The conference was at the Hilton on the Sea Wall. We checked into our room and then the kids and I said goodbye to Curtis and headed off to dinner. I didn't tell the kids where we were going in case there was a line snaking out the door. We walked less than a block away to the Rainforest Cafe. When they looked up and saw the huge volcano-looking building with a robotic crocodile in front, they got so excited. I can't tell you how fun it was to see their amazement at this very over-the-top restaurant. We sat close to the elephants and Annabeth couldn't take her eyes off of them. During one of the simulated thunder storms she hid underneath the table. I told the kids that I had been in such a thunderstorm when I was on a boat in the Amazon river and it was super scary. I really wanted to cry but sweet Patricia kept talking to me so I would stay calm. Bless her. This is what it looked like before the storm was right on top of us.
photo by Keely Scott
We had lava pudding for dessert, which was chocolate pudding with Oreo crumbs that looked like dirt. There were gummy worms on top of it, of course. That also reminded me of the Amazon. Annabeth did great until a person wearing a tree frog costume came to visit us. She dove back under the table until he was gone.
On the way back from dinner, Jackson and I shared an incredibly special moment when he said, "Guess what, Mommy? I'm not afraid of brains anymore!"
After dinner we got ready for bed and rented "The Secret World of Arriety," which is about tiny people who live in the walls of houses. Jackson was scared of being in his own bed (I'm not sure why this fear is hitting him all of a sudden) so all three of us snuggled in a double bed during the movie. Annabeth played beauty shop with my hair, which nearly put me to sleep. It took Jackson 30 seconds to pass out once the lights were off, but somehow my daughter was revived. She snuck out of bed and made mischief all around the room until about 10:30. And when she did fall asleep...she snored. Like, loud. And then, at 2 AM, I was awakened by a panicked little voice saying, "Mommy! I tee-teed the bed!"
Have you ever slept in a double bed that has been christened by a pee-soaked three-year-old? I really hope you have not. Why? WHY didn't I sleep with Jackson instead? I put some towels under her, changed her clothes, threw off the comforter, and got another blanket out of the closet. Eventually we fell back asleep but it was a rough night with more snoring.
The Jones family really needed a good breakfast to redeem the sorry night's sleep, so we walked over to IHOP, which had a 25 minute wait. Um, no. A kind woman (who I'd
Before long we were carrying our chairs, sand toys, and boogie board over the Sea Wall. We found hundreds of tiny bean clams all over the shore. The kids loved watching them dig into the sand. I'm an accomplished hermit crab hunter but I had zero success today. The waves, however, were looking mighty fine and Jackson and I took turns riding them to shore on the boogie board. There were about 10 people trying to surf in that area today, which is kind of weird for Galveston. Anyway, there was no bad smell, no seaweed, no jellyfish, and the water was the perfect temperature. It was a great day to be there.
Soon Curtis had another session to teach, so we went back to the hotel to play in the pool. Bless his heart, Jackson wanted to sit at the bar and order a smoothie. He and Annabeth got to play with some other kids who were also on a mini ministry vacay. Their preferred activity was to sit in the hot tub, which made all of them miraculously calm and still. It was truly amazing and preferable to Annabeth doing her weird donkey kick move (that she thinks is ballet) around the pool deck.
And now I've used up all my words. So here are some pictures.