Thursday, March 01, 2018


To be the shortest month of the year, February always seems so long. It's after all the holiday hubbub but so far from the next school break, and all the shine has worn off the excitement of the new year. It's cold and dark and, this year,  so very wet. And, though we usually have an extremely healthy household, this February brought us the flu and some respiratory gunk. And, a dead rat appeared on our back porch. It was a hard month. But, even with all its gloom, there were many wonderful things about February, which must be documented. And all of it is being documented at once here because, apparently, I'm on the once-a-month blogging plan.

We had our first ever Groundhog Day celebration.

We celebrated Max's birthday at Main Event.

We acquired a new-to-us vehicle.

I had a fancy makeover done.

Weston had a basketball tournament in Austin,
and he and I got to spend a long weekend together.

We soaked up as many Olympic moments as we could.

My nephew turned six, and the younger boys
and I got to go celebrate with him.

We FINALLY got around to celebrating Weston's
birthday at The Melting Pot.

The Cub Scouts had their Blue and Gold Banquet,
and Clay was thrilled to have his grandparents in attendance.

Weston was honored in the Scouts' Court of Honor with many pins
showing his advancements in rank during the last few months.
He is now at the rank of First Class Scout.

Ruth achieved the rank of Cadet Airman in CAP.

There are also several notable things from the month that aren't pictured:
  • The boys earned a trip to the trampoline park by working extra hard on their school work.
  • Max tried out a couple of yoga classes.
  • Some of us got to spend a couple of nights with my parents.
  • Ruth attended the CAP banquet.
  • Weston had his bottom braces put on.
  • Ruth had her first track meet.
  • Weston had a camping trip with Scouts in which he got to try some shooting sports.
  • Max was invited to join a special Ninja Warrior team class. 
  • I was released from my knee surgeon's care.
  • Weston finished up his basketball season.

I'm thankful for all the hard things this month and for all wonderful things!

Sunday, January 28, 2018


This space has been quite neglected this month as I just haven't had the bandwidth to keep up with it. But since it's the main chronicle of our family life, I want to do a broad overview so we don't look back someday and wonder, "What the heck happened to January 2018?" Here are the highlights (not including regular activities and things that were already going on before this month):
  • Jan. 1--Polar Bear Dip, South Padre Island

  • Jan. 2-3--San Antonio with Mimi and Grandpa

  • Jan. 4--I received a life-changing tiara in the mail

  • Jan. 5--I started running again; Jeff found out he passed his personal narrative essays, which is the 2nd test he had to pass in his quest to become a Foreign Service Officer (Diplomat)
  • Jan. 7--Weston joined a ping-pong club
  • Jan. 8--Max started his Ninja Warrior class; Clay started his martial arts class

  • Jan. 9--Max and Clay built a cotton gin during History class

  • Jan. 10--I started my regular Meals on Wheels route; I took my first writing day out of the house; Clay started swim lessons; I started back to yoga

  • Jan. 12--Max turned 10, and we celebrated at the Lego Discovery Center and Olive Garden

  • Jan. 13-15--Weston went on a surprise campout with the Boy Scouts, and they got to spend the night on board a battleship
  • Jan. 14--Ruth's last IEA horse show of the season

  • Jan. 15--Ruth officially became a Civil Air Patrol cadet
  • Jan. 18--Ruth started track
  • Jan. 19-21--Max got to spend the weekend with Nana and Papa and got to attend a monster truck show

  • Jan. 20--Weston attended the Boy Scout Merit Badge College where he got to work on badge requirements with other members of his troop
  • Jan. 21--I got to dance with Weston at his last Cotillion class

  • Jan. 22--Clay and I got to build castles and shields with the rest of his Cub Scout den
  • Jan. 27--Clay got to participate in the Cub Scouts' Pinewood Derby; Ruth completed her first CAP PT test

  • Jan. 28--Brunch at Blue Mesa Grill; Hiking at Ft. Worth Nature Center and Refuge

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Perfect Ten

Dear Max,

I'm so glad you decided to join our family a decade ago! It's been a wild and exciting ride--sometimes terrifying, but mostly a lot of fun! You are such a special person, and it's truly a privilege to know you.

In the last year, I have seen so many changes in you that indicate you are truly becoming a young man. You seem to be maturing before my very eyes, and it is such a neat transformation to watch and be a part of. I see you honing your leadership skills, mastering your emotions, helping and respecting others, showing gratitude, powering through difficulties, making choices to ensure your happiness, and developing skills that serve you now and will continue to serve you in the future. I'm very proud of the young man you are becoming, and I'm thankful I have the opportunity to learn from you every day.

We spent three months this summer traveling through the western U.S. and Canada in our tiny RV, and we had a blast. You had your special platform bed in the front and would make yourself a nice little nest every night. You are such a great traveler and always have plenty of books and activities to entertain yourself. You were very proud of yourself for suggesting two of our stops (The High Desert Museum in Oregon and Old Trail Town in Wyoming), which you learned about in your Spelling book before we left. But, you seemed truly happy with all the places we visited, and you enjoyed every activity along the way. You were tickled that we visited some places that still had snow in the summer, and you loved all the hiking and outdoorsy things we did. You learned how to curl in Park City and got to see your first rodeo in Calgary. And you solidified your love of hot tea at the Celestial Seasons factory in Boulder.

In addition to our summer trip, we also had two other amazing trips this year. One was to Nashville for the total solar eclipse, which was such a spectacular thing to behold. And the other was to Washington D.C. where we saw and did so many interesting things. Your favorite things were Lincoln's Cottage, the Lincoln Memorial, and The Building Museum. The last you stayed at from the time they opened until the time they closed. No doubt you would have stayed longer if you'd have had the opportunity.

Speaking of which, you love to build and are constantly constructing structures out of whatever materials are available, but you are especially obsessed with Legos. You really love building and will happily spend hours creating masterpieces out of the little pieces. That is why we decided to give you tickets to the Legoland Discovery Center for your birthday.

You decided to try baseball in the spring, and you did a great job and had a lot of fun. But by the time fall came around, you were ready to try something new. Inspired by our visit to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado over the summer, you chose a gymnastics class and a tumbling and trampoline class. You have really enjoyed these classes and are clearly becoming stronger and more flexible as you learn to make very controlled movements with your body. You are sticking with the TNT class this semester, but you have traded in the gymnastics class for a Ninja Warrior class, which is a fun new challenge. I never cease to be amazed at your astounding athletic abilities and the overwhelming need you have to move your body. You often do sit-ups and push-ups just for fun, and you have some crazy big muscles for someone your age.

A few days after school started, I tore my ACL after convincing you and Weston to teach me how to ride the Ripstik. I ended up having to have surgery, and the recovery took quite a long time. From the moment I got hurt, you showed the utmost care and concern for me. You hardly let a moment pass without asking me how I was doing or if I needed anything, and you helped out with so many things while I was incapacitated. You have such a kind, compassionate heart. You are also incredibly sweet with Clay and with your younger cousins and, really, any younger kid. You are such a good guy!

You love to learn new things, and you usually take your school work seriously. You love to gather new facts and then share them with the rest of us, and you eagerly embrace new challenges. You are especially excited at the moment to be studying Spanish and feel that it will help you while we are traveling in South America this coming summer. This is your first year to be enrolled in CC's Essentials class, and you are loving it and are doing well.

Some of your favorite foods include pizza, pickles, and pistachios. You are also crazy about sushi, and you are very proud of your chopstick skills. Your love of cooking continues, and you have been perfecting your scrambled eggs this year. It's so cool that you enjoy a wide variety of foods and that you are becoming self-sufficient in the kitchen.

Max, you are such an amazing 10-year-old! You make me proud every day, and you are constantly teaching me important life lessons. You are clever and sweet and full of passion. You have an adventurous spirit and a curious mind. You are a delightful person to know and do life with. I love you more every single day. Happy birthday, and welcome to the double digits!


Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Family Fun

We were blessed to finish out 2017 and begin 2018 surrounded by family. We got to spend a few days with my side of the family before Christmas and then headed down to South Padre Island on Christmas Day to spend a week with Jeff's side of the family. We had so much fun and made so many wonderful memories!

Crazy Cousins

So thankful to have these two beautiful ladies in my life!

Shooting lessons and target practice with an expert

Cousins and best friends

South Padre House

We played lots of Trivial Pursuit

These crazies thought it was warm enough to get in the water!

So much beach fun!

This little lady loved the beach and
wanted to be out with the big kids!

It really doesn't get any better than this!

Max and Slade really bonded!

Celebrating Mimi and Grandpa's anniversary at Dirty Al's

The breakfast chefs at our house were amazing!

Victoria and Clay were so proud of their pancakes,
which they made with their very own pancake makers.

It was necessary to sit in the hot tub after a cold day at the beach.

A cold beach picnic

Uncle Alan was a good sport and let the kids bury him in the sand.

New Year's Eve on the beach commemorated in shells

New Year's Head Gear

Playing Mexican Train while waiting on midnight

Ready for the countdown

New Year's Day breakfast at Yummies Bistro

The Polar Bear Club

The Buckhorn Museum in San Antonio

Grandpa bought everyone a round of root beer at the Buckhorn,
since it claims to be the place that pioneered the idea during Prohibition.