Monday, October 31, 2011

Home Improvements

In the last couple of weeks, we have had some nice home improvements. They may not mean that much to you, but I'm thrilled.

This is the inside of the dishwasher. See how shiny it is? Up until Friday it was solid white.
That's how hard our water is. Thank you Dishwasher Magic for making it shine again!

The fantastic water softener that has made our lives SOOO much cleaner and less filmy.

New keyboard and maps in the homeschool room

Blinds, glorious blinds. Now I don't feel like the cows are spying on me,
and I'm not forced to wake up with the sun in my eyes!

My much beloved old-window-turned-new-mirror

Shell Decor

We now have many pictures on the walls, including this awesome one my in-laws gave us.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Party Weekend

Some of our neighbors instituted "Friday Fun Night," which is a standing neighborhood party on Friday nights. So, when in town or otherwise unoccupied, we all show up with food and drinks and hang out, either in someone's home or just kind of out in the street. We've been to two out of the three, and it's been a blast both times. There are tons of kids, close in age to ours, so our kiddos love it, too. So, that was Friday's party. And you already know all about Ruth's spa party yesterday. And today, we had a birthday party for Jeff, in which Jeff did all the cooking and a good bit of the cleaning up. It's weird to me, too, but that's just what he likes to do for his special day. The meal was fabulous, as usual! And this is just the beginning of our big party season. We have several friends and relatives with birthdays this month, a couple of half-birthdays, Weston's birthday and Thanksgiving. Woo Hoo! Let the good times roll!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Spa Party

Ruth hosted a house-warming party for herself today. She invited the girls from her CC class, and they spent the morning giving each other indulgent spa treatments, including manicures, pedicures, facials, massages and new 'dos. Then, Ruth served a fabulous lunch she pretty much made completely on her own: Tomato Basil Soup, Caesar Salad, Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Pink Lemonade and Ginger Cookies. Everything was absolutely delicious, and the girls (including me) had a blast!

Soaking the tootsies 

Doing the 'Do

A splash of color

Pretty lady

Oatmeal Smoothie facial

Beautiful girls, ready for lunch

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On the Move

Clay has figured out mobility, and there will be no stopping him now! His efforts are still a little rudimentary (as you would expect), so he goes along sometimes forward, sometimes backward and always in inchworm fashion--up on hands and knees, then flat and flailing, then up again. It's really the cutest thing to watch! And, he is absolutely thrilled with himself, as you can see.

Up...

...And down
video

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Better than I am

My kids make me a better person than I am. It's true. When I want to pout and sulk because I think things haven't gone my way,  I remember that I absolutely would not let my kids get away with that, and I snap out of it. When I want to yell and scream, and maybe even cuss, I remember that I would not want to hear those things coming out of my children's mouths, and I censor myself. And when I want to run away, crying, because I'm afraid--like I wanted to do today when Weston found a snake out by the garage that I needed to kill myself because Jeff wasn't here--I muster up some courage and I make myself appear brave, (even though my heart was beating wildly and my hands were shaking like crazy), because I want to be better than I am for my kids. I want to maintain a good example before them, so that they'll know how to behave. I'll admit, I do sometimes blow it. I yell and scream. I tremble and cry. And I even pout and sulk. But, before long, I ask myself the question I often ask my kids when I'm disciplining them, "What kind of person do you want to be?" They usually want to be a better person than they are being at the time, and so I say, "Choose to be that person." Thanks in great part to my children, I am learning to choose to be better than I am.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The last few days

Friday
  • Weight check for the Little Man. Up two pounds since last visit, but doc still wants to keep an eye on it. We'll check it again in a month.
  • Jeff reserved tickets for us to go see Les Miserables in San Antonio in January. 
  • Plumbers here (again) and have hopefully solved the worst of our lingering plumbing problems.
  • Party planning.
  • Last of the paperwork signed for our house to be officially ours.
  • Perused a local furniture store. Found things I liked, just not the things I am most in the market for.
  • Dinner at Cooper's in Llano.
  • A nice visit with my in-laws and mess-free piña coladas
Saturday
  • I GAVE MYSELF THE DAY OFF! Clay and I spent the day shopping in Marble Falls, and we had a lovely (quiet) time. 
  • Found a sofa I love. Not so crazy about the price tag.
  • Dropped off an old, sentimentally valuable window frame at the mirror shop for a little update.
  • Bought a fun new purse and some fabulous insulated cups.
  • Met up with Jeff and the kids for a picnic in the park, fulfilling my Oct. birthday gift. The weather and setting were perfect, and we all had a blast.
  • Movie night with the kids.
Sunday
  • Church and Sunday school.
  • Lunch at a new place in Horseshoe Bay.
  • Mini adventure to see the Horseshoe Bay lighthouse. 
  • FroYo with the fam (that's "frozen yogurt," for those of you, like myself, who may not be up with the latest lingo). I made my taste buds smile with pumpkin and cake batter topped with granola.
  • Forced Jeff to go look at the sofa I loved so much, and promised him I would look around online for a better price.
  • Poked around in some of the remaining boxes in the garage and determined that my butterfly shower curtain has disappeared off the face of the earth.
  • Made cookies with Ruth.
  • Read some of "Little House in the Big Woods" to Weston.
  • Poetry reading with kids during and after dinner, followed by a whole bunch of Shel Silverstein books being purchased from Amazon.
Today
  • Strong Academy site inspection. (Strong Academy is an online, two-year, college-level school for entrepreneurs that Jeff is working on starting. One of the first steps towards becoming official is this site visit from the state. The office passed inspection. WooHoo!)
  • (Finally) Washed most of the shells we collected on our visit to South Padre a couple of years ago, so I can decorate with them. Longed to be walking on some beach, somewhere.
  • Received my new window frame mirror and may have swooned. 
  • Made sugar scrubs for Ruth's upcoming spa party.
  • Enjoyed having the windows up all day.
From where I sit, it's a beautiful life. I hope the last few days have been wonderful for you as well.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Do the Math

   1 pukey baby
+ 1 girl with an eye injury
+ 1 skipped three-year-old nap
+ 1 boy with a seriously loose tooth
+ 1 kitchen-and-husband-covering explosion of piña coladas
__________________________________________________
   2 much drama for one day

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sweet Tuesday

On Mondays, Max goes to preschool from 8:15-3:15, while the older two are doing their school work here at home. We usually try to squeeze in a few errands and a trip to the library after we pick up Max and before Ruth has to be at her Martial Arts class at 5:15. That class ends at 6:00, and we either have to try to scarf down some fast food before Cub Scouts at 6:30, if Jeff is out of town and I have all the kiddos with me. Or, we rush home to eat before everyone is at their breaking point, just in time see Jeff and Weston off to Scouts, if Jeff happens to be in town. Cub Scouts ends between 7:30 and 7:45, so it's just about bedtime when we get home. On Wednesdays, we repeat the whole scenario, just leaving off the Cub Scout meeting. On Thursdays, we are at CC from 8:30-3:45, and then Ruth has piano lessons from 4:00-4:30. Fridays have Max back at preschool. And, here lately, we've also thrown in a Friday field trip, an out-of-town weekend trip, a Saturday birthday party, a visit to the orthodontist and a neighborhood get-together. I feel like I'm running all the time!

Ah, but then there's Tuesday. We have no extracurricular activities planned on that day, and I feel like I can breath. That's my day to get stuff done around the house. To actually cook a meal for my family--maybe even trying a new recipe. To prepare the material I will be presenting in CC on Thursday. To exchange emails with long-time friends. To plan upcoming birthday parties. To do a little online shopping. To take a walk with my family in the evening. To read books to my kids before bed.

Don't get me wrong; I love our full and busy life. But, I'm so thankful for Tuesday, that wonderful day of rest!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Batting Practice

No one was hurt, and the house didn't burn down. Thank goodness.

For some unfathomable reason, my three-year-old decided to pick up a rogue piece of conduit he found outside and take a walloping swing at the power panel for the water well. This knocked the cover right off, and mechanically-minded big brother came over to help replace it. Not knowing how it was supposed to go, and possibly not paying a great deal of attention to what he was doing, he got the metal cover in the wrong place and caused a nice big spark and sizzle. He quickly dropped the panel cover, and he and his younger brother ran away, without so much as a scratch or a burn on them. After watching a few minutes for more signs of fire, and seeing none, they decided to come in the house and report "a little spark." It took quite a while to get the whole story. And by the time I did, we had no more running water in the house--the reserved water in the tank having been drained by the hasty shower given to the boys so I could send them to bed. I delivered a lecture that brought even big sister to tears and apologies...and she wasn't even outside!

After seeing a rattlesnake out here in the spring and losing about two weeks of sleep over ever letting my kids play outside again, I decided to give my children's safety completely to the Lord, knowing that He can do a much better job of watching them than I can. I'm thankful I made that choice. He was definitely watching tonight.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Published

Remember back in May 2010, when Ruth was the PSIA state champ for Creative Writing? Well, the 2011-2012 PSIA handbook arrived a few days ago, and Ruth's winning story is published there as a teaching tool for others competing in the contest. I'm sure it won't be her last published work, but it is her first, and I'm just so proud! She no longer competes in Creative Writing, but has moved on to Ready Writing. She will also be competing in Music Memory, Spelling and Poetry Interpretation this year. The district meet will be in March, so stay tuned for more PSIA updates in the Spring.


*Click on the photo for a larger, more readable version.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Moody Gardens

Moody Gardens

"Do you see what I see?"

Emperor Max

Looking at the lobster

The petting pool

Paddlewheel boat

Aboard the Colonel

The only picture of Clay from the entire weekend

Sitting in a (replica) termite mound

The leg bone's connected to the foot bone

Entertaining the crowd "under the sea"

Three little tree frogs
*Check out my photo blog in the coming days to see some of the pretty stuff from the gardens.*

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Five Months

Wasn't it just last night that I was posting that Clay was four months old?! Where does the time go? My Little Bitty is growing up way too fast! This month finds Clay in a size 2 diaper and 3-6 month clothes. It also finds him rolling around all over the place, trying to push up into a crawling position, doing a little sitting on his own and standing and jumping in his exersaucer or when he's being held. He has also been enjoying one bottle of formula a week during the time that I'm tutoring at CC. And, he has become fascinated with studying his hands and feet. This kid is contagiously happy and an absolute delight, and I'm so thankful I get to be his mommy!

Sweet 5-month-old boy

Clay's favorite toy
Lady Killer