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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Spring Break 2016

My annual trek to Houston for my cancer checkup is normally in Feb/Mar but since Spring Break fell so late this year, I pushed the trip back so our whole family could come as well. My friends Paivi and Euan generously hosted us in their new home for a week and it felt like a resort to us! Warm weather, a pool, good friends, good food and a break from our very hectic relocation efforts here in Chicago.

Here's the gang after our flight, on the bus to get the rental car.
Mother Nature tried to ruin our vacay by sending torrential rain/thunderstorms which resulted in massive flooding all over the city. I was lucky in that I made it over the bayou to MDA right before it crested over the bridge, effectively shutting down all the roads from one side of town to the other. And when I say right before, I mean literally, RIGHT BEFORE. The bayou had already started sloshing over the guard rails, the street upriver was already closed and the police were on their way with gates to prevent any more cars from coming through as I drove past.  By the time my appointment was over, all but one of the streets was passable for me to get back to Paivi's house. Thank goodness for GPS.

With so much rain, Paivi's pool began to overflow and the chemicals became unbalanced, causing it to turn green. We decided to spend the afternoon at a local indoor playspace that didn't require crossing over the bayou to get to. The kids had a blast!
Dinner out lightened everyone's mood. Kate, Euie and Euan got in several games of tic-tac-toe while Lucy practiced writing Chinese characters.
Then it was Paivi's and Lucy's turn to play tic-tac-toe.

Fortunately, the skies cleared and the pool guy came and turned the pool blue again making everyone happy.
Later in the week, we all met up in Rice Village to see Euie (he's 10 months younger than our girls) in his first play.
He played Luke Skywalker and was thrilled to brandish a light saber throughout the play.




The tree canopy in Rice Village is gorgeous. I do miss those Southern trees...
On our last full day in Houston, we decided to explore Chinatown. The girls were asleep within minutes of hitting the road. Bedtimes 2+ hours past normal combined with still waking up at their normal hour and lots of swimming did them in.
A 30 minute ride later and we found the Jade Buddha Temple.
There were over a thousand tiny gold Buddhas surrounding the larger Buddha.


There were two meditation rooms which each girl found on her own. When I peeked in, they were standing in front of the Buddhas in a prayer pose. Lucy was in and out rather quickly.
Kate was talking in Chinese and was in for a bit longer. Not wanting to disturb her, I didn't ask what she was saying.
Behind the main temple was a smaller mediation area.
Both girls made a small donation and lit incense sticks.


Most of Houston's Chinatown is a long road of strip malls encompassing many Asian cultures including Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese. We made our way into the Hong Kong Mall hoping to find a snack and some souvenirs.
The supermarket was massive and encompassed nearly a city block. Kate latched onto this pomelo so we bought it and enjoyed it for breakfast the next day.
Our bellies full and small gifts procured, we headed back to Paivi's house to find two of Euie's friends over for a swim date. The girls quickly got into the action.

After a late night swim, we finally got the girls into bed around 10pm. Fortunately, our flight the next day was not until the afternoon, leaving us enough time for a neighborhood stroll/ride before departing for home.


We made it home uneventfully and settled back into our routine. Sunday we spent the day running errands and swabbing the decks...literally. Both of our decks had accumulated green algae and needed a good scrubbing so we hoisted the hose up from the ground and handed everyone a scrub brush.
 



Now the countdown to our move is on. My to-do list seems enormous. Our close here on the condo is May 23, our close on our new place is May 24 and the movers arrive June 6-7. Sounds easy enough except that there are a ton of tiny details that have to be attended to before then. If I can just make it to June 11 (our first full day in our new house with kindergarten graduation behind us) I think I'll be able to relax.

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