First I'll write some of my flash memories from the trip, then I'll show off the pictures. We're loving our new digital camera.
- The only bad note -- my temper. I was angry and overreacting to a lot of my kids' stuff throughout the week. As my dad and I talked about at one point, the band Nickel Creek has a great song that says, "Other people have excuses; I have my reasons why...". So of course I have a list of "reasons why" I was off-balance and quick to get angry. But they're just excuses. Jamie noted that I wasn't really myself during the week. I hope I can do better next year.
- Enough of that; on to the good stuff!
- Seeing my brother and his family was a great pleasure. We don't get to see each other often, and it's something I hope we can improve on over time. This was the most time I've ever spent with his wife and son, and I really loved it. And them.
- My grandparents were my best friends from my college days (I went to school in the town where they live), so it's always great to be with them. They're still healthy and continue to shower everyone they meet with love and grace.
- My parents were here in Houston just a couple of months ago, but it was striking to think of how much my kids had changed in those two months. We got to show off these changes and watch the reactions.
- My aunt and uncle are kinda the same story as my brother -- we don't get to see them often, but we sure do love it when we get the chance. My uncle took us out on the boat three times during the week, which was probably Jack's favorite part of the whole vacation.
- I got to play golf with my dad and brother. Twice! My dad and I played terribly but still had fun, and my brother played the best I've ever seen from him. He shot an 85 on Thursday and probably hit 28 chip shots. His driving and putting were both excellent, and that was fun to watch. Every once in a while, my dad would also hit a shot that reminded us he can still shoot in the 70s. I would love for us to be able to find a best-ball tournament we could play in sometime. Don't know how that would work since we live in three different states, but it sure would be fun!
- At the indoor waterpark, Samantha overcame her massive fear and went down the "blue slide" with me. It's a four-story tube tunnel -- dark, fast and fun. As soon as we hit the pool at the bottom, she started screaming, "Yes, Yes!" and pumping her fist. One of the highlights of the week for me.
- Watching my kids learn to fish.
- Driving with a sleeping wife and two sleepings kids in the van, all with identical facial features and head angles as they sleep. Freaky but funny.
- Getting through the week with no trips to the ER. Jamie did go to the urgent care center with a really bad cough and fever, but they somehow missed the fact she had bronchitis. It was diagnosed later back at home.
- Samantha jumping off the dock into the lake, repeatedly. She learned to trust her life jacket and loved getting a big running start before leaping into the water.
- Going to the movies for the first time with my kids. We saw Ratatouille. Since I'm such a movie buff, it was very special to sit as a family and see the opening credits roll.
- Spending a week with family, experiencing all different stages of life and a community of unconditional love.
Picture time! No captions or anything, and no thumbnails that link to bigger versions (I don't like the ads that popup for you on the site I've been using). And I didn't mean to leave out any family members, but naturally most of these focus on my own little crew: