Two weekends ago Jamie went on a trip all by herself, the first time she's done such a thing in the five years since we became parents. You see, for the last couple of years I've gone on an annual golf trip with some guys from my company, and last year she decided she wanted a trip of her own as well. It's only fair that she gets to do just that.
So after two postponements due to sickness and scheduling difficulty, she finally got to go and visit her brother in Portland. She left on a Thursday night and was coming back on Sunday night, leaving us about 72 hours to fill. What oh what could we do? Daddy time.
Thursday night -- Rockets game
No, I'm not wealthy enough to actually buy good tickets ($200 each) to an NBA game. But my company has tickets, and when clients don't need them there is an employee drawing, so I entered my name for Thursday's game. And won. Score one for daddy.
I didn't tell the kids what we were doing until right before we left the house. They were pumped but had no idea what I meant by "going to a basketball game". Well, actually Jack had a very good idea what I meant. He was sure that he would be playing in the game. My efforts to convince him otherwise were futile, so I let it go.
We got to the Toyota Center and into the arena with no trouble. Our tickets allowed us to enter through the skybridge from the parking garage, which meant that at the entrance there were cheerleaders waiting to greet us. "Perfect", I thought with devious glee, "I'll get a picture of this and it'll drive Jamie crazy". I got out our backup camera (six years old and low resolution) only to find that it was out of batteries. Dang. No pictures at the game. Minus points for daddy. But you should've seen the Jack Attack snuggle right up to the cheeleaders and pose for the picture... the boy's got game.
The kids loved the multiple escalator rides we took on the way to the concession stands, where we bought pizza, fries and Diet Pepsi. Score again for daddy. We watched the warmups, which were incredible because we were playing the Cleveland Cavaliers. That means Lebron James was there. The guy's so amazingly athletic, and so young, that he actually dunks and exerts energy during warmups. He was incredible. The kids didn't pay attention to him but they loved the mascot.
A buddy of mine from a former job came over and I discovered he works for the Rockets now part-time. He hooked us up with miniature Rockets basketballs for the kids. Score. Samantha and Jack now think that not only can daddy get them into cool basketball games, but he knows all the important people there.
Then the team intros started. Crap. The kids hate loud noise. I knew this was coming and had already prepared earplugs made from napkin shreds with my MacGuyver-like skills. I plugged their ears and we held on tight, but those intros are looooooong. After a while Jack just started yelling, "CAN WE GO!? CAN WE GO?!" Samantha joined in. Eventually the loudness stopped and the game started. Samantha got into it right away and even clapped when the "white shirts" made a basket. We stayed until almost halftime and then headed out, already past their normal bedtime. It was a great start to our weekend!
Friday morning -- Pump it Up
I'd heard of this "Pump it Up" place but had never been before. It's an indoor fun park full of inflatable slides and games, but it's only open two or three days a week for four hours at a time, or something like that. Apparently their business model was created by Pat Sajak (my mom told me that Wheel of Fortune films a full week's episodes in one short day).
We got there right after it opened. Only 20 kids are allowed to play at the same time and my kids were numbers 19 and 20. Whew, just made it. For the next three hours we had an absolute blast:
Friday night -- pizza and a movie
Yes, it was the second time in 24 hours that we ate pizza. But this time it was from Star Pizza, a Houston classic that makes a whole wheat crust. So it's healthy, right?
We rented Homeward Bound 2 on DVD -- they'd seen the first one a few weeks earlier. Nana and Gramps came over and shared our pizza and movie. What a great way to spend a Friday night.
Saturday -- my first real tea party
The morning started off with our usual Saturday routine: kolaches. Hmm, this post is mostly about food. I swear we did more than just eat while Jamie was gone.
Saturday afternoon was a special Daddy/Daughter tea party at church for Valentine's Day, only for daughters between the ages of 3 and 6. Samantha fit right into that and couldn've have been more excited. We were even asked to wear "formal play dress-up" clothing, whatever that meant. Samantha wore a dress, knee-high pink socks, sparkly shoes, a tiara and a boa. I wore khakis and a nice shirt.
We learned the proper manners for drinking tea and eating cookies, brownies, eclairs, fruit, cupcakes and crackers. There I go with the food again. I'll shut up and just show the pictures:
Sunday -- last day
We started with church/lunch/nap just like normal, but our Sunday night bible study group was canceled becasue a few people were sick. I formed a backup plan: leftover pizza picnic at the park! The kids thought it was genius. This was our last hurrah as a threesome and while it was a ton of fun, we were missing Mommy pretty badly by that point:
Not bad for our first long weekend without Mommy around. I'm not voting to do that every weekend, but at least we know we can still have a good time when it happens.
The Swallows of Mission San Juan Capistrano
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