Sunday, March 22, 2015

Houston, chronologial thoughts

We rented a minivan because our Buick is in the shop with serious engine problems, but we weren't going to let that stop our road trip.  (The dealer loaned us a pickup that seats five comfortably and six if you're desperate, but either way that wouldn't fit our entire family.)

We left Thursday night about 7.  Stopped for barbecue in Elgin before everything closed at 8.  Hoped the kids would all fall asleep while driving, but only Tommy had the good sense to do so, and even he woke up before we arrived.  So everyone was tired and cranky when we got to the hotel.

Rachel found a site that lets you search for hotel rooms that sleep up to 8, and ours had two bedrooms and a living area.  We stuck the kids in the room with two queens, Tommy in the living room, and us in the other bedroom with one king.  It worked all right, but I think the earliest Corinna fell asleep all three nights was 10.  Saturday night she was still going until 11.  No doubt this accounts for some of her ludicrously unpleasant mood.

On the positive side, everyone slept longer in a room that almost shuts out light entirely with the shades drawn.

Friday we visited the NASA Space Center.  It wasn't as fun as it was four years ago.  Mostly because three year old Corinna was a much worse guest than three year old Isaac was.  But also because the main thing that amused Isaac, the enormous ball pit, was gone.

Also, the White Tour is lame.  Stopped at one building, saw the SAIL shuttle simulator and the "rocket park," and that was it.  No wonder the line was short compared to the other tours.

Rachel generously took the three youngest after lunch while I saw some of the exhibits with Matthew and Melissa.  The IMAX Journey to Space film was fantastic.  The smoke billowing out of the shuttle launches almost made me claustrophobic.

We drove until Corinna and Isaac fell asleep, then we found a park and the older three ran around with some other kids until it was time to head to Paula's.  We had a great dinner with Paula and Scott, with only mild hysterics when their tiny dog approached Corinna.

Saturday we visited the Children's Museum.  It was huge.  We could have easily spent the day and still had things left over to do Sunday, but Corinna was out of patience by 2.  We pushed her to 3 to let Isaac and Melissa get some time in the construction zone, but then Rachel and I were both done with her.  We went back to the hotel for naps all around.  After an hour of fighting, Corinna fell asleep.  Two hours later, she peed the bed and woke up.

By then it was time for dinner (written about below), and dessert with Ryan and Rita at the Chocolate Bar.  Paula recommended the Chocolate Bar and it was pretty epic.  We shared five kinds of cake and two kinds of ice cream among the lot of us.  Then we got in a couple rounds of Dominion at the hotel, cut short by me fat-fingering my ipad when I went to take a drink and dropping out of the game.  It was for the best, those cards were terrible anyway and Ryan was clobbering us.

Sunday morning I took Corinna to the hotel pool.  She was looking forward to swimming the whole trip and she wasn't even fazed by the chilly water.  She sat on the edge and kicked her feet in the water for twenty minutes, then declared she was done.  But she was happy about it and her good mood persisted until brunch, where she got a waffle as she requested instead of the pancake she requested slightly later.  Also slightly earlier.  She changed her mind more than once.  Ultimately she ate the waffle and decided she was full.  Crisis averted.

Then we drove home and Tommy puked (also written about below).

This probably comes off as pretty negative.  We went into it knowing that family vacations are no picnic.  We are not newbie parents and we have the scars to prove it.  But wow, this was way more stressful than we expected.  Coming home Rachel turned to me and said, "I guess we're done with family trips until Corinna is ten."  And honestly that doesn't sound like a bad plan right now.

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