Monday, July 30, 2012

Houston: Success

I'm not sure if we would have ever gotten up the nerve to taken a voluntary family vacation, so this trip to Houston to see the neurologist was a little scary but a great success.  To our surprise everyone, including Dominic did great traveling!  It only took us 8 hours to make a 4 hour trip, but considering, I say that's not too bad :).  Here you go: our first official trip as a family!

 Dominic slept the entire way to Houston.  Awesomeness.

 We had to stop at the giant statue of Sam Houston for a little leg stretching and history lesson.  And of course, what did our kids do after our lesson?  Stick their fingers in the ear and nose of Ol' Sam :/

I unknowingly laid in an ant pile for this awesome picture.  You're welcome.

 Thanks to Aunt Jenny, the kids had a great time with all sorts of fun trip goodies.  Once again, finger in the nose...  my kids...

There is no picture of this because I was laughing too hard, but when we got to our hotel the kids went crazy running around the suite.  They were in complete amazement at the fact that it had not 1 but 2 TV's, 2 phones, a smoke detector, a table, a radio, and get this, our VERY OWN TOILET!  They were running around yelling "we're rich, we're rich!  We have our own toilet!"  Of course they were not at all impressed at how clean it was or the full kitchen we had. 

Mike then told them the hotel really liked it when kids jumped on their beds, so they all became little monkeys, jumping from bed to bed.  Who needs amusement parks when you have hotel beds!  Ah, to be a kid.

Just a bit after we arrived in Houston we went to the Aquarium.  It was pretty cheap too considering we didn't have to pay for parking because we're "handi" as Anthony said (he meant we have a handicapped license plate).  After all, being handi has it's perks :)

 Dominic wasn't as impressed with the fish as the big kids were, but I still think he had fun.

 He liked the lights from the sunken treasure room

This is the biggest snake Mike and I have ever seen...  ugh-h-h-h, gives me the willies! 

The petting tank where Mary begged to pet sting rays, Jake happily did so when offered, and Anthony was made to though he was not happy about it at first. That's their personalities right there.

After dinner at the coolest restaurant we've ever been to!

The next day we had our appointment at Texas Children's with Dr. Fernandez.  I was so relieved when he walked in and had grey hair!  I later told Mike I wouldn't mind one bit if he was my Mexican Grandpa (I've always secretly wanted a black grandma and a Mexican grandpa.  The grandma would be the best hugger and the grandpa would sit and tell stories for hours.  Hmmm, maybe that's TMI...).  He spent over an hour with us, doing the most detailed history, assessment, and physical we've ever had.  He took the medical records and MRI scans and had the neuro-radiologist read them.  They came to some of the same conclusions that Cook's has but had a little better idea of prognosis and will be able to tell more once Dominic's genes come back from the whole exome sequencing.  He said he wants all follow up MRI's to be done in Houston since they see this sort of thing so much, the neuro-radiologist there are very specific about technique.  All in all we are very happy with this doctor.  The visit was definitely worth while.

This is Texas Children's in the Medical District.  This picture does not do this complex justice.  It is the biggest medical complex I have ever seen.  The buildings here are three of the towers of TX Children's.  There's another hiding behind these.  There at so many hospitals there, it's just crazy.

After the appointment we grabbed some lunch and headed to the beach.  We were there for about two hours and that was plenty for us!  We love the beach, but in our new lives, we are no longer beach people.  It's just not the best spot for a trach baby.  Despite our best efforts, sand got in his Go-bag with all the emergency equipment, not to mention in his pants and trach collar.  Dominic did really well though and sat on my lap in the tide so his feet could touch the water.  I say that counts as his first official "swim" in the ocean :)

Mary loved the sand!  She's my mud bug. 

Anthony making sand angels... cause laying in 100 degree sand is sooooo fun! 

 Dominic chillin' at the beach

 Finally he opened his eyes

 ... And he's asleep again!  The sun was just too much for his chubbiness.

 Mike was a good sport letting the kids bury him.  Not bad for someone who hates the sand!

 Then it was Jake's turn.  During this Anthony was running as fast as he could in the sand so he could watch the sand fly behind him.  He was screaming "Mom, look how fast I'm going!"

The last day we went to NASA but I forgot my camera, so you'll just have to imagine.  This trip was so important for us to have our first time alone as a family doing something really big.  We proved to ourselves that we can do it and built confidence as a family to take on the world. 


  1. So glad everything went fine and you all had that family time. May God continue to Bless you all.
    Love ya - Sis

  2. I saw you guys in Houston packing up the surburban. We happened to be in the same Holiday Inn that day. I was in Houston and have been traveling back and forth while my father begins treatment for cancer. I thought I had recognized you as you haven't changed a bit since high school. Although, I do not know the toll it takes on one's family like you do, I commend your efforts as a mother, father and family to make your little boy's life the best that it can be. You have been blessed by D and I know that will continue. --Holly Shumake Anders