Summer Squeeze

Here at the Faulk house, we’re in our final days of what I call the Summer Squeeze. What does that mean? That means that we’re squeezing every bit of fun that we can out of what’s left of our summer vacation. One week from today, school will be back in session, and there will be no more adventures to be had. So, we’re doing it right while we still have the chance!

We started off the summer squeeze with a trip to the Astros game. The girls and I went to their first game earlier in the summer with some of our friends from church, but Papi was out of town for the game. A few weeks ago, another church member gave Wes some amazing tickets and a parking pass to another Astros game, so he was able to have a fun day at the ballpark with us. Hooray! We did it right, eating dinner and dessert right there as we watched the game, exploring all the nooks and crannies of the ballpark, and finding a couple of cool Astros hats for the girls to wear. Emma still doesn’t know which team she was supposed to be cheering for that night (“the blue one?”), but we had fun anyway. And we got to see Papi enjoy the game, which made it even better.

The girls were much more interested in a recital we took them to last week, even though it didn’t include trips to the concession stand for cotton candy and popcorn. Ana’s kindergarten teacher (who is also the daughter of one of our church deacons) is working on a graduate degree in organ performance and was having a recital. We went out to dinner with a couple from the church then made our way over to the church where the recital was taking place. Our girls have seen and heard someone play the organ before. We have an organist at Memorial, but with all the other musicians and everything going on up on the stage, I don’t think they’ve ever paid much attention. That night, however, they showed great interest (Ana particularly) and were enthralled, mainly because, as Ana told me “you have to use your FEET!” to play the organ. She told us on the way home that she wants to play the organ, too. I told her that I’m pretty sure most great organ players start with the piano (and with, you know, learning to read music), but she had little interest in that since you can’t play the piano with your feet. Or, at least, you shouldn’t, right? We’ll see what becomes of Ana’s musical aspirations.

Against my better judgment, our summer squeeze has also included some close encounters with some aggressive animals. And, no, I’m not talking about the zoo. We’ve visited Crenshaw park, just down the road from our house, where the ducks and geese are content to follow me at a trot when I run there. Introduce two girls headed for the playground with a bag of McDonald’s pancakes, though, and they are RABID animals! We survived, but since they tried to eat the breakfast (OUR breakfast!) that we didn’t even offer to them, we’ve been hesitant to go back and offer them food that’s intended for them. Perhaps I’ll be brave enough this week to make it happen… or not. (We gave up that particular day and went over to the Holly Bay park. No girl-eating ducks there!)

And speaking of animals and the zoo, we’ve done the zoo, too. In August. In Houston. I deserve some kind of medal for doing this, y’all. We took all the children at our church in Oklahoma to the Oklahoma City Zoo last year around this time, and I thought that was one degree from hell itself. (The weather, not the kids. The kids were awesome.) That was nothing, though, in comparison to this. You know it’s bad when every monkey in the chimp house is crowded around the glass windows with their faces pressed against the cooler surfaces. The girls were enthusiastic when we got there and progressed to adamant when asked whether or not we should even go to the children’s zoo and the petting zoo (the HOTTEST part of the zoo). After much sweaty goat brushing, I convinced them to have a snack, but even the coolest Kool Aid Jammers were not enough to cool them off completely. By the time we had seen most of the other animals and were in front of the elephants (Emma’s favorite), they were worn out enough that Emma, barely glancing at her beloved pachyderms, practically droned, in complete monotone, “It’s time to go home.” (Reminds me of that day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom when Ana said, “I feel like I need to die.” That’s what day four of Walt Disney World can do to you. Or day one of the Houston Zoo, apparently.)

Today is a different zoo altogether. Our niece and nephew are coming down from Dallas to visit, so that all four kids can play together. I’m thankful for the AC. Charlie may not be so thankful as I predict he will spend the majority of the day outside. Sad day, friend.

So, tell me — what are some more fun things I need to squeeze in this week? We’re running out of time!

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