Because What’s Cooler than Kids Playing in a Mansion Basement?


A couple years ago, our kids toured the Moody Mansion, one of the historical homes on Galveston's Broadway. Everyone at the museum was talking about the children's museum they were building in the basement. At the time, I felt a little worried for the employees because it just seemed like it wouldn't work. I imagined a poor recreation of the big-city versions (i.e. a bin of used toys, some play … [Read more...]

Brace Yourself


Back when I worked as a waitress, the hostess would sometimes seat four tables, one right after another.  When this happened, you would have to flag down another server and say, "My hair is on fire" to let them know you needed help. My hair has been on fire the past few months. I've had a book deadline, and the stories for this book were personal, complicated, sad, and funny. Telling these … [Read more...]

The Rules are Different on the Gulf Coast


We're in the process of booking Best of Times for the summer.  Our renters are mostly families who live in Texas suburbs and come to the coast for vacation. Back home, their planned-community homes are brick, and big, and beautiful. Six-foot privacy fences separate yards, and these yards are filled with trampolines, swimming pools, and swing sets. Every day landscaping crews descend on lawns … [Read more...]

Want to Go to Galveston for the Weekend?


If you have three days in Galveston, you are in for such a treat. Here's what to do, see, and eat while visiting Galveston. Come along and experience the very best our little island has to offer.... Day One--A Day at the Beach If you want a quiet beach, head west. Take 61st Street to the Seawall Blvd and turn right.  Galveston Island State Park has rinse-off showers, restrooms, shelters with … [Read more...]

Start a Family Shell Collection


Two types of people walk on the beach: those who pick up the shells and those who don't. For forty years, I didn't pick up shells. Taking home bucketfuls of shells seemed like something a tourist would do. The only people who collected shells were the ones who needed souvenirs of the beach, right? Also, taking shells home felt sort of greedy. If every beachcomber picked up the shells, what … [Read more...]

The Excitement of Spring Break 2015


Does it seem like the Spring Break is the year of the Super Vacation? This year every one we know seems to be doing a really big vacation. Grand Cayman! Disney with all the cousins! Snorkeling with the kids in Honduras! Mexico! For the past few months our friends have been busy buying bathing suits and getting their passports, and I've been sort-of glad we weren't doing much over Spring … [Read more...]

Ten Reasons You Need to Take Your Kids to the Beach


You need a beach vacation as much as they do. For the past ten years, our family has spent almost every break lugging sand buckets and shovels down to the beach. We have gone with family, close friends, and new families we’re just getting to know. Every single time, the kids play so hard, they become absorbed in their own worlds.  The change in latitude is a change in attitude, and no one says … [Read more...]

But First, Forgive–40 Days of Posts


During the 40 days of Lent, I’m writing 40 blog posts. Instead of giving up chocolate or Facebook or corn syrup or whatever, I’m adding this habit back into my life. I miss documenting the seasons our kids are slipping in and out of; I miss remembering and anticipating and processing our lives here. But I’ve become too rigid about my posts. My internal editor says, “Don’t write about that. … [Read more...]

Talking to My Kids about Listening to God


Our kids are at the age where they’re starting to understand relationships. Yesterday Catie pulled me aside and confidentially explained to me about my moods. She said,“just so you know, when you’re in a bad mood, we notice. Sometimes we don’t even want to be around you.” I explained that was kind of the point of a bad mood. It’s a way of telling the world you need some alone time. As the … [Read more...]

My Stop-Complaining-About-Galveston Rant


This weekend our family headed down to Galveston for three days at the beach. We collected shells, took long family walks, ate delicious seafood dinners, did two museum tours, and soaked up an afternoon of  body surfing and sandcastle-building.  The weather was gorgeous, the locals were friendly, and the beach was so peaceful. This glorious weekend came after a week when I had read two blog … [Read more...]