This trip took place from February 17th through February 22nd, 2017.
Day 3, Walk to the Park and Movies: Day three began much like day two. Beth and I didn’t set an alarm because James was more than willing to wake us up bright and early. He is so very cute when he first sees his mom and me in the morning (after the initial whimpering, of course). I had a bagel for breakfast and anyone that was up watched TV for a while. I don’t remember exactly what it was we watched. I know we watched Toy Story and Toy Story 2 at some point. Beth said (and I agreed) that if we watched the third one we would leave the room for the landfill incinerator scene. Val said we were being ridiculous but that scene is depressing! It doesn’t matter if the toys were rescued and received a happy ending afterward. That scene is one of the most tear-jerking scenes in any movie, ever. It’s just science.
James spent some more time in the dangly-stuff-floor-play-mat thing and Carter slid in next to him to remind himself of younger days. Val’s dog, Maple, got in on the play-mat action as well because she likes to lick little kid faces. Before noon, everyone got dressed and we went for a walk to the park. Beth pushed James in the stroller but Carter was leading the way. He found a large stick which then came along too. The park is a couple blocks from their house and right next to Carter’s elementary school. The district is building a new school right next to his current one so there’s a school, the shell of a new school, and then a good-sized park. Carter started playing on the jungle gym with Val and Beth in tow. Dave, James, and me walked in a circle around the school/park and came back. It sprinkled for roughly two minutes and then stopped. Dave took a turn helping Carter climb/slide without hurting himself. He’s a good little climber! They’re fearless at that age.
Beth put James in a swing and then rocked him back and forth a bit. He was pretty tired and appeared to not know what to think of it. It was nice when he went down for a short nap on the walk back. We saw a variety of the local wildlife on our walk, including squirrels, birds, turtles, and fire ants (whose nest Val pointed out). It was really nice to be outside. Minnesota Winters can get really bad but even the better ones, like 2016-2017 has been, can keep you down. We haven’t had the snowfall of a bad winter and our temperatures have been above-average but it’s still cold and dreary. Even a cloudy Houston day was a massive improvement (it was the mid-70s). I know the Summers in Houston get unreasonably hot but every time we visit I wish we didn’t live where the winters are depressing. Cabin fever and Seasonal Affect Disorder are very real things. I’m suffering from them even now as I write this within one week of having been on vacation. It snowed about an inch the other night and it mostly melted by the time I got home from work the next day but that doesn’t mean I’m okay with it. Spring cannot come soon enough.
Val and I went out to grab lunch and bring it back to the house. I was craving some Texas barbecue so we headed nine miles towards downtown to a restaurant called Goode Company BBQ, passing by NRG Stadium again on the way (this time much closer). We actually dined at this establishment on our trip in 2013. Val and Dave used to live a lot closer and they both like their Jalapeño Cheese Bread. It’s a small little joint with very little indoor seating. Last time we ate on their patio but a to-go order would suffice this time. I ordered the Combo Po-Boy Sandwich, which allowed me to choose two of their grilled or smoked meats on one sandwich (the cheater’s way to try two at once). I went with ham and brisket on the sandwich and a side of Jambalaya Texana. It was delicious and satisfied my ‘cue craving effectively. The Goode Company has many restaurants in the Houston area including one seafood place converted from an old train car. Val and I also stopped in at the Cuban restaurant across the street and picked up dessert. Dave had stopped off at Amazón Grill and bought us his favorite dessert, Tres Leches, on our last trip to Houston. Tres Leches is a sponge-cake soaked in sweet vanilla laced cream & meringue italiano. I remembered this fantastic treat very well and requested that Val stop there considering the proximity to Goode Company BBQ. Dave was pleased in that decision when got back.
The rest of our Sunday was relaxing. There was a possibility of visiting the Children’s Museum, of which Carter is a big fan, but it didn’t materialize. Outings with young children have to be carefully timed and this one just did not work out. We chilled in the living room and watched movies instead. One of them was X-Men Apocalypse, which Beth and I had not yet seen but thankfully Dave owned. We had to watch it in a couple segments because at times Carter didn’t approve and demanded more-kid friendly content. I liked it alright. I’d give it 7 out of 10. It had a lot of good stuff but it wasn’t my favorite superhero film. It was yet another movie franchise that we were behind on and thanks to Dave’s collection and our five day vacation, we were now caught up. End of day three.