The Truth That (almost) No One Is Telling You About Sea World

I stood there today, with tears in my eyes.  The injustice and what’s being done about it was just too much emotion for this mom of two to handle.  What I was witnessing was just shocking.  A killer whale being abused?  A dolphin being mishandled?  Nope.  I saw kids.  And adults.  Unable to walk, some even unable to move their arms and legs at all – skiing.  On the water.  It wasn’t some crazy stunt I witnessed out on the lake at Sea World today.  No, it was something more amazing than that.  And it was something that very few people will take the time to write a blog about.  And that’s why I AM taking the time.  Because the world needs to know THIS truth – of the amazing things that are being done for paraplegics and quadriplegics here in San Antonio.  The kids and I watched as boat after boat went out with three skiers safely attached behind – two highly trained, experienced performers, and one dreamer finally seeing their dream become a reality.


I even got to speak to the mother of one of the skiers.  He’s 35 and has not walked in his life.  Ever.  Bound to a wheelchair, she said he lives for this day – and has participated in the program the past six years!  Six years!  How did I not know this program existed?!?!  She said that there will be six different sessions this week – two specifically held for military wounded warriors.  It’s so amazing that folks can exhaust so much energy talking about horrible injustices to animals that were done twenty and thirty years ago, but noone is talking about the injustice so many humans are born with (or are caused in war-time situations or other catastrophic events)… and what Sea World is doing to make their lives a little more enjoyable!  I don’t care what anyone says, I am a PROUD annual pass holder to Sea World San Antonio, and will continue to be for many years to come.

Independence Day

Yesterday was a day from hell. In epic proportions. Altho I know, looking back, that it could have gone MUCH worse. So I’m thankful it didn’t. Very thankful. God does know my limits.

The day began waking up as usual, to Lil Bear making noises in his crib, only to realize he’d slept an hour later than I planned… And he was supposed to be my alarm clock. Lesson learned: Babies don’t make good alarm clocks. (Ya’ll will note that I’ve received this lesson before -recently- but apparently, I’m a slow learner.)

Got up and dressed and packed before he was in a full frenzy, so that was nice. Proceeded to feed him and the normal 25-min feed took over 45. Lesson learned: It’s time to switch to medium flow nipples.

Ran around like a crazy person getting everything ready to go, got Becca up and ready and then continued to run around like a crazy person getting everything ready, around a toddler who woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Lesson learned: Don’t get Becca out of her room until the literal last minute and take her straight to the car.

Got to the parade and found a FABULOUS parking spot (kudos to Cody for suggesting we go way early!) and then found a FABULOUS spot to sit in the shade. Great tree, lots of space for Boo to run and play in the grass…. Except she just wanted to sit in Mommy’s lap. While I’m trying to feed brother. Which we didn’t figure out until she had already been misbehaving for 25+ minutes and was almost to a boiling point. I’m tellin you what- jealousy is an ugly thing, ya’ll. she proceeded to fuss and just generally be ugly and get in trouble until the parade was over – an hour and a half later. Lesson learned: When heading to a parade with two small children, bring supplies not only for the baby to have a nine-wipe blow-out emergency (thankfully I didn’t learn this lesson the hard way- I was prepared), but also brace yourself and gear up by taking an extra dose of patience before you get out of the car. You’re gonna need it.

Went home, got the dogs, and hit the road. Becca slept for a while- until right before we pulled in at Sonic abt 20 mins down the road. Of course their credit card machine was down, and they were the only thing there we wanted, with no other options along the way (seriously ya’ll- why are there ZERO eating establishments along highway 90/10 in San Antonio except right by Lackland/Kelly?). So we went to a gas station and Cody went in and got cash so we could eat Sonic. The whole time Lil Bear is fussing and Boo is saying “I hungry” and “Go see Mamie Pappy now please Mommy.” (At least she said please, right?) By the time we got back to Sonic, ordered, and our food FINALLY came, the poor girl who brought it out started reading the list of what we ordered… Cody was done waiting. He just clipped out “yeah, all that stuff is ours. Thank you.” She looked somewhat offended that he didn’t let her read off the ginormous list of “mayo” this and “large tots” that. She has no idea at her all of maybe 19 years old what it’s like to be a parent of a toddler. Especially one who is hungry. Wait for a while, sister. Kids are gonna rock your little world. Lesson learned: Always have more than $20 cash on you so that your “I hungry” in the backseat can be fed on the first stop at Sonic instead of needing an atm. Or maybe buy hers with the cash you do have and THEN hit the atm…. Hmmm there’s a thought.

Fast forward to Bucees. We got gas and I took Becca in for a new diaper and she did super awesome. Held my hand the whole time and was really sweet. SCORE! Got her back in the car, took him in, changed him, and got back to the car to feed him but he was just too knocked out to eat. Stuck the bottle in the cooler and hit the road- this time with me driving so Cody could rest. Lesson learned: There is no such thing as REST on a road trip with two kids.

Unbeknownst (sp?) to us, just a few miles down the highway, a parking lot was waiting. A literal parking lot. Zero movement. And our first car wreck of the day. Thank the Lord it wasn’t us. (Ever- I’ll cut that suspense for ya right now. Saw four car wrecks, none of them us. Praise God! I told you- He knows my limits.) So as we’re discussing what to do, this bigger-than-life, I’m-a-Texas-boy, white truck drives past me on the shoulder. And proceeds to do what I had mostly jokingly mentioned as an option- goes up to the on-ramp and drives the wrong way down it to get off the highway. Cody scrambles on the map app, and the next thing you know, we are on a super-backwoods road in the middle of Texas just rollin’ along. Waiting to vome across some old dudes playin a banjo and a fiddle… Until we weren’t rolling. Bc the highway trafic had seeped over to the backroads… And after seeing three more wrecks, sitting in stop-n-go traffic for forever, and totally losing my patience with little Miss my-attention-span-is-shorter-than-my-age (seriously ya’ll… Less than two minutes before a meltdown wanting something new and we finally gave her my phone…until it got thrown in the floor…) we finally hit the road that would take us North, and we were able to fly. Until it started pouring BUCKETS of rain. It was what my Grandpa used to call a “toad strangler.” Lesson learned: if you think traffic will clear up, it probably will – just when the sky doesn’t.

At some point before we got on the road headed North, Lil Bear got a rumbly in his tumbly… And Cody began earning his “Dad of the Century” badge. Yup. Crawled over the center median to sit in the middle between the two kids to feed him. And entertain Becca. For what would turn into the next TWO hours. (Seriously ya’ll- the drive is normally abt 3.25 hrs… Took almost 5.5) Lesson learned: Never take a long road trip without Cody. Ever. Because noone else (including Mommy) is willing to crawl over the center console to sit with two unhappy children. Noone.

Dad. Of. The. Century!!!!


About thirty minutes from his parent’s house, Becca finally gave in and fell asleep. Kinda wish we had driven around a little so she’d sleep longer, but once her lil friends arrived and she had two older boys to play with, she was super happy. Lesson learned (again): The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree… This girl has a thing for older men. Must keep an eye on her in a few years!

All in all, the evening ended really well with lots of fun and fun with friends and lots of laughter. Becca went to bed super easy, and after I washed bottles and watched fireworks for a while, I went up to take a shower. That’s when everything negative from the day got washed away. And I didn’t even get a shower. Because Becca was awake. Sitting (or maybe even standing) in bed, talking to her brother. She was telling him about Super Why and super letters and said “Bubba, I can spell red. R-E- Red. Can you spell Blue? (Long long pause) Blue triangle. Shapes and colors Baby Grayson. We watch the shapes and colors movie on tv. Upstairs family room. Watch Lil Einsteins downstairs. Rocket red. I spell red with super letters. Red square. Do you want a square or a triangle? Triangle. Ok. Which you want a circle or a rectangle? Circle. Ok.” This conversation went on for a good ten minutes, and I’m not sure how long it had already been going on. (I spared you the typeos of actually how she pronounced all the words- Cody will thank me for that.) But that sweet time of her teaching her brother (she counted to 15 for him and back from 5, too, and mentioned Peg and the cat – from Peg plus Cat on PBS) made me smile and warmed my heart. It washed away the negative and just made me so happy. Yes, there were lots of lessons learned yesterday, but perhaps the greatest lesson was this: Our girl is independent. She is happiest on her own. And I’m independent too. I’m happiest when she is content so that we can co-exist without conflict. But sometimes we aren’t independent, and that’s ok too. Because just like I need her sweet snuggles, she needs mine. Sometimes it may mean I need to put brother down and just hold her like she never wanted to be held at his age.

This country reached its independence through bloodshed. And through teamwork. Hopefully by Cody and I working together as a team, we can avoid bloodshed from our kids in those moments where they decide to test us. And one day when they truly can be independent, I hope and pray they become a woman and man who love the Lord, and I also hope that they someday have a road trip with their kids that pushes them to their limit. For in our weakness, He is strong. I’m so thankful for that. And for the encouraging music that got me through the last 30-45 mins of the drive before Becca fell asleep. He knew what I needed. And He provided. So thankful that He always does. God bless our family, God bless Texas, and God bless America.

A sweet moment at the parade


Word to the Wise…

1) To the International tourist from somewhere in SouthEast Asia: Welcome to San Antonio. Welcome to Sea World. There are two nice folks at EVERY security table who are gonna want to check your bags and look through every pocket to ensure the safety of all park guests. Since there are two at each table, that means there are TWO lines in front of each table. I’m not cutting in front of you. I’m standing BESIDE you- to follow the people in front of me who have one tiny bag and no kids. I feel sorry for the folks behind you and your entourage of five non-English speaking children and your wife and mother. Have fun today, but be prepared to stand in lines with people you don’t understand.

2) To the billboard designer of all those wonderful billboards going up around town reminding folks to not litter: Thank you for your interest in keeping our city clean. I appreciate that. However, as a member of the tiny minority population of white, non-Spanish-speaking folks here in San Antonio, Tejas, I find it odd that all of these billboards are in Spanish. Granted, the majority of our residents speak Spanish… But isn’t that somewhat racist to think that a Spanish speaking person is the only person who might litter? Hmmm Isn’t it also odd since the vast majority of the citizens of this country speak English? Hmmm…

3) To the mom of the cute little three year old boy in the blue swimsuit yesterday: Lighten up. You don’t need to apologize for every time your child gets close to mine while waiting to watch the Sesame Street show. They are kids. They dance around to music and occasionally bump into each other. So he bumped into me? Big deal. He looked at me, said “sawy” and moved over. You didn’t need to scream at him. I know being a mom isn’t easy. Perhaps you had a day yesterday with him like I’ve had with mine today. But lighten up. He was there to see Elmo and have fun, not to get screamed at. Focus on the positives, mommy. You have a handsome little boy who appologized on his own for bumping me. I’d say that even if you don’t feel like you are, you’re doing something right.

4) To the creators of Tommee Tippee anti-colic bottles: You are geniouses and I LOVE your product! Best bottles we’ve used. Hands down. Don’t need to say any more! You rock. Don’t change a THING.

5) To the little girl upstairs who figured out how to unlock her bedroom door: Mommy and Daddy love you very much and we want you to be safe. It’s important that you stay in your room 0when you’re supposed to be in your room so that we know where you are and that nothing can hurt you. Therefore Daddy turned your lock to the outside of the door. You may not be happy to have lost the freedom to open your door whenever you choose, but that’s how the cookie crumbles. You may have won the battle at naptime today, but we have now won the war. Goodnight sweet one. Rest easy knowing you are safe. We will.


The song of your heart

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the impact music has on our world. Music is powerful. It can take you back to a moment in time, it can bring joy, it can bring pain. It can build you up, or make you laugh. It is memorable. And its been around forever. It’s everywhere.

From the great classics of Mozart and Beethoven to other great modern day classics like Elton John, Etta Fitzgerald, and Elvis, music comes in many styles and flairs. Whether you listen to rock, rap, hiphop, country, Christian, Latino, folk, jazz, classical, generation-specific, or any other style, if you stop and think about it, the music you listen to impacts your day to day life. Whether you have a good voice or not, you probably hum along, sing outloud, or at least recite the words in your mind.

Like a cricket, or a bird, or the waves crashing into the shore, music is a way to express what’s on your heart. So I would challenge you- the next time you start humming a tune, reciting in your head, or even burst out in verbal song, evaluate the words you are saying or thinking. What song is in your heart, and what does it say about you as a person? Is it a song you’d readily tell the world is there – as a reflection of who you really are?