Friday, April 11, 2014

Road Trip: Texas, Day 8

Day 8

C woke me this morning just before 6:00am on his way out of our hotel room. He was heading to the dining room for breakfast and to complete the standard job application for the company with whom he was interviewing today. 

I spent time in the Word and did some house searches on my tablet. Eventually, I rose to get the kids rolling for breakfast. 

The meals here at the hotel aren't spectacular, but they are "good enough."  Additionally, they are free. Or included. For some reason, our kids love hotel food. So they all get out of bed with a good attitude and head over to the dining area each new day. 

C texted me when he could to update me about when he arrived, the check-in process, how each section of interview went, etc. I missed him. 

After breakfast, J and O joined me for a walking adventure. C had the Sequoia, so our only options were to hang out at the hotel or take a walk to see what was right around the hotel. The older boys opted to sit around the hotel and play video games. Not surprising. But I didn't argue because taking just the younger two would make things easier on me, which is the option I choose every time while on vacation. 

So we set out and headed right down the major road our hotel is on. J, naturally wary, stayed by me cautiously. Where there were wide sidewalks, she walked next to me and often reached over to hold my hand as cars and busses went whizzing by. 

O, on the other hand, who is rarely cautious enough and always abounding in energy unless he's ill, ran (or skipped) way ahead, often teetering on the edge of the busy road like a balance beam. I had to keep reminding him to be as far away from the edge as the walkway allowed, as well as reeling him back from being too far ahead that he could not hear my instructions. 

J and O are good for one another. J constantly mothers him and helps him learn to stop and think about things, while O does a good job helping her not to take life too seriously and to occasionally throw some caution to the wind. I have no doubt that left to their own devices, they could probably work themselves out of any situation, as often as they manage to work their way into many situations. These people are going to be outstanding adults someday and I can't wait to know them then. For now, I'm blessed that they call me Mama and that I get to witness their personalities and gifts on a daily basis.

The first shopping center contained a Dollar Tree store and a cool comic bookstore, among other things. We visited Dollar Tree first, so we could pick out some sand toys to take with us to the beach in the afternoon. 

I forgot to mention that as we crossed the parking lot toward Dollar Tree, I kept O close and at one point, a car was pulling out and he stuck his arm out in front of me the way parents naturally do when they're driving and must stop quickly. Maybe it's just me, but I instinctively stick my arm out in front of whomever is sitting in the passenger seat as if to protect them from flying through the windshield (those nationally certified seat belts just can't be enough).  I pondered his action a moment and felt proud; his reaction to a car pulling out in front of us, was to see it and protect me. I had also seen it and slowed our group down while it backed out, thus protecting them, but for a lot of years, O didn't pay attention to his environment and this was a small indication to me that he is learning to have some caution of his own in the world.  A good thing. 

Over at the comic bookstore -- Bedrock City -- we browsed a bit and ultimately walked out of their with three Captain America t-shirts because they had them on a good sale. We got one for Daddy and J and O each got one.  I thought about getting them for the boys, but decided against it because they didn't even want to come. This way J and O were rewarded for their interest in getting exercise and exploring the world. 

In the next shopping center, was my goal: Nothing Bundt Cakes. C hadn't gotten a cake on his birthday and while my goal was to surprise him on his actual day, there was not a window for me to sneak out and get to this bakery without him. But his interview gave me that window. 

The kids were rewarded again with cake samples in the shop. I labored over my decision for the cake for a few minutes, when J offered her logical advice: why not order a dozen Bundtinis (cupcake size) so we could get a mix of flavors?

Great idea. This girl is smart. 

The lady in the shop suggested we get a box with three each of their top four flavors. Done and done. 

I looked for candles, but could only find these things called sparklers. So I grabbed a 4 and a 1 and some matches and we were out the door. 

Everyone was carrying something, so it was time to walk back to the hotel before any whining began. The walk back began the same as our walk down. Dr. Danger ran ahead and Miss Cautious stuck close. 

Ironically, it was J who found danger in a grassy section we crossed where there was no sidewalk. She stepped into an approximately 6" hole, disguised by grass cut the same height as all the surrounding grass. It turned her ankle and she crumpled to the ground in shock, pain and tears. Poor kid. 

O came back to check on his sister and offered to carry her bag. She was able to stand and leaned on me as she hobbled and whimpered the rest of our way back.  When she saw her big brothers, she was so happy to tell them about our adventure, she was instantly cured from her fall. She walked fine the rest of the day. 

C texted me that his first interview went fantastically. There were some clear God moments in it and things were going well. 

We all sat in the dining room for awhile and Z and O went out to play basketball for a few minutes here and there. I was looking at more homes online and H and J were racing one another on their Nintendo DS's.  I told the kids I'd take them next door to McDonalds soon for lunch, as it was approaching that time. 

At 12:08pm, C called. He was heading back. All the interviews went well and they said they'd follow up with him next week. He also said he was starving, so we waited for his return, and went back to Jimmy Changa's instead of having McDonalds. 

After that, we headed for the beach.

But first, we stopped in at Target because C wanted to find an umbrella for the beach. I wanted to get some bottled water since we were out and went to that section. J came with me, while the boys followed their dad to get the umbrella. 

As we stepped out of the water aisle, a Target crew member asked if I needed help finding anything. I told him I didn't and then said, "Well now I'm looking for my husband." 

He looked at J and me and asked, "Is he wearing a Captain America shirt?"  The question surprised me, but I told him he was.  He said, "I just passed him in Sporting Goods."

I felt puzzled and a little weird that he knew who my husband was when he said, "Captain America, huh, must be a family thing," then he walked off. 

I looked over at J and she was wearing her new shirt, too. I found out later, O also had his on. No wonder we stuck out so well!

On some recommendations, we decided to try Sylvan Beach in LaPorte. It did not disappoint. It had C wondering if we could find a home in that area. Close to the beach without living on Galveston and yet still a decent commute to downtown Houston, should he find work in that area. 

Sylvan is a family friendly beach with a playground, picnic areas and restrooms, as well as a fishing pier. We had a lot of fun and stayed for a few hours. I didn't get nearly enough pictures in my opinion because my phone was dying and my big camera's memory card was full. But I managed to get some. 

We got back to the hotel in time for dinner. The kids were exhausted, so they all got in bed after that and C and I got their permission to get some non-hotel dinner just up the road a bit. They had the kid-cellphone and we could be back here within minutes if need be. This is one of our first times trusting all three boys to stay (without us) together, but they were fairly worn out and we knew J would call as soon as they had a problem together. 

We ate dinner at Freeb!rds World Burrito (I had a burrito bowl), which is like a Chipotle on steroids. It was good, not only because of the food, but because I was getting a few quiet moments with my husband to discuss the day. 

Our original travel plans were for us to leave on Friday morning and get back to Albuquerque on Saturday evening. However, we decided we would extend our stay one more day and we shall get back on Sunday instead. We weren't ready to go back to the hotel to pack things up and roust tired kids from their beds to help. 

Back at the hotel, we pulled the Bundtinis out and prepared to sing to C. 

He was very pleased. I attempted to light the sparkler candles but they weren't responding to my match. C grabbed a match and lit them with ease, but burnt his finger while lighting them. Hmm, this was not the plan. However, the cakes were delicious and in spite of his burnt finger, he seemed pleased with our efforts to celebrate him. 

To bed! It's been a very good and very long day. 


  1. Howdy my dear! Great, great, great to be able to be "with" you on this vacation! I love your photos and your story posts of your day! Praying for you! We love you in NH!!! xoxoxoxo

  2. Good to read your personality analysis of J and O. That was a sweet surprise to purchase the bundtinis for C's birthday
    I enjoyed the action shots at the beach, but especially enjoyed seeing that H allow himself to be covered in sand and have a smile on his face.

    Love, Mom