Holly decided to subscribe to this service called Ancestry.com, and what a treat that has been! I’ve found a wealth of information in her family and mine both that is just blowing my mind. As for her family, it turns out that she (and Ivy) are related to a long-forgotten kingdom of Pomerania, which is the area in modern-day Germany and Poland, dates back more than 10,000 years. Holly’s 14th great grandmother was Sophie of Pomerania (in German: Sophia von Pommern) (1498–1568) was a Queen consort of Denmark and Norway as the spouse of King Frederick I of Denmark. She is known for her independent rule over her fiefs Lolland and Falster, the castles in Kiel and Plön, and several villages in Holsten during her tenure as queen and queen dowager.
Sofie of Pomerania 1458-1504 (Wismar, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany)
Anna Von Mecklenburg 1485-1525 (Nassau, Deggendorf, Bayern, Germany)
Anna Van Solms Laubach 1524-1594 (Neuenstein,Jagstkreis,Württemberg,Germany)
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!
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.
After we returned from Arkansas for a Christmas, Ray Canatella showed up in Houston and we decided to head to San Antonio for the weekend. Holly sat out this trip, so it was just Me, Jose, & Ivy in the truck, with Ray and his 3 teenagers in the car ahead of us. We met up at Six Flags for a (chilly) day of rollercoasters and shows. Ivy rode her first rollercoaster! It was the Road Runner Express. She says she was traumatized and hated it, but I don’t believe that.
We also visited the Alamo, took a boat ride, and had lunch on the Riverwalk at “Dick’s” where the waiters are deliberately rude.
Jose @ the Alamo
Waiting in line at Alamo
Jose on Riverwalk
Diva in Training
Ray & I on the boat
Ivy snaps a pic of me
The very next weekend we returned again! This time it was just Holly, Ivy, and myself. We stayed at the same hotel (Hilton) and spent the remaining amount of money on the $500 hotel gift card Holly received from BhpBilliton. We walked over to the Tower of Americas and enjoyed a really nice lunch at the Landry’s restaurant up at the top (thanks April Rabanera for the Landry’s gift card). Later, we also went to the Magic Time Machine for dinner. It was a nice visit to San Antonio… again!
We stopped in Dallas to visit with Chuck & Tina, then on up to Arkansas for a couple of days of food, family, and fun. Ivy seemed to really enjoy playing with her cousins and even shoved one down the stairs (no, not really! But this picture looks like that’s what happened)
We saw the new Star Wars movie on Christmas Day with Jim Gooing and his bunch, then later that night headed back toward Dallas. Nice visit! Good to see everyone.
Brock, Riley, & Ivy
Brock & Ivy
Brother, Sister, and Me
Jill & Kayanna
Me & Mom
The next day we visit with Holly’s aunt and Uncle Toni and Nabil and their sons and their kids. Once again, Ivy had a great time playing with her cousins.
As we leave, some nasty storms are rolling in and we even drove through some hard rain. Just a couple hours later a big tornado ripped through that area and destroyed many homes. But no damage was done to our relatives or friends in the Dallas area.
Traffic backs up along I-30 (at right) near tornado damaged apartments Sunday, December 27, 2015 in Garland, Texas. Violent storms ripped through the North Texas area late Saturday, spawning tornados that killed 11 people. Motorists at the George H W Bush Turnpike and 1-30 interchange (seen at top right) were killed. Some cars were thrown off an overpass to the highway below. (G.J. McCarthy/The Dallas Morning News)
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
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.
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!!