SkydIVY Dutton

What better thing to do on a pleasant Sunday afternoon than to go skydiving? Indoors, no less!

Holly bought Ivy and I a nifty Christmas present which was a session of indoor skydiving at iFly Houston. What a treat! You put on a jumpsuit and helmet, and then step into a wind tunnel with your instructor, and off you go wobbling and flopping around like a road-sign in a hurricane. It only takes a few seconds to realize this is all about moving and positioning your body correctly to stay afloat. Neither Ivy and I got it right the first time around and mostly just bumped into the walls and fell to the floor. But the second time around we both seemed to get the hang of it just enough to stay in the air and enjoy the ride.

These videos are of our second time in the tube. Ivy did a great job! She was a little afraid to go high, but the instructor held on tight and took up about 1/3 of the way through the tube. She loved it! Here’s her session:

I loved it too. I think I could get the hang of this with a little practice. They do have different classes and levels of expertise you can ascend through, but I’m sure that would cost a small fortune. Still, you can learn to do flips and turns and formations and all kinds of cool stuff.

Awesome Christmas present, Holly! Thank you very much!

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2015 Year in Review

What a year of extremes it has been! It seems like there were long bouts of boring times, but then again as I look back there was plenty of action and adventure… and injuries! Ivy broke her arm, while I cut my hand pretty severely on some barnacles in the Bay. There was also the adventure with Jose who showed up on my doorstep in August with mysterious pain in his side, which I realized (and confirmed later the next morning at 5 a.m.) was as a kidney stone blockage.

There was also lots of travel including 2 trips to Central America, a couple of visits to Dallas, 1 trip to Austin, 2 trips to San Antonio, and numerous trips to Galveston. We fed horses at the Houston Police Horse stables, went to a Children’s Festival, visited Kemah Boardwalk with grandma, visited the Museums, rode an elevator to the top of a skyscraper, and lots lots more. It was a busy year!

Year in Rewind part 1

Year in Rewind part 2

  • Horse Feeding – We discover you can go feed the Police horses carrots and apples.
  • Rodeo Houston – George and Loann from South Dakota come to visit.
  • Spring Break – Mom comes to visit and we do Galveston and Kemah Boardwalk
  • Fifi gets diabetes! – She begins losing weight quickly, but we realize that isn’t a good thing. Sure enough, she is sick.
  • Ivy and I go to Comicpalooza – And we end up the news! Abc13 was there asking people if they had difficulty parking or getting downtown.
  • Floods and the roof falls in! – While sitting in the living room, suddenly a chunk of ceiling falls on to the couch.
  • Mission Trip to Belize – A men-only trip to Belize to do construction work and 2 days at a Boy’s Camp. What an awesome week! It was hard work and exhausting, but very rewarding. We ended the week with a float on inner-tubes through a cave. Awesome!!
  • Ivy & I go to Dallas – We attend a wedding and then an afternoon at the Perot Museum.
  • Ivy breaks her arm! – She thinks she is spider-woman and climbs the door frame, but falls face-first to the ground and breaks her fall (and her arm) as she hits the floor.
  • Ivy joins the Girl Scouts!
  • A night in the hospital with Jose – at 1 a.m. Jose comes asking for help for unbearable pain. I suspect it is a kidney stone. Sure enough! By 5 a.m. the doctor confirms and says it is too big to pass so he must be moved to another hospital for its removal.
  • Mission trip to El Salvador – 6 days digging a water well in a little village. Hard work, but what an awesome week! Lots of rain.
  • Ivy catches her very first fish!
  • Thanksgiving Day fun at the Pleasure Pier in Galveston – After stuffing ourselves with food made by Jane and Holly, all the guys (me, Jose, Ray, and Braden) and 1 girl (Ivy), and we had a fun afternoon riding stuff on the Pier.
  • Jane decides to buy a new house! – The process begins…
  • Ivy has her first Girl Scout Camp
  • Christmas in Arkansas – we hang out with the relatives in Arkansas, watch the new Star Wars movie on Christmas Day, and then stop in Dallas and visit the cousins (Aunt Toni and Nabil) –
  • Six Flags in San Antonio – Ray, Jose, and 4 of our kiddos head to Six Flags for a day of (cold) fun. Ivy rides her very first roller-coaster! We also visit the Alamo.
  • Back to San Antonio – Holly, Ivy and I head back to SA and stay at the same hotel (thanks BhP Billiton for that awesome $500 gift card!) and we enjoy lunch at the Tower of the Americas.
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Waiting Around for Furniture to Show Up

Okay, so my mother-in-law decides to buy a new house and I volunteer to wait around one afternoon for furniture to show up. Who knew it would be this exciting!?

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Some guys in History named Joseph Dutton

As it turns out, there are quite a few guys named ‘Joseph Dutton‘ in the world, and even a few in the history books as well. Here’s a couple of them…

  • Joseph Everett Dutton discovered a sleep sickness, but died at age 29 from a tick bite. Over 1,000 people attended his funereal.
  • Brother Joseph Dutton became a catholic priest and served in Hawaii at a leper colony. He was characterized in a movie about the colony called “Molokai” with his role being played by actor Tom Wilkinson

. Here’s another blog post with a bit more detail about the life of Brother Joseph Dutton: A Servant of the Lepers: Brother Joseph of Molokai


You can watch the entire movie on-line. :)

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Thanksgiving Day Food and Fun

What is there to do on Thanksgiving Day after stuffing yourself with lots of food? Head to Galveston, of course, and ride the rides on the Pleasure Pier!

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National Funeral Museum

What better time to go to the National Funeral Museum than during Halloween? That’s what we did today as school let out at 12:30 pm. We did the tour of the museum, as well as paid $5 extra to walk through their creepy haunted house.

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Gone Fishing

One day in September when the weather was nice, Jose said he wanted to go fishing. I researched a little on-line as to where people go fishing close to Houston and discovered a park near the Baytown Bridge called Bayou Nature Center. It turned out to be a really nice place! Jose caught a couple of fish and Romeo caught 1. Ivy didn’t catch any fish at all and was a bit upset about that.

Jose wanted to go fishing again, and Ivy wanted to go the beach. I didn’t feel like driving all the way to Galveston, so I decided to try out this place called Sylvan Beach in La Porte. It’s a nifty place on the bay with a man-made beach and a big play area for kids. It also has a pier that you can pay $4.00 and walk out on to go fishing. Jose wanted someplace with less people so we drove about 2 miles north to Morgan’s Point. He didn’t have much luck catching a fish, but Ivy did! She caught her very first fish!!

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Ivy Sommer Dutton’s Super Summer Break

Another summer break is almost over with school starting August 24th. But it hasn’t been a boring summer for Ivy! We kicked off the summer immediately with 2 weeks of Swim Classes at Houston Swim Club – Sharpstown location. Then tt was another round of Vacation Bible Schools, and as usual Houston had plenty to choose from. This year, however, Ivy went to 1 VBS that lasted for 6 whole weeks. It turned out to be GREAT! It was at a small church within walking distance to our house, and they had plenty of things to do all day long. They challenged the kids to memorize all of the books of the bible and if they did they’d get a special treat – a field trip to an Oil Ranch. Much to my amazement Ivy did it! She got to spend the day – which was actually on her birthday (July 23rd) – at this Texas Oil Ranch.

Ivy also really enjoyed going to Second Baptist Church and they mega-VBS with lights and smoke and super heroes.

Not all of the summer camps were Christian-oriented. She also did a week of science camp at the Houston Museum of Natural Science and studied Kitchen Chemistry. I enjoyed going there each day to drop off and pick her up. I’d often hang around and check out some of the exhibits.

There were lots of activities and fun, but the best part wasmaking some new friends. Across the street we met Romeo (age 6) and his niece Breseis (age 7) and her brother Adrian (age 4). We also invited Julie (age 10) from next door to come over and play too. We had lots of fun on several different days including a 2 trips to the Natural Science Museum, and 1 trip to the Children’s Museum, a quick visit to the observation floor at Chase Tower, and an ‘End of Summer’ party at our house. In the meantime, we also just spend some time at home playing video games and building stuff with the magnetic tiles.

Not everything in summer was great – there was a broken arm in the middle of all that fun. But she seemed to deal with it just fine and got lots of people to sign her cast. It was finally removed and life was back to normal. You can read the details on this blog post.

As for her birthday… well, Ivy had a full-blown birthday ‘bender’. The celebration lasted for 3 days! First, on her actual birth day (July 23rd), she went with Impact Church to the Texas Oil Ranch for goat-petting and barn-swinging and other fun stuff. The next day she went to Melly Tovar’s house for the day and had a party there with cake and a pinata! Then on Saturday we had her official birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese which turned out to be fun for everyone including the grown-ups. All of the grown-ups noticed that Chuck-E-Cheese has improved their food. It used to be kind of ‘meh’, but now it is actually pretty good pizza and sandwiches!

Ivy got this cool bicycyle for birthday. :)


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Broken Arm!

Ivy broke her arm June 18th! I got the news while I was still in Belize. It appears she was climbing like a monkey up a doorframe in the house and slipped and did a dive into the floor. With arms stretched out in front of her, she managed to break one bone and she dove into the floor. :(

It was a stressful evening, as you can imagine, as Holly took Ivy to the ER.

But it seems by the next day Ivy was just fine and enjoying the attention she was getting from her new pink camouflage cast. By the time I returned it was covered it autographs and she seemed to be in no pain at all.

I took her to the next doctor’s appointment. These photos were taken June 29th during the return trip to the orthopedist and the downgrading of the cast.

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Servolution at a local school

I didn’t get enough hard work and sweat in Belize, so I decided to sign up for Servolution and help clean up a local elementary school. We also fixed up the weight room at the high school next door. My team mostly stayed in the principles office and nurses station to clean and paint the room.

Lots of work was done in just 4 hours! Good times. :)

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