin on the (b.) balsa wood and several (.a) clothes pins. For our project, we have foamy dress up people, (found at craft store), that the kiddos will make portraitures from and those will be adhered to the clothes pins.

Elizabeth Painting for Mommy

Elizabeth Painting for Mommy

Second, (if applicable) take kiddos outside to play or do Mario Kart on the Wii while the paint dries.

Third, stick the (c.) magnets on the bottom of the (b.) balsa wood (hit the corners with magnets).

Forth, (d.) glue the decorated (a.) clothes pins (at least 6” apart) to (b.) balsa wood.

Fifth, more Wii or playing whatever while glue dries.

Six, open clothes pins and insert (e.) pictures.

Seven, give to baby’s momma on the special day that honors all the mommies.

Clothes Pin Picture Frame - Test Run

Clothes Pin Picture Frame - Test Run

Wii Quipped

Kim and I decided that a Wii would be a good family investment. You know, we envisioned happy scenes of the whole family playing interactive games together, exchanging high fives, cheering each other on and spending quality time together, which for the most part became reality except for a few emotional breakdowns due to extremely competitive egos which I will get to later.

When discussing the purchase, I gave Olivia and Hailey the idea of chipping in a few unredeemed gift cards from the holidays to sway the decision in favor of buying a new Wii console. Elizabeth didn’t (couldn’t) object, contributing her unspent gift card too. The fix was in. This past Sunday we piled into the Odyssey and headed to the local Toys R Us where plenty of Wii consoles were in stock. We roamed the endless overwhelming toy filled isles for hours, each of my girls (excluding Kim) indecisive about picking out a small toy and then relinquishing the remaining balance on their gift cards to collaboratively purchase the family gift. Finally Olivia picked out a Littlest Pet Shop toy, Hailey an Aurora doll and Elizabeth a new talking baby doll.

I was hesitant when it came time to enter the tighter than airport security gamer coral and asked the young helpful Toys R Us customer service girl to unlock us a Wii console. “Is this all I need?” I asked. The perky sales assistant said that I may need an extra controller; undecidedly I turned to Kim who gave me the nod. I can drop twice the amount on new inline skates or a new road bike without a second thought, but leaving the store an empty feeling kept me thinking, “Was this money well spent?”

In the van, on the ride home, I turned to Kim and said, “Happy Valentine’s Day.” She laughed and repeated the phrase back too me.

It didn’t take long to get the Wii setup, but I did have to get creative with the hookup to my ancient surround sound tuner. A lack of auxiliary space forced me to change the VCR’s (yes, we still have one), audio setup, no big deal, I got all my components working.

The kiddos love Mii. They spend most of their computer time on pixiehollow.com recreating fairies so building Mii’s came natural to them. We must have spent an hour on fashioning characters that closely resemble each of us. I secretly desired Kim’s Mii to accurately depict her as she is in real life, sultry and hot, but ironically her Mii ended up bookish.

As mentioned in the first paragraph of this post we experienced a couple emotional outbursts during game play which I am about to explain. The first game we played was Wii Sports Bowling. In the first frame, Hailey knocked down seven pins and failed to pickup any more pins on her second bowl. She stormed off, sulking her way to her room and slammed the door shut. For years I have been explaining to both Olivia and Hailey the importance of good sportsmanship. Finishing a game is an important part of being a good sport and nobody wants to play with a poor sport. Luckily I didn’t have to lecture her this time and Uncle Alan (my brother in law) was there to temporarily stand-in for Hailey’s second frame, by the third frame she had come back to the game on her own accord. Not only did she finish the game she beat Kim and me.

Another Hailey outburst occurred the following day. I had just walked in the door, home from work and Hailey was in her room crying on her bed. “What’s wrong with her” I asked Kim. She said that Hailey and Olivia were playing great together on the Wii, encouraging each other to do well and when they finished bowling Hailey got upset, presumably because she lost. I entered her room and I think she was embarrassed at her behavior because she turtled under her covers. I sat down next to her, silent for a few minutes until she was finished whimpering. “What’s wrong?” I asked. She skirted the root of the problem and said that mommy had yelled at her and wouldn’t let her play the boxing game, which was probably a diluted version of what really happened but I didn’t question any further. I told her that we would play the next day which happened to be a daddy day.

Back to my question, “Is the Wii money well spent?” Yes, I think so.


Originally posted on BabyCenter.com 09/27/07 

Kim’s Tree
Kim’s origins are rooted in Houston, her whole family lives there, except for Nana (Kim’s mom). Over due by three years for a visit, Cousin Morgan’s high school graduation was as good as any reason for us to fly down and check in on the family.

Kim booked five non-stop round trip tickets on southwest airlines for herself, Olivia, Hailey, Nana, me and thirteen pieces of luggage. Everything about the flight went smoothly, a quick take-off, hardly any turbulence and a flawless landing. It was Hailey’s first time on an airplane and she belted out a big “whoaaaa” during take off. The kiddos quietly occupied themselves by watching movies on my laptop, munching endlessly on a feed-bag of junk and crafting cards for all their relatives.

Olivia’s Carbon Footprint on Hailey
Departing from our airport at the curbside check Olivia held Hailey back from exploring into the five minute passenger drop off avenue, which is ridiculously close to the security kiosk, while Kim, Nana and I dug out our ID’s and e-conformations. Olivia involuntarily buddied-up with Hailey and they strode through the airport hand in hand on the way to the gate, rolling back packs in tow. At the security check, Olivia made sure Hailey took her shoes off, showed her how to place all her belonging in the plastic container and then how to send it through the scanner. She had Hailey line up for the metal detector and told her to go one at a time. One might think that Olivia has traveled via airplane a hundred plus times seeing her instructive behavior while jumping through all the hoops at the airport. The truth is, she has been on an airplane only two other times; recently to Utah with me for a ski trip and on our last family trip to Texas when she was ten months old.

Hailey has an adaptive learning style, partly kinesthetic and mostly visual. Sure, she has learned a few important rules from mom, dad and from an assortment of caregivers. Predominantly she parrots her older sister. For instance, at around eighteen months old, following Olivia’s lead, Hailey started using the potty. She didn’t hear one bit of direction on the finer points of using the potty from Kim nor me. She refused the training bucket thing, she wanted to be like her sister and use the Dora training seat on the ‘big’ toilet. She wouldn’t accept any help getting on the ‘big’ toilet, climbing on herself, even if it took her two or three attempts. And recently, through Olivia’s example; Hailey has ditched wearing night time pull-ups, refusing to put them on anymore. She is not even three, she can’t hold it throughout the night and she is unable to wake herself to use the potty. We try to rouse her before we go to sleep but she will not get out of bed. So, what do we do? You guessed it, we let her sleep in her own urine or until she calls for mommy or daddy to dry her off at three in the morning. Ok, that only happened once, then we bought a mattress pad and a plastic liner.

Houston Hobby
While Kim, Nana and I claimed our tower constructed from suitcases, Olivia showed Hailey how to sit on top of the luggage carousel and ride from one end of the baggage claim area to the other. Olivia helped Hailey on her inaugural journey via airplane without a fight and with little guidance from the adults. Is Olivia a good teacher or does she like to control Hailey? I’m not sure, but Hailey enjoys big sister’s constant instruction, care and attention.

Thirteen suitcases teetering high on a bag-cart slightly impaired my vision. Relying on sound recognition I blindly followed our entourage through Houston Hobby, squeezing by groups of people, through entryways, corridors and elevator doors, praying for the luggage not to topple.

We made it to the car rental shuttle depot without incident, the luggage held, next time I will pack a bungee cord to secure the bags to the cart. The shuttled bus snaked through the airport’s access roads as Olivia and Hailey bounced from seat to seat. A light drizzle started coming down as the shuttle pulled up to a light blue van. I had requested a Grand Caravan with two built-in five-point-harness child restraints, which was offered at no extra charge. I opened the van’s sliding door to find a standard bench seat, thanks Budget, not to worry I came prepared and quickly procured two booster seats, one from large rolling duffel and the other from my hockey bag. Thankfully the van had latch and with a snap we were sheltered from the rain and on our way to Aunt Linda’s and Uncle Earl Lee’s.

Day I
Aunt Linda and Uncle Earl Lee live in a gated community. Their home is condo-esque, with neighboring houses tightly squeezed together. The great thing about staying with Aunt Linda and Uncle Earle Lee is that they own the house directly across the quiet cul-de-sac from their home. So, we get our own place to spread out and enjoy.

After ‘moving in’ we were able to enjoy the rest of the day. Cousin Morgan brought us lunch and she played with the kiddos for a few hours. The isolated misting had blown over and the sun came out in time for us to check out the neighborhood pool until dinner. It was a long day, no naps, we tried to get the girls in bed early, eight o’clock, however there was a bit of confusion on exactly where Olivia and Hailey were going to sleep. First we tried the loft. They weren’t comfortable up there. I moved both their twin mattresses down to the living-room where they discovered that the loft was much better. Back up the stairs I obediently followed carrying both mattresses. We planned on a short story-time which ended-up running ten books long (every book they brought with them) and then they jumped from one mattress to the other for over an hour before finally crashing out after ten.

Day II
This is a tough subject. What do you say about the person who calls his daughter the day before her wedding to say that he can’t make it? Someone who has two granddaughters that he has not once come to visit. I could go on with a dirty laundry list but I must refrain. I don’t know the historic details between Grandpa and Nana (Kim’s mom), I’m sure it wasn’t pretty. I try not to pry, although when Kim was pregnant with Olivia, I attempted to dig a bit; Kim and I were looking through Nana’s dusty photo albums. The early 70’s pictures of Nana are out of character. Usually fun-loving and out-going these set of pictures represent a gloomy person. I questioned Kim about one particular unsmiling photo of Nana; pregnant with Kim, Nana’s arm loosely wrapped around Kim’s dad, the only photo I’ve seen of Nana and Grandpa together. Kim’s explanation, Nana was embarrassed by her adult braces.

Our first full day in Houston we had plans with grandpa, (minus Nana). I am cordial, respectful and optimistic when we are with Kim’s father. Warning flip-flop alert: He is actually an interesting person to hang around with. He’s comical, opinionated, a conversationalist, with a hint of chauvinism. He could be the perfect drinking or golfing buddy. He and his current girlfriend Helen took us to NASA’s Johnson Space Center. It was my idea. I’ve been to Houston one too many times without seeing what was to be the vehicle of Apollo 18, the Saturn V Rocket.

Space Center Houston
Space Center Houston is the visitors’ center at JSC and has a vibe of something between a spaceport hangar / mission control / science center. We were greeted by a massive floor to ceiling at least thirty feet tall play structure. ‘Kids Space Place’ enticed Olivia and Hailey, they spent close to an hour exploring the multilevel kid sized habit trail. They stopped at an air gun trench to launch plastic balls at unknown yet shocked and awed adversaries. They tested and re-tested a robotic arm controller several dozen times, and the three-story triple-cork-screw slide was so tempting Kim had to try it.

Next we checked out “Grossology” a (possibly traveling) hands-on exhibit trumpeting all that is slimy, stinky, and yucky. An interactive jeopardy-parodied quiz show was enlightening. Plenty of nasty bug stuff to examine. The cow intestinal tracking system was a bit too much information. It was the kind of stuff that makes a great conversation base with the kiddos.

We spent another hour hopping through the half dozen galleries of space related exhibits and then our little ladies became viciously hungry. Grandpa suggested a short ride down the road to Kemah Boardwalk a seaside amusement area with a couple good places to get lunch. Everyone was on board with that, however in that instant my dream of seeing the Saturn V disintegrated. So close and denied… Insert; ‘story of my life’ here.

Kemah Boardwalk
The kiddos hurried through lunch which was not much of a break for anyone then we headed to the funfair area. Olivia and Hailey experienced their first Farris Wheel ride and it was unbelievable. Labeled ‘Century Wheel’ although I don’t think it was 100 feet tall, the scene overlooked Clear Lake Shores off Galveston Bay. Olivia, Hailey and I were the only ones who opted to ride the wheel. It stopped at the top for a moment, the basket swayed with the wind and Olivia asked “Is that the Ocean down there?” How could I tell her it wasn’t?

Pump It Up
The day was far from over. We had bummed around the boardwalk for a little longer then took Grandpa and Helen home. Cousin Morgan reserved a free, hour long, private room for us at the Pump It Up where she was employed. They climbed, slid, jumped, and jousted non-stop for the entire hour. We like the bouncy type places and even I get into the action. Cousin Mikey challenged, eluded and embarrassed me on the mushroom topped jousting platform. The day was another action packed, no nap, up till ten o’clock night. I think Kim and I were asleep before the kiddos.

Kim with Olivia and Itty Bitty BankerDay III
The Toy Donkey Whisperer(s)
Not a toy donkey, a miniature donkey, a real one. Kim’s cousin Karen owns one and a horse with a bit of land too. Our whirlwind tour of the Texas family continued with a visit to Karen’s place. Uncle Earl Lee and Cousin Morgan (Earl Lee is Morgan’s grandfather) came along with us. Olivia and Hailey have ridden on small carnival horses a couple times at local fairs so they were merely semi-excited to ride the miniature donkey. Although once we got to the stable and acquainted with the animals they livened-up.

Olivia and Hailey felt comfortable on the miniature donkey named ‘Itty Bitty Banker’ but both didn’t like being on the fully grown equine. I can’t blame them. The beast was huge and a bit ornery. I was glad that Uncle Earl Lee and Cousin Morgan were close-by to assist when the kiddos took their brief turns ‘riding’ the steed.Hailey says “Whoa” with Uncle Earl Lee Standing by.

A cool swift moving rain shower passed over stranding us in the stable for a while. Itty Bitty Banker received the brushing of its life from Olivia and Hailey. They petted, preened and fussed over the mini donkey until a break in the rain gave us time to dash back to Karen’s office where we had parked. Itty Bitty Banker tailed Olivia and Hailey almost the whole length of the field and seemed sadden by the departure of its new friends.

Day IV
Cousin Morgan’s high school class was close to five hundred students and she was selected by her peers to lead the state anthem during the opening ceremonies. The graduation proceeded swiftly, only two hours long, which was way past the kiddos stay in one place for too long limit. But they kept themselves busy by visiting all their relatives, first Chris and his wife Glenda, jumping to cousin Rob and his wife Lori, skipping to aunt Linda and uncle Earl Lee, bouncing to cousins Sherri and Michael (Morgan’s mom and dad), plowing through to cousin Karen and her mother Ann, bounding over to Nana and sneaking up on cousin Mikey.

After the graduation we all met for lunch. The restaurant we met at was a cross between petting zoo / play ground / eatery and it was fun. After our meal we went outside to play, pet the animals and see the peacocks (Hailey’s favorite animal). As soon as we settled into a huge sandbox it started to pour down rain. The sand pit was situated under a pavilion so we weren’t getting wet, but once again, we were stranded out in the rain. Sure the restaurant was a twenty yard dash away but we were dry and the kiddos were content with the situation so I put my arm around Kim and we waited it out.

That evening Morgan and her immediate family had one thousand parties to attend. We all went our separate ways for the night. Nana went to visit some old friends. Kim, the kiddos and I met-up with Grandpa, Helen and her youngest college aged daughter at the local Chucky Cheese for an evening of instant gratification.

Day V
Cousin Morgan had a Family and Friends Graduation Party the following day and it was great visiting with everyone. Michael and Sheri opened up their home, providing yummy edibles. The family congregated out in the garage reminiscing, updating and gossiping about things I can’t pen. Olivia and Hailey nursed blue frosting cup cakes all party long leaving blue kiss marks on anyone willing to receive one.

It was sad to go, especially since we had to leave the party in its prime to catch our flight home. Morgan got upset when it was time to say goodbye to her little side kicks and I couldn’t thank uncle Earl Lee and aunt Linda enough for their gracious hospitality all while Kim sabotaged our tightly scheduled itinerary by lingering several ‘one last’ goodbyes to everyone.

Where was Nana? She stayed in bed sick at aunt Linda’s that day. Possibly a nasty stomach virus, she flew home the next day and didn’t feel well for a week after.

Vacation Termination
The ride to the airport rental car return depot was rainy and somber. The airport was surprisingly crowded but the kiddos didn’t act antsy. Olivia reminded Hailey to touch the outside of the plane near the entry hatch for good luck as we boarded. The typically bumpy ride back home from Houston was smooth.

Bubie (my mom) picked us up from the airport and was surprised by Nana’s absence. We were home and unpacked within an hour of touchdown. Olivia and Hailey were beat-up, speaking in tongues, spastically jabbing fists and feet at anything within a two foot radius, struggling to keep moving. No nap and insufficient sleep for five days, it was like watching the terminator in its final hour.

Our Little Secret
Is this a coincidence; our last three trips to Texas Kim has been (and currently is) pregnant? Kim and I sat on this secret the entire trip. Kim did an ept test the day before we left, she was one week late. A faded blue line appeared. She called her doctor to make an appointment which obviously she couldn’t see him until after our trip so we decided not to tell anyone. Besides, we like secrets.

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