Thursday, August 28, 2008

Guys Weekend Out is always a good time with Chandler. This year we didn’t drive too far. With my father out of town suffering in Maui at the time share, Chandler and I escaped to their abode for some good ol’ father-son hang time. Friday night we found a new little café to chow, play some pool and a video game as well. On Saturday, we awoke to a Triathlon running down my father’s street. So, as we turned onto Nasa Rd 1 to head out to the Classic Café (a wonderful place for breakfast), we watched the cycling portion of the triathlon pass us. Naming the bikes as the sped past us with all of the riders in aero position, I soaked in the moment with Chandler.

Following the fajita omelet I scarfed down and Chandler’s pancakes, we cruised out to Galveston where we gazed at the scenery. I pointed out a number of old homes, the Bishop’s Palace, the Moody Mansion, and many other legendary homes down the main drag while driving into Galveston. I took us down to East Beach, the hangout when I was in high school for a lot of the youth group. Well…what can I say? It is gone!!! It is now a resort with only one pocket beach that you have to park and then walk to! No more driving right up to the beach, parking in the sand and having your car just a few feet away from you. From there, we drove out to the Strand and cruised down the street. I pointed out some places we would hit after lunch.

Chandler was aching for Rainforest Café. I was the skeptic as I had heard from a number of people that it was over priced and the food bad to mediocre at best. I was pleasantly surprised. There were salt water aquariums everywhere. Chandler and I took pics of a cool eel and then sat down to eat our fajitas which, surprisingly, turned out to be really good!

Off to the Strand we go. I promised to take him to the candy/ice cream/soda shop. It has been around for a long time and is always a must go-to place. I inhaled a sundae and Chandler enjoyed a milkshake. The great thing about this place is that you get the entire milkshake. They give you the canister that it is mixed in, so you really end up with two full milkshakes.

We bought a couple of t-shirts for Spencer at Big Dogs (which is going out of business!), strolled through Col. Bubbies and other shops and I ended up purchasing some new specs at the Sunglass Hut that were 60% off. They will be my new cycling shades.

By the time we finished, we were getting tired and it was really hot. We drove down the seawall and watched people roast and ended up eating an early dinner at Tortuga. We split the Quesadillas (obviously I was cheating big time yesterday!). We went to a pocket beach from there, threw around the football, collected shells, chased crabs and then proceeded to get eaten alive by mosquitoes after the sun went down. Following this day of gallivanting, we strolled back up I-45 to Grandpa’s house.

On Sunday we awoke and decided to not go to Schlitterbaun. Chandler wanted to take it easy. So, we went to the local putt-putt place and had a blast. After dousing ourselves in Off, we played 18 holes on the artificial greens and then it was off to Laser Tag. He destroyed me in both of course. From there, we played some video games and another round of mini-golf. We followed this up with Star Wars: The Clone Wars at the theaters. Then it was off to clean up, pack up, load up and drive back up to the Livable Forest.

Now it is time to plan for next year!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ride Makers! The Build-A-Bear for guys!

Chandler and I are on our yearly weekend sojourn. We call it "Guys Weekend Out". We have been doing this once a year since he was six (2002). This year's version finds us in Clear Lake at Grandpa and Grandma Jan's house. They are in Hawaii for three weeks, so we have invaded their humble abode to hang out, go to Galveston and basically have fun together as dad and son.

We arrived to Clear Lake around 4:00 yesterday. Following a quite mediocre dinner at Rockin' JD's, we played a video game (which I lost of course) and then went off to the mall. I wondered, as I walked through this mall that I had been through a thousand times before when Christa and I lived here from 91-95, if I would run into one of my old teenagers. Sure enough! We walked into Game Stop and I was hailed by Stella Brown (her last name has changed now as she is married). I had forgotten her of course, but once she told me it, I remebered her like it was yesterday. She hung out with Leslie Larking all of the time and went to Friendswood Junior High and High School while I was here. Great gal and she was always a lot of fun to hang out and talk with while I served at Fellowship Bible. A great walk down memory lane.

Once we left Game Stop, I got some coffee at Gloria Jeans (the Starbucks before Starbucks was on the map) and Chandler ate some ice cream from Marble slab. Walking around the circlish (is that a word?) mall, we stumbled upon Ride Makers. Now my mind is totally blown. This place is Build-A-Bear for car crazed boys and girls. They have an entire wall of cars that you choose from to "outfit". You pick your shell (Chandler chose a Viper...yes...I gave in and bought him one!), shound chip (you know...a car has to have sound!), tires, rims, accessories (vinyls, lights, scoops, muffler tips, etc. etc. etc.). Once Chandler was finished accessorising his Viper, he stepped up to the assembly area which was loaded with a power tool to unscrew and assemble the car and a stop watch/clock to time yourself putting together the tires, rims and placing them on the vehicle (yes...very nascar). Chandler's impressive 1:12.

Then it is time to register the vehicle at the computers (yes..just like Build-A-Bear's birth certificate). You come up with a liscence plate (up to 8 letters/numbers). Chandler decided to put "GWO 2008". Quite cool. You even get a box/garage for your car to take it home with you. One more fun part to all of this. One optional purchase for every vehicle is that you can make it an R/C! How cool is that?

The pic above is of the mini-cooper. Chandler got the red viper...just thought I'd show that you really can customize it any way that you want.

Well...Chandler is putting on his shoes and both of our stomachs are growling for breakfast. It is off to the Classic Cafe for some breakky and then who knows?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Last night was a lot of fun. I was asked by Renee (Master Battenberg) to help her with Saftey Net Kids at my church, Woodridge Baptist. We were expecting around 30 kids. When we arrived, a few stragglers showed up. But, in classic Kingwood fashion, the flowed in around 10-15 minutes late and we ended up with nearly 50 kids and there parents. The room was packed. We had a great time. She taught the kids how to show confidence and defend themselves in different situations with strangers (what we adults would call predators nowadays). It is always such an empowering time. 

Chandler came with me and brought a friend. He took some pics for Master B and helped hand stuff out. He later commented to me that he was really glad that he joined me in this and was able to be a good black belt example to all of the kids. Most of them were 5-9 years old. The perfect age. Chandler is so good with kids. I can definitely see him teaching some day.

I got a lot of looks from some of the members that knew me as they had no idea I was even in Tae Kwon Do. The great part about this is that almost every person that knew me came up to me and asked more questions about self-defense, TKD, or the POWER program (great program that we do to teach women how to defend themselves - basically rape prevention). I was encouraged that people felt comfortable to come up to me and ask questions. 

Great night!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Full Weekend

The weekend started with a great friend of ours giving Christa and I a night out, basically 24 hours, to ourselves. I booked a night at the JW Marriott right next to the Galleria. We had dinner at The Melting Pot and then went to a local dive to watch the Olympics and Phelps win by a nose hair in the 100m Butterfly. 

We woke up the next morning to breakfast in bed. It was really nice as we ate eggs, bacon, fresh fruit, and great coffee from Starbucks downstairs. From there, we went to the Galleria, people watched, and got into a lengthy and fun conversation with one of the shop owners. He was a great person with terrific stories from his past as a high school band instructor in Lousiana. He now owns a store in the Galleria that is a specialty shop in martial arts weapons, crosses, etc. He also does a lot of repairing of different items ranging from knives to hair products! Pretty talented and wide-ranged guy. 

From there we went to grab some grub and watched the US upset the Chech. in Water Polo. What an amazing and tough sport. We also saw Taylor Phinney get destroyed in the cycling track pursuit. He is still very young and will be a force to be reckoned with in the future...he has the genes from his dad, Davis Phinney (one of the first Americans to win a stage in the Tour De France). 

We arrived home at around 4:30 to a spirited home. Christa and I were exhausted and went to bed at around 8:30. Chandler and Greer (one of his best buds) hung out and probably didn't go to bed until...well...who knows?! 

I took Chandler, Greer, and Spinner to church this morning. Today was my last Sunday of teaching Chandler's class before someone else takes the reigns next weekend. Christa and I are joining an adult class this year. It will be really good for us as we re-connect with the adult world. I still plan on helping out on Wednesday nights as well as trying out for the Christmas show. 

Chandler is signed up for baseball and has tryouts coming up on Tuesday night this week which will make this fall rather insane between baseball, TKD, church and me involved in the Xmas show...sleep will come at some point!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chandler's Baptism

One of dreams came true on Sunday. Back in June, at youth camp, Chandler made the commitment to get baptized. He asked me to do it. As a a privilege. Our pastor was gracious enough to allow me to do it as I am still officially a pastor. 

Tom, Maureen and Da, Christa's parents and grandmother, made the trip from Covington, LA in order to join the celebration. It was an incredible day. 

Here are the pics. 

Thursday, August 7, 2008

DOH!!! Christa just blew my mind...speechless

I am helping Chandler refill the twine on the weedeater when Christa calls me to the back porch. I ask her to hang on a sec as I had twine up to my ears. She insisted that I come now. I figured it was important, so I gave Chandler the twine to hold onto. I look at the porch and she is standing there with a new Time Trial bike!!!! Wow!!! I am speechless...I have no speech. 

I have been wanting one for a while now just to train on and have fun with as triathlons are out for me due to the fact that my knees cannot take the pounding anymore. She has never done anything like this before. She said that she wanted to blow me away this time...well...she did!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

TS Edouard, Cuz's and...yes...another Movie

On my Saturday ride, I usually hang out with the group at Starbucks. It is a great time to just hang out with the guys that I just hammered 60 miles with on a bike. This past Saturday was a little different. I didn't think I would have time for 60 miles, but did it anyway (with Christa's blessing of course). We finished in under 3 hours. Instead of Starbucks, I kept riding home hoping to catch them in time. dad and Jan were dropping off Chandler, Evan and Sydney (Evan and Sydney are my sis' kids). Sure enough, pedaling my Tarmac up to the turn of my house, there is my father's Denali in the driveway. I could not have planned it any better...twas a God thing. 

Needless to say, watching these three in action is quite entertaining...especially once you throw Spencer in the mix. We've watched Chandler's eels eat bloodworms, played a constant game of Need for Speed Most Wanted on PS2, made pizza, had burgers on the grill and constructed a fort in the game room of sheets, blankets, chairs and clothespins while watching Spongebob. 

I witnessed some of this yesterday as I stayed home from work waiting for TS Edouard to get "bad". It never did, so I didn't get any work done minus a few phone calls early in the morning. So, today will definitely be catch up day on the phone.

Christa and Sydney painted fingers and toes, watched a chick flick and went to a couple of stores yesterday afternoon late. So, I took the boys last night to Journey to the Center of Earth 3D. It was actually great. The 3D part was outstanding as I had no idea it was going to be in 3D until we arrived at the theater. 

Tomorrow we head up to Keller (Ft. Worth), to go see my cuz, Jennifer, graduate with her PHD in Viola Performance from UNT. It promises to be a great celebration. We head back early evening on Saturday as I get the privilege to baptize Chandler on Sunday morning at church. What a blessing as a dad. I am still humbled and thrilled that he asked me to do it and not one of our pastors. How cool is that?

Friday, August 1, 2008

16 years old...she is growing up!

Today she is 16. It is hard to believe, but quite true. 16 years since she was born. 

When she arrived, we all had the ooglie googlies. The great part about 16 years? I still get those feelings. What a blessing. I remember her cuddling up to me and gazing up with her hypnotic eyes. She still does this today at times and it is just as special now as it was then. 

No rebellion as of yet, but I will keep my eyes peeled for the signs. I don't think it will show it's ugly head anytime soon though. She is different.

She teaches me things about myself that 16 years ago I didn't think was possible. She has even changed me and chilled me out..........some (hee hee).

And if you were to tell me that 16 years would go this quickly back then, laughing to myself would definitely be an understatement. 

She likes to drive her new (used) car that I surprised her with the other day in celebration of this occasion. It is perfect for her and I think she is still pinching herself. I loved watching her face. 

Today will be that special 16th though. How can I put into words how I feel? How she feels? How blessed am I? She wants to spend it with me!!!! No friends...just me. 16 is pretty special. Maybe not like turning 20 or even 25, but 16 is pretty big. So, I will take her to a nice dinner and then we will finish our date (b/c it is important to date her) by laughing at Radio Music Theater.

16 years...a teenager. A whole life in front of her. This is the beginning of the rest of her life. I am truly blessed to be a part of it, be an influence, and be influenced at the same time. What a responsibility. What a dream. What a magical time. These are the things people wish for and I get to live it. 

16 years. I love you, Christa. 16 years of a wonderful marriage. Thank you for saying yes to this crazy and insane idea of being with me for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, the ride doesn't stop here, it just keeps on going like the Energizer Bunny. Happy Anniversary.

What? You thought I was talking about something else?!