Thursday, December 08, 2016


Just 15 minutes from our house lies the charming downtown of Grapevine. At this time of year, it's all decked out in its Christmas finery, so we were thrilled to take the kids over on Tuesday night to see the lights and to view one of our favorite movies of all time, A Christmas Story, at the historical Palace Theatre. We had so much fun that Jeff and I snuck back over to Grapevine last night for a much-needed date night. We will no doubt be exploring more this this delightful little neighbor city in the future.

Charming downtown Grapevine, all decked out for the season

One of Grapevine's large outdoor Christmas trees

The Palace Theatre, which was first opened in the '40s

Always a favorite!

Clay and Jeff shared one of the double seats in the theatre
(And, there might have been just a little silliness!)

The Palace is mostly used for live shows, but they also have special movie events

A relaxing date night in Grapevine

A fun, bubbling adult beverage at Mi Dia

Date night ended with coffee and dessert at Buon Giorno Coffee Shop

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Exploring Cowtown

The boys and I had an opportunity to join some other members of our CC campus for a field trip to the Ft. Worth Stockyards yesterday. We had never been, and we had so much fun and learned a lot. We started with the cowpen maze, which was just challenging enough to be fun but so so difficult as to frustrate us. Then, we had a guided tour, which allowed us a quick peek into the auction room to hear and see the proceedings. The boys were especially fascinated with the auctioneer. We also got to view the second-longest burning lightbulb in the world, which has been burning in Ft. Worth for 108 years, and we got to visit the original stock barns and some of the animals housed there. After that, we witnessed one of the twice-daily longhorn cattle drives. After lunch, we visited the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and then ended the day watching a cowboy demonstration. We are definitely interested in returning with the rest of our people when we have the chance.

Cowpen Maze

Proud finishers of the maze

The beautiful stock exchange building

The cattle drive takes places on the street
that was part of the original Chisholm Trail.

Cowboy Max

Clay is practicing his roping while posing with the cowboy statue

Friday, December 02, 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016


Dear Weston,

It seems so odd to say that you are 11, but 11 you are. You have changed so much in the last year--in your physical appearance as well as your overall maturity--and I can truly tell you are starting to leave some of the trappings of childhood behind as you stretch towards manhood. You have grown taller and thinner in the last year, and you've decided to start wearing your hair longer, because you determined a buzz was a haircut for younger kids. On a recent grocery shopping trip, I spied a man out of the corner of my eye coming up the aisle beside me. I tried to ease out of his way, but when he kept coming toward me, I took a closer look and realized it was you all along. It was a shock to register my mistake because I still sometimes think of you as my little boy, as mothers are wont to do I suppose.

You loved our RTW trip and often talk about things you enjoyed or observed while we were traveling. You definitely have the travel bug and are willing to go just about anywhere...when it isn't football season! You even came up with the term "awaysick" to describe your wanderlust. We'll be doing some traveling in the U. S. next summer, and you are really looking forward to it and are already helping us plan some of our stops.

Speaking of football, that is still your overriding passion. You were fortunate to get onto a great team this fall, where you were encouraged to push yourself harder than you have before. But you were rewarded with the opportunity to play both defense and offense in every game, and you helped your team out with everything from sacking quarterbacks to scoring touchdowns. Not only was your team undefeated in the regular season, but it was also never even scored upon until the championship game, where you suffered a heartbreaking one-touchdown loss in overtime. You and your team worked so hard this season, and your progress as an athlete was observable even to my untrained eye. You are so excited that we now live in a place that has a spring football season as well as a fall season, and you are gearing up to play again in a couple of months.

You are kind of obsessed with logic, having entered an early stage of dialectic learning, and you are enjoying doing logic puzzles and studying logical fallacies in school this year. You also love to point these fallacies out in discussions with those around you, and I'm pretty sure you would be willing to argue with a fence post. I'll admit, sometimes this is maddening for your parents and siblings, but it's also super cool to watch you learning how to use some great tools that will help you better process information and learn to make more of your own decisions. As far as other school subjects go, you still love and excel at math. You are even planning to participate in two different PSIA math contests in the spring. Probably the most surprising class you are enjoying is writing, as this has been your nemesis in the past. You are loving the structure of the IEW program we are using in our CC Essentials class and are especially enthralled with the awesome application of alliterations. (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)

Despite the proclivity to argue about just about anything, you are still a very sweet guy. You are always quick to give hugs, generous with compliments, and careful to show appreciation for gifts and kindnesses. You are thoughtful and sensitive and an all around nice guy. You also love to tell jokes and to make others laugh, which, combined with your sweet, fun-loving nature, makes you loads of fun to be around.

We happened to be at the ranch on your birthday, and you were beyond thrilled that you got to shoot both a turkey and a buck on your special day. Throughout the course of the weekend you also shot a couple of dove, a quail, and a skunk, though this last was not exactly a hunter's delight. You love being outdoors and certainly don't mind getting your hands (or shirt or anything else) dirty to stock the freezer. Clearly, Dad and I chose wisely when we decided to get you a grill for your birthday.

Weston, I am so very proud of you and the young man you are becoming. You are smart, sweet, funny, handsome, hardworking, and curious about the world around you. It is a joy to have you in our lives, and we are so thankful for you! May this next year be filled with millions of happy moments for you, and may you continue to grow into your awesomeness! I love you so much!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Perot Museum

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Weston's a big fan of The Periodic Table

Creating Dinos

A skeletal puzzle


The Water Cycle

An interesting weather report

Our little engineer was in heaven!

Battle Bots

Starting a building project

You know this boy wasn't leaving without a picture with the frog statues!

Musical Max

The end of a very fun day

Monday, November 21, 2016

Foodie Staycation

We decided to take a break from school this week to spend a couple of days exploring Dallas before heading out of town for the long Thanksgiving weekend. Today's adventure was a fun food hop at Trinity Groves. With views of downtown Dallas and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, the group of interconnected restaurants, offering a wide variety of international and local food choices, provides a feast for all the senses. Our plan was to visit as many of the restaurants as we could (without making ourselves sick), sticking to small appetizers or shared dishes. We started at Resto Gastro Bistro, where we ordered several dishes that weren't bad but definitely sounded more delicious on the menu than they actually were. Our next stop was Sushi Bayashi, which was probably the favorite of the day for most of our group. We had the Philadelphia Roll and the Spicy Salmon Tower, and every bite was like a little burst of happiness in our mouths. Finally, we hit Beto & Son for some fresh guacamole, queso fundido, and loaded nachos. It was a very fun outing, and we feel sure we will visit again, as there are still many restaurants that we need to try!

Experiencing Dallas

Trinity Groves restaurants with connected patios
(The top pic is not mine; I borrowed it from their website)

First stop: Resto Gastro Bistro

Sushi Bayashi was our favorite

The lighting was super weird at Beto & Son, but the food was delicious!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Winning Day

Ruth had her second IEA horse show today in Ft. Worth. Despite the coolness of the weather, Ruth was on fire. She won 3rd place in her walk/trot class and 4th in her walk/trot/canter class. And, her team won 1st place overall. It was a great day!

Ruth and Nick looked beautiful in the Walk/Trot class

Ruth and Jupiter were out of this world in the Walk/Trot/Canter class

Ruth's hard work and determination definitely paid off today!

The Summer Hill Farms high school team with some new decor for the barn