Thursday, December 21, 2006

And We're Off

The goodies are made, the gifts are wrapped, the van is packed and tomorrow we're off on our final adventures of the year. First, we head to Haskell, TX for the Wainscott Christmas bash. We'll leave from there on Sunday afternoon and head to Buchanan Dam, TX for the Watts/Conger party and the Burnett reunion. Then, on Tuesday night (when the kids are nice and sleepy) we'll hit the road and make our way to Lafayette, IN. And we'll begin our New Year in true Watts fashion--in the car--headed back to Austin on New Year's Day. I'm sure it'll be a whirlwind of fun and excitement, and no doubt we'll come back needing a vacation from our vacation, but we really wouldn't have it any other way! I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday and a wonderful new year! We'll check in with you in 2007!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

How To Entertain Your Child While You're Busy In The Kitchen

Today was baking day, and there was much to do. You mommies know that this activity doesn't jive with kiddos underfoot, so it's helpful to have an activity for said kiddos. So, I took a cue from our beloved "Little House On The Prairie" books and had Ruth stud an apple with cloves. She was interested because of the books and it was just hard enough to keep her busy, but not so hard as to cause her to become frustrated--or worse yet, for me to have to get involved. And she could do it in stages, if she got tired of it. She felt so big working on this project, and she was content being in close enough proximity to chatter away to me while I actually got some stuff done. It was fabulous! And as a bonus, when she was all done, we threw it, along with a few other ingredients, into the kettle and had some really wonderful cider this evening.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Topic Envy

Well, I didn't have much to report today, so I'm stealing a topic from my friend, Angela. She posted an article on her blog that I thought was really great. It talks about how so many kids (and people in general) just expect for things to be given to them, and it addresses the importance of disolving this attitude as we raise our kids. Jeff and I have always believed (and tried to instill in our children) that no one is entitled to anything. We want to pass along to them that we are thankful for what we get, but we do not feel that we deserve to be given things. At this time of year, I think it's especially important to remember this.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Random Roadtrip

Last night Jeff and I were sitting around, talking about what we wanted to do for the New Year's weekend, and we weren't really coming up with much. We both wanted to go somewhere, but we couldn't think where. Then, almost simultaneously, we thought of going to visit our friends in Indiana. (Honestly, we weren't really thinking of something that big to start with--it just sort of happened). So, we called up our friends, and they are available that weekend, so it looks like we'll be headed that way after the Christmas holidays. Yipee!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Once A Baby, Now A Toddler

Walking seems to have really clicked with Weston this weekend. He's everywhere. And not only can he walk in a straight line, he can turn completely around, and he can completely change paths on you if you aren't paying attention. And he is just sooo pleased with himself. Sometimes his excitement is actually a hinderance, as he tends to occasionally trip over his smile! No major crashes, yet, but I'm sure that's coming. But until then, we are all having a blast!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Out Of The Mouth Of 4-Year-Olds

Thursday was my dad's birthday, so we gave him a call to share our birthday wishes. Ruth spoke to him first, then passed the phone to me. Then my dad put my mom on, then I passed the phone back to Ruth. And finally, it was Ruth and Papa once again to say good-bye, while I put Weston to bed. So, today my parents stopped by, and it came up in conversation that what Ruth had to say in that last conversation was this: I just wanted to take one last opportunity to wish you a happy birthday.

Then at dinner, I was talking with my parents about a friend of mine from high school who lives very near me now. Suddenly, Ruth chimed in: Is that the one who owns Brett?!

It's full-time hilarity around here, folks!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Making My Family Smile

It's the simple things, really. I went to Goodwill today, looking for some cheap containers, which I did not find. But what I did find, was definitely worth the trip. For the kids, I found like-new Woody and Jessie dolls (from the Toy Story movies). And for Jeff, the entire first season of "The Dukes of Hazzard" on DVD. And you would have thought I brought home gold nuggets for everyone. Maybe the best $14 I've ever spent for the return I got in smiles.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Zits Happen

Somehow I managed to escape my adolescent years with maybe one zit. And suddenly I reach my "child-bearing years," and I'm getting zits like crazy every month. And unfortunately, I'm afraid that, at this point, I'm not going to out-grow it. I guess the good news is that no potential prom date hangs in the balance. And I've certainly become comfortable enough with myself over the years not to be devestated by such a blemish. But it's just annoying.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wednesday Bonus

I normally just make one post per day, but I just couldn't resist sharing this video with you.

*Just click on the link, and then click "Download Video" to play the video.

Little Piggies

My friend, Amy, has recently started her own business in which she captures the precious hand and foot prints of kiddos in clay. She has done a few for us, and they are really, really sweet. She has many different layouts, plate sizes and shapes and a ton of colors to choose from. Here are a couple she did for us:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Na-Na-Na (And Good-bye)

Weston has picked up a new "word" in the past week: na-na-na. Now, I know it isn't really "Mama," but it's by far the closest thing we've got, so I'm claiming it! (Although, if I'm honest, I don't think he really means it in that way since he uses it for things totally unrelated to me, but I'm not really that honest).

He is also really good at waving now and even does it at the right time--to say hello and good-bye. It's a whole-body wave and you just can't help but think he is genuinely happy to see you coming or going.

And finally, I just wanted to share some pictures and a video of our little walker. He's getting more confident everyday, and today I was even able to capture him on camera. We are so proud of the way he is growing, although it's hard to believe he's already big enough to walk and talk!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Life's Greatest Annoyance

I absolutely cannot stand service industries where they tell you they will show up at your house on Monday--sometime between 8am and 5pm. And they, of course, expect that you have absolutely nothing else to do but wait for them to show up. And, they have all these strict rules about if you have to cancel, it musts be before 24 hours in advance or you still owe them the service fee. So, I see no reason whatsoever that the reverse shouldn't apply. I waited for someone to show up at my house to fix my garbage disposal today. At 4:30 they called me to let me know they were way behind and they would have to reschedule. Are you kidding me?! So, the way I see it, ARS owes me $55. I'll be expecting a check tomorrow when you finally show up to fix my disposal, thank you very much!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Mama Needs A New Pair Of Shoes

O.k. so maybe it wasn't a pair of shoes, maybe it was three pairs of shoes. And maybe need (in the traditional sense) is too strong a word. But honestly, I did need something to help me change my attitude today, and shoe shopping was just the thing. I got three really cute pairs and I didn't spend all that much and--and this is maybe the most important thing--I got to get out of the house by myself for a while and just focus on me. Selfish, I know, but sometimes necessary. Don't take that to mean that my children were driving me nuts or that my husband was getting on my nerves. Quite the contrary. It was just one of those sad kind of days full of emotion I can't begin to explain, even to myself. I spent about three hours out of the house, and I came home with the "Most Improved" award for attitude--and, of course, three pairs of super-cute shoes!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I've Seen Stranger Things, But I'm Not Sure Where

Thing 1:

We actually saw a toilet planter in front of someone's house this weekend, near where my parents live. I was unable to get a picture of it, but fortunately there are other really classy people out there on the net who have documented their own for eveyone to see. The one we saw was actually even classier than this one. Instead of real plants growing in it, it had fake ones stuck inside.

Thing 2:
No, this isn't Flavor Flav, it's my mother-in-law's first cousin (and new president of a branch of Frost Bank) at the family reunion we attended today.
Never a dull moment, for sure!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Things I Like About Winter--An Exercise In Reverse Psychology

  • Pink Fuzzy Socks
  • Drinking all the Chai I want and not feeling bad about it
  • Sweaters and Sweatshirts
  • Getting to play at RadiJazz instead of the park
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Polar Fleece Anything
  • Cuddly Blankets
  • Soup
  • Fires in fireplaces at restaurants
  • More reasons to snuggle with my Sweetie

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Dinner Party

We had Jeff's team that he manages at work and their spouses over for dinner tonight. We had Mexican food again--a theme we just can't seem to get away from, not that we've really tried! The food was wonderful and the party was fun. There were a couple of other kids and Ruth had a blast playing with them. These aren't people I know well--some of them I just met tonight--but they were all neat and I think everyone had a good time. We just love to have parties. The only drawback is the clean-up! Speaking of which...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Monday, December 04, 2006

Dysfunctional Day

Any time the first thing you register when you wake up in the morning is pain in your head, you should just close your eyes and go back to sleep, because it's a pretty fair indication that things aren't going to get much better. Unfortunately, in the real world, where I live, there is no such thing as closing your eyes and going back to sleep. So I got up. And that was a mistake. We had some errands to run this morning, so I got Baby and Bag and headed to the car with Big Sister five steps behind me because it was imperative that Stuffed Poodle accompany us on this outing. Ruth finally caught up and closed the door behind her, and I dashed back up to the door to lock it. Only trouble was, it seemed to already be locked, with me never having laid a key to it. This lead to daughter questioning, doorknob jiggling, frustrated sighing, and finally just giving up. We had other fish to fry at that moment, and I figured if I couldn't get in my own house, no one else would be able to get in either. So then, we were backing out of the driveway when I noticed that something didn't feel right with the gas pedal. This lead to more frustrated sighing and a silent prayer that we would make it to our destination safely. When we got home, I picked up the mail, and found, to my complete exasperation, that I had received another ticket from the great state of Ohio on a vehicle I sold almost two years ago! So, we got in the house, by sneaking in through the garage, and I gave the kids a snack then immediately got on the internet to see if I could find a phone number of someone to talk to about this ticket. I was perched on my little computer stool, when my precious son, who was screaming his head off, grabbed my leg and tried to pull himself up onto my lap. His full weight on my leg made me lose my balance, so that I tummped off the stool, stepped on his finger and crushed the animal cookies he had deposited at my feet like an offering--not to mention that in the process, he managed to smear his gooey hands all over me, covering me with slimy cookie crumbs. When I got him under control and down for a nap, I took a look at the door and attempted to fix the problem, because it seemed to be just a matter of unsticking something that was stuck. I realized that it might be a bit bigger problem when what seems to be quite an important piece fell off and hit the floor with a "ting." It's a good thing my husband stocked the house with meals this weekend, because I'm pretty sure I would have burned the house down if I would have had to cook.

The good news is, the gas pedal problem seemed to pretty much work itself out while we were doing our running around, and CarMax is going to take care of the ticket. Also, Weston is in bed, so the screaming has stopped--coincidently so has my headache--and the animals cookie crumbs have been swept up. The door problem is still awaiting further attention from the Man of the house. So I guess "all's well that ends (mostly) well." If I wake up with a pain in my head tomorrow, I will be smarter than to get out of the bed!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Kind Of Burr

When we left church tonight, Ruth said, "Wow. It's kind of burr tonight. " And that pretty much sums it up. The temperature has been on the low side here today. It's been sunny, but the breeze has been quite chilling. Even Jeff was cold enough to want to wear a coat and cuddle up under the blankets--and that's saying something! Wishing you all warm thoughts until tomorrow...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Chef Jeff

They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Well, I've learned that the way to a woman's heart is through the cooking--someone else cooking, that is. I was out this afternoon, and Jeff got bitten by the cooking bug. He cooked and cooked and cooked and cooked, and by the time I got home there was enough food filling our freezer so that I will not have to cook for the rest of the year (or month, depending on how you look at it). Now, that's a neat gift! And if the roast we had for dinner is any indication, it's all going to be very yummy! Whoever said, "Diamonds are a girl's best friend" didn't have a friend who cooked a month's-worth of dinners for them. Yeah, Jeff! Your'e the best!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I'm Dreaming Of A Green Island

Forget all that White Christmas stuff. I'm a warm-weather girl. Unfortunately, I'm not on an island, and it's COLD here. Of course my friends in Texas North (that's Michigan, for those of you not in the know) and Albequerque will just laugh at me because it's actually snowing in those places, and here in Austin we don't even know what snow is. But still, there was a small patch of ice on my sidewalk this morning for about five minutes, and that's just too much for me. So, I'm going to go tuck myself into a pile of big, cuddly, warm blankets and dream of an island paradise.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Priceless Half-Birthday

1 Red Felt Cowgirl Hat--$1
1 Faux Leater Vest With Stars and Fringe--$1
1 Horse Sweater--$1
1 Dallas Cowgirl Costume--$5
1 Stick Horse With Galloping Sound Effects--$6
Making 1 Little Girl Say "YeeHaw" On Her Half-Birthday--Priceless

Most of you know that we celebrate half-birthdays around here. On a half-scale, of course. We usually just give a few little gifts and make the half-birthday girl/boy feel a little extra special. Ruth is really into being a cowgirl these days, so we sort of made a theme out of it with the things listed above. We rounded out the theme by watching Black Beauty, and now I know at what age it is that girls start to cry at movies: 4 1/2. Every time Black Beauty changed owners and they had to say good-bye, little tears formed in Ruth's eyes. Then towards the end of the movie, a horse (not Black Beauty) died, and Ruth could hardly catch her breath for about 10 or 15 minutes because she was crying so hard. Up until now, death has just kind of been a fact to Ruth, but we have clearly crossed a line. Other than that little crying episode, it was an absolutely perfect day for my big 4 1/2-year-old!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Growing Like A Weed

Weston had his one-year check-up today. He got four shots, but only cried for a short while. I think he was actually more upset because the doctor's visit was cutting into his morning nap than he was about the shots. He weighed in at 23 lbs. and 3 oz. (50th percentile) and he was 31 in. tall, putting him in the 90th percentile! He had grown so much since the last visit that they measured him twice! Dr. Ellis said everything looks great. We're so proud of our big boy.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Big Day

Weston finally took his first little baby steps today! He didn't go far, but he definitely got the motion down! We're so proud of him! He was so eager to get in on the wrestling action between Ruth and Jeff, he completely forgot to hold on. I guess it won't be long now before he's running around all over. I did my darndest to capture the moment on video, but didn't quite get it. I'll keep trying to get some pics so I can show you all.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wonderful One

Our little man is one today! I just can't believe it! He had so much fun at the party on Thursday with all our family and friends, and then today with just the four of us. He has learned to put up one finger and say something that sounds very similar to "one" when you ask him how old he is. He caught on to the unwrapping of gifts very quickly, but he pretty much held his breath while we sang "Happy Birthday." He loved the cake we gave him on Thursday and the chocolate milk we gave him this morning. He was not a fan of the chocolate doughnut, however. It's been a fun long-weekend of celebrating. What a fun year it's been, and what an amazing little boy. I'll leave you with some pics from the party, including the cake and the pinata.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What I'm Thankful For

I have so many things to be thankful for that I couldn't possible name them all, so I'll just list the things I'm thankful for today.

1. Getting to go on two dates with my Sweetie
2. My parents for keeping the kids--allowing for afore-mentioned dates and Fiesta preparation
3. Actually getting everything together for the Fiesta
4. Fiesta decorations
5. Corduroy pants
6. Beautiful weather
7. My clean house
8. Fightin' Texas Aggie Spirit
9. Pandora Radio
10. Friends and Family

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! I'll check in with you next week.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Birthday Cake Success

Last night I made Weston's birthday cake--a duck-turned-turkey--and it was very cute...until it's head fell off and it sort of imploded. So, I went back to the drawing board--and the grocery store--and tonight I made another birthday cake. This one turned out even cuter, and so far it's still in one piece. I'll post pictures sometime when things settle down around here.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I'm Not Avoiding You, I Promise

I woke up this morning and went "Huh. I forgot to blog this weekend." And frankly, there wasn't much going on here this weekend, so you didn't really miss anything. The kids and I went to the zoo on Saturday with my sister, her boyfriend and his three kids, while Jeff took the hunter's safety class. Other than that, we pretty much just watched football and read books.

Today, we had a bit of a break in the monotony, though. Jeff came home from work wielding an autographed copy of a book, which mentions him by name on page 254 and then pictures his power-point slides in the following pages! Granted, this probably isn't a book I'll ever read--and I doubt most of you will ever pick it up either--but still, he's pretty much famous, and I'm very proud of him! He's the acknowledged resident expert on Wikipedia evolution. Pretty impressive, huh?!

Friday, November 17, 2006

So They All Rolled Over, And One Fell Out

Every four to six months I get a hankering to rearrange the furniture. I usually don't premeditate this act. Something just strikes me one day, and then, it's like if you move one thing, everything else has to move too. So, that's what I did today. Some things got pushed out to the garage (oh come on, you didn't really think it was going to stay clean forever, did you?!), some things that were upstairs moved down, some things that were down moved up, and some things are still waiting to hear their new position (which means they are just sitting in the middle of the floor "resting"). I'm quite happy with what I've done so far! The main thing is that the toy area (which is essentially the whole house) has been contained somewhat and some degree of order has been restored, which always makes me breathe a sigh of relief. I just feel like I can function better when things are in their place--of if not their place, at least some place that's relatively out of my way. My kids haven't caught on to that concept yet, but hey, they're young, so maybe there's still some hope. (Come to think of it, my husband hasn't really caught on to that concept either, so maybe there's not as much hope as I thought)! Well, the things in this house won't let me sleep until they've all been reassigned, so I must go attend to them.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Countdown To Turkey Day

Well, it's just a week until Thanksgiving and we are getting geared up around here. Today the kids and I did the BIG shopping trip. I'm sure some of you are curious as to what our theme is this year--and some of you are now wondering, "Theme?!?" (So, for a little background: We've been hosting Thanksgiving--with both sides of the family--at our house for about five years, I guess. After Ruth was born we decided to spice up Thanksgiving just a little and create our own little tradition, which is to have a theme. One year we had the "fried Thanksgiving" where we fried up about 100 turkeys, or so it seemed. One year we had a farm theme, where we all wore our bandanas and overalls. One year we had a luau, with ham instead of turkey and homemade paper leis for everyone. Last year, the theme was "Baby," and for that one we all went out to Luby's because Weston was due to arrive any minute)! So, now that we're all caught up, this year's theme is (drumroll, please) Dos Fiestas! We're all going to wear our sombreros, and while turkey will be served, it will most definitely have a Mexican twist. And, not only will it be quite the Thanksgiving Fiesta, it will also be Weston's birthday party. I'm very excited! I'm posting pictures here of our invitations--you'll remember, I made one of them and Ruth made the other one. See if you can tell who's is who's. I hope you all have plans to be with your families or friends for Thanksgiving, but if not, come join our fiesta! Mi casa es su casa y mi fiesta es su fiesta!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Don't Worry, We're Not Dead

That is not to say that the sweet relief of death hasn't been wished for in the last 32 hours or so.

So, here's what happened. On Monday night we went out for dinner at a little Mexican joint we like to go to. Jeff and I ordered chicken dishes and ate until we were quite "puffed out." Later on Monday night, Jeff said, "That Mexican food didn't sit very well with me," and we went to bed. Tuesday morning, Jeff got up and got ready for work, still complaining of "revenge of the Mexican food." Meanwhile, Mandi got up and got going without noticing anything out of the ordinary. At 10:00 on Tuesday morning, Jeff unexpectedly showed up at the house "not feeling too good," and put himself to bed. At lunchtime on Tuesday, Mandi ate the remainder of her Mexican food which she had carefully saved and brought home, not knowing that it was crawling with some kind of pure evilness. At 2:45 on Tuesday, Jeff went back to work for an important meeting, not feeling good, but a bit rested and not quite as bad as he had been. Around 3:00, Mandi began to feel not-so-good herself and laid down on the couch for a while. Around 5:00, the evilness within Mandi exploded. And at 7:00, Mandi went to bed for the night. Only it was to be quite a fitfull night with very little actual rest for both of the Watts adults in our house. We took turns going from couch to bed, and we showered at odd times, just hoping for some relief. This day (I think it's Wednesday) has been a complete fog. Jeff stayed home from work to nurse himself back to health and to make sure the children had at least one set of adult eyes on them at all times today. We've really been quite pathetic. But it looks like we may possibly be coming to the end of it. I can tell you it will be a long time before we set foot in that resturaunt again, and when we finally do I can almost bet we won't be ordering the Pollo Muy Malo.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Did You get Puffed Out While You Were On Your Business Trip?

Ruth is a very funny girl. The things that come out of her mouth sometimes just have us rolling on the floor. Today she was telling us a story about her "girls"--three baby dolls that are her "kids." One of them is named Parrot, one is named Sparkle and the other one is named Rose. "Parrot is actually three," she said, " and Sparkle is five, and Rose...well I'm not really sure what age Rose is because I don't know when her birthday is, because I was away on a business trip." Too funny for words! Then, tonight we went out for dinner, and as we finished up, this conversation took place:

Ruth: Are you puffed out?

Parents (in unison): What?!

Ruth (slower and louder, and with a hand gesture making a big tummy): Are you puffed out?

Mandi: Oh, you mean full?

Ruth (slightly disgusted): Well, yes!

All very, very funny! And frankly, I am quite puffed out.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Well, we didn't shoot a turkey this weekend--we didn't even see a turkey actually. But we did get to shoot the gun at a target. Ruth shot the gun last year, but she only shot the ground, and she only did it once and then she was on to other things. This year she was a bit more focused. She has a special little gun that is just her size...and not so much her Daddy's. And Ruth's mom even got in on the action this year, which was truly impressive. It was a fun time, though a little on the cold and windy side for my taste.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

An Innocent (?) Conversation

Here's a conversation Ruth had with my friend yesterday:

Friend: So, are you guys going to do anything fun this weekend?

Ruth (beaming): Yes!

Friend: What's that?

Ruth: We're going to go the the ranch and shoot something!!!


We are indeed off to the family's ranch out in West Texas for the weekend, and Ruth is determined to shoot a Thanksgiving turkey for us. "Little House On The Prairie" has her completely inspired and totally confident that such a thing is possible. In fact, as I was looking at turkeys in the grocery store the other day, she said, "Mom, you don't need to look at turkeys. I'm going to shoot us one for Thanksgiving!" As long as she dresses it too, is all I have to say! Hope you all have a great weekend. I'll let you know what "we" shoot when we get back.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Farewell Friend

Some friendships take time to mature and are developed over the course of a lifetime. Others happen instantaneously but feel like the the life-long kind in the bond established. The latter is how I would describe my friendship with Tiffany. The moment I saw her, I just knew we would be friends. We've had so much fun and so many neat conversations in the past few months, and that's why I'm especially sad that she is moving on Friday. I'm wishing her and her family all the best as they persue a new path in Albuquerque, but my sercret, selfish self is wishing she could stay here, just for a while longer. Dear Friend, you will be missed, but I will always be thankful for the opportunity I had to get to know you and to become your friend. Thanks for sharing yourself with me. May God bless your journey and give you his peace and joy.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Master Of The Monkey Bars

Last week we had a family outing to the park. Ruth had her heart set on doing the monkey bars, but she would chicken out every time, after moving to just the second bar (where her feet could no longer touch the step). Jeff offered her ice cream if she made it to the third bar, and she said "no thanks." This afternoon, I took the kids over to the park again, and Ruth again decided to give the monkey bars a go. After a few tries she made it to the third bar, and then the fourth. Finally, she made it all the way across. She was so excited, I thought she would pop, and I was extrememly proud of her. We called Daddy at work and he said he'd meet us at the park because he wanted to see her do it, too. When he got there she had a bit of "performance anxiety," but she did get half-way across, and it was very exciting. We all went out for ice cream after dinner to celebrate. I just can't believe what a big girl she is getting to be! Every day there is some new skill to applaude! I'm trying to remember to linger in these few precious moments before they slip away, before something much less important than mastering the monkey bars steps up into the place of most important.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Customer Appreciation Week

The Curves I go to is having their anniversary celebration this week, which means free sample products in a neat little dentist-like goodie bag and half-price, heavenly chair massages. And frankly, this week, I need a little more incentive to go workout than just wanting to improve my physical and mental well-being. What I really want to do is eat my way out of a vat of chocolate chip cookie dough...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Parenting Quote Of The Day*

"If you aren't going to do what I say, just do whatever you want!"--Jeff

*This comment has been taken seriously out of context, but it struck my funny bone anyway, so there you go.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

One Person's Trash, Another Person's Treasure

My dad's real estate company manages many rental properties. Sometimes the renters fail to pay their rent, and then things kind of get interesting. At some point in the process, the locks are changed and whatever property has been left behind is dragged out of the house and set on the curb. At that point, it becomes public property. So, when we went to pick up the kids today, my dad took us over to just such a place. It was totally trashed out, but it was completely full of things, some of them really nice things--a big screen tv, a very nice stereo system, a refrigerator, a couple of couches, a couple of beds, a car, etc. etc. We told my dad the things we were interested in and he put our name on them. What are people thinking? How can they just leave so much stuff behind? And this is far from an isolated incident. It apparently happens all the time. In fact, the piano we have in our home came from a very similar deal, where the people moved out and just left about half of what they owned. It's really unbelievable. But, I'm not complaining, because it works out well for us.

Party #3--Double Date

In an effort to maximize our time together without children, Jeff and I went on two dates tonight. We began our evening with a romantic dinner in our car, scarfing down burgers like mad on our way to see Jerry Seinfeld, live at Bass Concert Hall. After that show, we made our way to the movie theater, where the highlight for me was being "hit on" while Jeff was buying the snacks. (This was especially great since Jeff reported being "hit on" by a waitress while he was in Seattle last week). All this, and we even made it home before midnight. We are living on the edge, aren't we?! We've definitely had a fun week of celebrations, and Jeff seems to think 30 suits him just fine! It's still weird for me to get used to the idea of living with a 30-year-old, though. I mean, I still a young 20-something and he's well-into his 30s. It's just a little strange, although I'm sure I'll adjust.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

He Loves Me...

Look what I got today for no reason other than the fact that my Sweetie is a wonderful, awesome, thoughtful man. He definitely knows the way to my heart.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Party #2

Tonight we had Jeff's second 30th birthday party, just us and the kids. We went to Cool River for dinner, and it was really good. And, as an aside, let me just say what a joy it is to be able to take our kids to such a fancy place and have them behave so well. All the waitstaff was very impressed with their behavior, and we were very proud of them! The party will continue after we get Ruth put to bed in a few minutes with the movie of Jeff's choice, as is our tradition. On your birthday, your half-birthday and Mother's Day/Father's day, the one whose special day it is gets to pick whatever they want without any pushback from the other one. I can't wait to see what is in store for me tonight. Stay tuned to see what other parties unfold this week.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Jeff turns 30 tomorrow, so tonight we had a big bash with the family to celebrate the occasion. It was lots of fun! And, it's just the beginning of the birthday season for him, so who knows what the rest of the week (or month) will bring!

Monday, October 30, 2006

4th Tooth + Mysterious Rash + Time Change =

One Unhappy Baby!

Pretty much the only sound I heard today was the screaming of one sad little hombre. There was absolutely nothing I could do to console him. He didn't want to eat; didn't want to play; didn't want to be held; didn't want to be put down. He was just miserable, and I don't really know why. Maybe he just missed Jeff, because after dinner, when I went to exercise, apparently Weston kicked in to super happy mode as he played with Daddy and Ruth. Maybe I'm the problem. I just hope for the sake of my sanity and for the sake of Weston's tear supply that tomorrow is a little happier.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Happiness is...A Pile Of Rocks

We went to the park today and Weston just had a blast, even though he was quite sleepy. His favorite thing was sitting in the rocks and picking them up and letting them fall back to the ground. He did this tirelessly. He even had a hard time pulling himself away when he saw a puppy he wanted to go check out. I would have taken a picture, but I didn't get my new camera until after the trip to the park. Next time, I'll get some shots, and they will be darn good ones if the camera is everything it claims to be.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The End

We finished "Little House On The Prairie" today and then watched the movie tonight. Ruth enjoyed the book and the movie so much...and Jeff and I did, too. And, if you quiz her (which I suggest you do), she remembers every part. She can't wait to go buy the next one in the series so she can see what happens. It's neat to see her interested in such a big-girl thing. It won't be long before she can read a book like that all by herself, but for now we are really enjoying the family bonding this is generating.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Haircut. Check.

Well, my stylist was able to get us in today, so Weston got his first haricut this week afterall. (Whew)! He looks like such a little boy now. Not as opposed to a little girl, (though, I suppose that's a bonus) but as opposed to a baby. It's amazing. He's just so handsome! Looks just like his Daddy! (And speaking of him, he should hopefully be home within the hour--WooHoo!)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Haircut That Wasn't Meant To Be

This afternoon, I decided it was a good time to take Weston to get his first haricut. I know of a couple of children's salons not far from my house, so I loaded up the kids after their naps and headed over to one of them, hoping they would take a walk-in. They take walk-ins generally, but today they were swamped and just couldn't do it. So I headed over to the other one, where I found out about a very stupid rule that annoyed me so much that I just left. According to the people there, they are not allowed to cut a child's hair if they aren't wearing socks and/or shoes. (But anyone in the salon, including a young customer, is allowed to wear just flip-flops--which offer about as much protection as barefeet, in my opinion). Weston, of course, wasn't wearing either of these things since it was a very warm day and I never put those things on him if it's warm, seeing as how he can't walk, and I just end up chasing shoes all over the place because they don't stay on his feet when he's crawling around. We're talking about a haircut that was going to last no more than 5 minutes! The lady was happy to wait for me, though, if I wanted to go next door and buy a pair of socks. I'm usually not bothered too much by things like this, but today it just really annoyed me. I felt like the dad in "Father of the Bride" when he's going through the grocercy store claiming there's a conspiracy between the hotdog makers and the bun makers because they sell a package of 8 hotdogs and only 6 buns. I declined the haircut there and drove straight over to the lady who cuts my hair (who I absolutely love) and asked her if she could just snip Weston's hair while he sat on my lap. She said she would be happy to, but she was just starting a dye job and it was going to take a while. I knew Weston's (and Ruth's) happy face wouldn't last that long, so we decided to skip it for today. Some things just aren't mean to be, I guess. I am hoping to get his hair cut sometime soon though, so he isn't mistaken for a girl again.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

All By Myself

Jeff is working in Seattle this week and the kids are with my parents tonight, so that just leaves me. It's weird. This is the first time in about four and a half years that I've really been all by myself for any length of time. In a way, it's kind of nice to have some time to myself and focus just on things I want (or need) to do. But on the other hand, I miss my family. But right now, I guess it doesn't particularly matter too much because I'm off to bed. I'll check in with you on Thursday, as I'll be at my parents' place tomorrow.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Random Acts Of Violence

I found out today that on Saturday night my step-brother was brutally assaulted within an inch of his life in Dallas. Apparently, he was attacked from behind by four guys. They got him to the ground and proceeded to stomp and kick his face and head, leaving not even a bruise on any other part of his body, but pretty much taking his face off and fracturing his skull. It looks like he will require some surgeries, but will, thankfully, be all right, and may even get to go home from the hospital later this week. The authorities suspect that this was some sort of gang initiation, as they've had similar reports recently. He wasn't in a bad part of town. He wasn't involved in anything he shouldn't have been. He was just taking his fiance out for dinner. This is the kind of thing you think only happens in movies. You never suspect it could happen to someone you know. What a crazy, crazy world we live in!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I Sat In Birthday Cake

We went to a birthday party today for our little friend, Darla, who just turned one. She was new to the birthday cake scene but definitley made it known that she wasn't interested. Her mom had made a special little cake just for her, and instead of eating it, she wadded it up in her hands and then began to throw it. She refused to eat it, so her mom took her out of the high chair and set the tray down on the ground to be cleaned up later. Weston, who has yet to even experience birthday cake, made a bee-line for the tray. From that point on, everytime I looked up, Weston was looking for a way to dive into some cake, and I was working overtime to keep him out of it. When I got home, I realized that I had birthday cake all over my jacket and all over my behind. Nothing says "credible" like birthday-cake-butt. I can't wait to see what happens a month from now, when Weston really does get to dive into the cake!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Lunch And A Backrub

Today my mother-in-law and I spent some time shopping in Burnet. When we had seen all there was to see, we decided to have some lunch at The Maxican Restaurant, or The Texican Resaurant, depending on whether you looked at their sign or their shirts. We were served chips and salsa just after we were seated, and then an older lady came by and introduced herself. Turns out, she was the owner's grandmother, enjoying her first paying job. After telling us who she was, she proceeded to give us backrubs (with our permission). She said when her grandaughter offered her the job, it was with the condition that she would restrain from hugging and kissing everyone. So, she declined the position. Then, they reached a compromise which allowed brief backrubs. It was so cute...and definitely a unique draw.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Taking The Bad With The Good, And Growing A Little

Weston presented us with his third tooth today, an upper incisor at that. We were very excited for him. But unfortunately, this little blessing comes with great struggle. He's fairly miserable. His nose is running like a faucet; he's running a low-grade fever; he isn't sleeping well; and he doesn't really want to eat. All that, and the pain he must feel, have him feeling really grouchy. And I just feel awful for him, because there really isn't much I can do for him.

This whole process is a lot like life, when you think about it. We run into struggles--some huge and some small, but all difficult to bear, for even the less difficult struggles seem overwhelming when we are in the midst of them. It seems like the struggle will never end. It weighs on us when we are eating, when we are sleeping, and when we are going through our daily routine. Sometimes the struggles bring us to tears and sometimes we just don't know what to do with ourselves. But in the end, when the pain is gone, we find that we have grown, that we have become more complete somehow just for having endured. And we also find the next struggle a bit easier to bear because we know it won't actually kill us, even if it seems like it will.

Many of our struggles we bring on ourselves. But sometimes, it is the Lord who allows the struggle to come upon us. And it is these struggles that we are able to grow from. It is these situations that allow us to become more complete in the Lord. I got an e-mail forward the other day, which I normally don't even read, much less pass along. But this one made an excellent point, and I have been thinking about it all week. I will share it here, because perhaps one of you is in the midst of a struggle brought on by the Lord to make you stronger and more complete, and you need a little encouragement, just as I did.

**Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it."**

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Memory Lane

When I was in college I used to eat at this neat little pizza place...a lot! They make pizza rolls, which are just wonderful, and on Tuesdays they have a two-for-one special, which works out nicely for a thrifty college student. Every Tuesday (and I do mean every Tuesday), I would order up, and then eat at least two meals out of that one purchase. As a bonus, when I was in college, I didn't have to worry about how very many calories I was consuming. I didn't really realize how often I was taking advantage of special until one night when I went to pick up my order, and the moment I walked in the door the girl behind the counter said, "Mandi, right?" I was a bit chagrinned, but only for a moment. Biting into a pizza roll took away all negative feelings and reminded me to be sure and order up again the next week.

I've been to Double Dave's since I've been out of college, but still, it's been a few years. We got a coupon in the mail today, perfectly timed with me not wanting to cook dinner, and so we decided to take advantage of the Wednesday special, which is an all-you-can-eat buffet. Responsible Ruth opted for a salad and just one little pizza roll, but Jeff and I relived our college days and ate as many pizza rolls as we could. It was a nice trip down memory lane, but I don't think we'll make a weekly affair out of it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Thanksgiving Invitations

Today, while the kids were napping, I was trying to get the Thanksgiving invitations together. Just as I put the first one in the envelope, Ruth woke up and asked what I was doing. When I told her, her eyes went wide and she said, "Wait! I already have invitations." Then she ran off to her room. She came back with a pile of sticker-sealed envelopes. I asked the obvious question: "What are those?" Of course, they were the Thanksgiving invitations. I wanted to see what was inside, but she refused to show me. After telling her I wouldn't send them unless I knew what was inside, she finally allowed me to open just one. What I found was a small piece of construction paper with a wonderful drawing of a turkey. I just loved it! It was perfect! She told me about three weeks ago that she was going to make Thanksgiving invitations, but I had no idea she had actually done it. I was amazed that, not only had she done it, but that she had them in a place where she could easily put her hand on them. Some of you will be getting these in the mail soon. Perhaps after I've sent them out I'll post a picture here. They are absolutely adorable!

Blast From The Past

Here's a picture of me (and Weston) taken a year ago, with some of the beautiful, wonderful women in my life.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Low-Down Camera Blues

My digital camera seems to have some sort of glitch in it that is causing it to put a werid little black shadow in all my pictures. It was working fine on Saturday and today it just seems to be completely crazy. I'm really bummed because I really love my camera and I really love my pictures, and I'm not really ready to buy a new camera. Blah!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Little House On The Prairie

Jeff began reading "Little House On The Prairie" to Ruth today. He and I both guessed she'd last 10 minutes, at the most, since there really aren't any pictures and it's so long. We were pleased to be proven wrong. She was sucked in to the story and didn't want to stop reading. They read almost 100 pages! And Ruth added some new words to her vocabulary and some new historical knowledge to her database. It was so fun...for all of us.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006

Father/Daughter Bonding

Ruth and her daddy have always been close. They enjoy each other so much, and they engage in a wide variety of activities together. But tonight, I think they reached a new level in bonding. Jeff got out our old-old-old-school 8-bit Nintendo (that's right, the very first one) and showed Ruth how to play Mario Bros. They were both on cloud nine. The copyright on the game was 1985 and I think that officially puts this machine in the antique category. And you do have to hold your mouth just right to get it to turn on. But still, it was neat to see them share something that Jeff and I enjoyed as kids. And Ruth caught on very quickly (not that the original Mario Bros. is that complicated). I'm sure it won't be long before she's saving the princess and teaching us a few new tricks.

Rip Van Weston

I have never seen a person of any age be as sleepy as Weston. I have a hard time getting out of the house because we are slaves to his naptime, which seems to be all the time. This morning he woke up around 9:00. By 10:30, he was ready for a nap. I had some errands I needed to run, so I forced him to do without. So, he fell asleep in the car for 10-15 minutes. By 1:30, he was ready for another nap. Another 15-20 minutes in the car. At 3:00 he couldn't keep his eyes open, so I put him to bed. He slept for a full two hours. By 6:45 he was ready to hit the sack. When we're at the house he takes a good two-hour (at least) nap in the morning and another one in the afternoon. And he still goes to bed quite early and sleeps at least 12 hours. It's the most amzing thing I've ever seen. This is even amazing to Jeff, who loves sleep almost as much as he loves me. And speaking of sleep, the clock tells me I need to follow suit and go check out my eyelids for a while.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fitness Study Failure

Today was my last work-out as part of the Fitness Study I've been doing with Curves, so they had to get all my new measurements. First weight. Up one pound. That's right UP! So, the very nice lady says, "Oh, that's normal. You are building muscle and that adds weight." Then she proceeds with the other measurements (waist, hips, arms, thighs, abdomen, bust), and pretty soon she's looking back with concern at my first-time measurements. Nothing seems to be what it should. The numbers that should be lower are slightly higher. The numbers that should be higher are slightly lower. By now, I'm feeling pretty bummed, but she just continues to encourage: "Oh, it looks like Mary took those first measurements. She's one of our newer girls so she may not have measured quite accurately." "If these things are measured in just slightly different places, they can really show up in the numbers." "Perhaps, you were wearing clothes that fit differently before." "Maybe it's just a difference in the time of the month." But, I'm pretty smart, so I knew what she really meant was: "Wow. You actually failed the fitness study. That's almost impossible to do." Of course, it could just be a marketing ploy because I went ahead and paid for a memebership--obviously, I still have work to do.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Adventure Du Jour

Our house came alive early this morning with the sound of thunder and pouring rain, and the only light was the flashing of lightning. It was wonderful. And it made it the perfect day for an outing to RadiJazz. We have been there before, but this was the first time Weston really enjoyed it. And he did enjoy it. Even with having missed his morning nap, he was much too busy to be cranky or tired. (Although, he did fall asleep in the van before we even got out of the parking lot)! And, of course, Ruth had a blast. This place is fabulous. I really wish it would have been my idea!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Baby Storytime

I took Weston to his first baby storytime today. It was really fun. And it brought back so many memories of when I used to take Ruth to baby storytime. That was just yesterday, wasn't it?! It's adorable to watch the babies interact with each other. I've included pictures from today and also some from years ago.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Day At The Park

We spent the afternoon at Zilker Park enjoying the beautiful fall-like weather. Here are some pictures.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Stop Me If You've Heard This One...


That's it. Just corn. But for some unknown reason, whenever Ruth says that word to Weston, he belly-laughs so hard he can hardly catch his breath. It's hilarious.

We'll be telling it all night at our living room camp-out. I'm a little concerned it might not be quite the hit it usually is since Weston's already asleep in his bed.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

For All You Weird Al Fans

In my opinion, "Smells Like Nirvana" should be #1 and "The Saga Begins" should be #2.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

One Person's Trash, Another Person's Treasure

How true that is. I listed 30 items for free on Craig's List today and as of now 29 of them are either gone or pending pick up. Most of them were spoken for within 30 minutes to an hour of my posting the ad. Wow! And my half-way clean garage gets cleaner and cleaner. And my minimalistic husband is thrilled. Life is good.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Friends, Old And New

The kids and I spent a portion of the day visiting Katie, my good friend since high school. She is down from Michigan visiting her parents, before things get a little crazier for her with the arrival of Peanut sometime in mid-November. Her parents have a menagerie of animals, which thrilled my kids to no end. They have a dog, a cat, a bunny and eight goats--the newest of which is named Ruthie. Katie and I talked of things past, things present and things to come, while Ruth fed the goats and followed Katie's dad around, no doubt asking a billom questions. (Billom is not mis-spelled there--that's Ruth's cute pernunciation of "billion"). I wish I could see you more often, Katie. But at least we have our blogs! Take care, and good luck with the new baby and the new house!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

6-Man Football, Book Bugs and Granny's Cooking

We had a fun weekend. On Friday night we got to go see my cousin, who is a senior at Knox City High School, play 6-Man football. It was also homecoming for them and he was named "Football Hero." His escort out onto the field was the lovely cheerleader, Ruth Watts. Unfortunately, Cody's team didn't win, but as far as Ruth was concerned, it was the greatest game that's ever been played anywhere. And Weston really loved it, too.

On Saturday, we left the kids with my grandparents and went over to Archer City to take a peek at Larry McMurty's four-building, floor-to-ceiling, amazing bookstore. And, seriously, it was just a peek. I have never seen anything like that in my life. I don't think you could ever peruse all the titles contained in these stores. It was fascinating and fun, except for the "book bugs", which I never actually saw, but I definitely felt!
Granny cooked for us all weekend, which was awesome. She always thinks about what everyone likes and makes something especially for them. Her potato salad is amazing, by the way. It was a really great weekend. The kids were so worn out, they slept pretty much the whole way home, which made the trip a bit faster and a lot quieter!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

You Wouldn't Believe It If I Told You

But I'll tell you anyway: I spent the afternoon cleaning up the garage, and by 5:00 I was actually able to park my van in there! For those of you who have seen my garage, you know how very amazing this is. For those of you who haven't seen it, take my word for it, this was quite an accomplishment. There is still work to be done, but I definitely made progress. I guess I should have taken before and after pictures, but I didn't, so come see me if you want to see.

We're out of here tomorrow for the weekend. I'll check in with you guys on Sunday night.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Can't Confirm Or Deny

There has been a little discussion around our house the last couple of days about whether or not Ruth may have cut Weston's hair at some point when our backs were turned. She firmly denies it, and if she's lying, it's definitely her best one yet. Could it possibly be some weird hair growth pattern or a cow lick? We just don't know. So, we will put it to you, faithful blog readers. Look closely and see what you think.

*Don't worry. Your comments won't get Ruth in trouble, if you think she did it. I did have a conversation with her about acceptable and unacceptable things to cut, though.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Jeff made migas for dinner tonight and they were wonderful. This dish always turns out different, depending on what ingredients we have on hand. Tonight, the dish contained breakfast sausage, salsa, cilantro, onions, green chiles, tomatoes, tortilla chips, cheese, mushrooms, garlic salt and eggs--served on warm corn tortillas with refried beans on the side. My mouth is watering even as I write about it. Fortunately, we had lots leftover, so I'll get to enjoy it again tomorrow.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Asparagus Pee

Sorry for being so crass. I almost never talk about stuff like this, but this is something that weighs on my mind, and I think it's an issue that needs to be addressed. Why is it that when you eat asparagus, your urine immediately begins to smell like, well, like you ate asparagus? I don't know of any other vegetable (or fruit or meat or food) that causes this particular phenomenon. It's really weird. Is there a Beano-like product that can help with this? I would really love to know your thoughts on this, so please don't be afraid to leave a comment.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Back To The Cave

We returned to Longhorn Cavern tonight for their concert series. It was really neat. The acoustics were amazing. No amplification--just the musician, his guitar and the cave.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Swim Lesson Update

Ruth had a new teacher for her swim lesson today, and I was afraid that that might make Ruth a little nervous. But instead, she was more bold than ever. SHE SWAM ALL BY HERSLEF TODAY! No teacher holding on to her, no floaties, just Ruth, swimming! She probably went about five feet. Jeff happened to be there today, too, and we were just so proud of her--and of course, she was pretty proud of herself! We are going to go ahead and sign her up for the next level when she finishes this class so she can keep her momentum and continue to improve.


I signed up for a fitness study program with Curves, where I basically get to be a member for free for 3 weeks. Today was my first workout session, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. It was so fast-paced, it hardly seemed like working out--which I'm all albout! Plus, I think it's a really good workout and it's quick--only 30 minutes per session. I feel so much better--physically and emotionally--when I exercise regularly. I'm looking forward to these three weeks, and I'm hoping that I will stay motivated to exercise when the study is done.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Paying Off My Debt To Society

I'm paying off my debt to society in installments. Today's installment was $9.00. I amassed this debt years ago, beginning in elementary school and going through high school. I sold cookies, candy, magazines and overpriced wrapping paper and knick-knacks all over town, just like the kids who came to my door today. My personal rule is that if they ring my doorbell, look me in the eye and tell me what they're selling, I pretty much buy something. I just feel like I owe them that because of all the doorbells I rang when I was a kid. I will not purchase items from kids (or, rather, their parents) who set up tables in front of Wal-Mart and attack you as you go in and as you come out--unless I happen to be pregnant and I feel as if life just will not go on unless I have a box of Thin Mints right this minute. So, that's my rule. And in just three weeks I'll have some nice oeverpriced notecards, and I'll feel that my debt to society is a little closer to being paid off.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Public Service Announcement

A Thanksgiving theme has been decided on and serious steps are being taken to get the planning underway. It will be a party to remember. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Weston Wayne

Just wanted to give a little report on Weston. He has two little teeth just beginning to poke through on the bottom. We've been waiting for those for a long time and are glad to finally see them arrive. He also has learned how to clap, which is really affirming when you are feeding him and he gives you a round of applause. He's cruising in earnest now, although he hasn't actually taken his first steps yet. He has also learned how to dance, which is quite precious. He just kind of bobs his head around, but it is so cute. It's hard to believe that in just a couple of months he'll be a year old! He's just getting so big and growing up so fast!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Raising Kids Who Turn Out Right

I just finished reading this book by Tim Kimmel, and I thought what he had to say was very interesting and something other parents could benefit from, thus I mention it here. The tag line on the back cover reads: "Good Kids Don't Happen By Accident," and that's pretty much the premise of the book. It's a book about purposeful parenting. It's about making the effort, even when you don't want to or even when it isn't convenient or fun. It's about getting beyond good intentions and actually doing something to leave the kind fo leagacy you want to leave. It's about being really and truly involved in your kids' lives and not missing opportunities to teach them and mold them while they are in your care. It's about leaving the past in the past and moving forward in the present and the future. It presents a challenge to do a good job in raising our kids, and it offers some practical advice on how to do this. I think it's a good read for any stage of parenthood.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Pant-Splitting Good Time

The adventure of the day was a trip to the San Antonio Zoo. It is such a neat zoo, with so much to see and do. We all had a wonderful time!

Jeff loved the hippos.

Ruth enjoyed feeding the lories.

Weston was enthralled by a turtle right at eye level for him.

And I lingered in the butterfly house.

(And, yes, someone actually split their pants).