Friday, May 29, 2009


Sweet Ruth~
You are seven today! Can you believe it?! It blows my mind to even think of it! In this last year you have moved to a foreign country, completed a year of homeschooling, relocated to a new city and taken up a new sport. All without batting an eye. You are amazing. Not to mention beautiful, thoughtful, brilliant and creative. You make me smile every day. And I continually thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to be your mom. I love the way your eyes light up when you figure out some problem. I am thrilled when you come up and hug me for no reason. I'm touched by the way you love your brothers, and indeed, how you love everyone. I'm so very proud of you and the lady you are becoming. You are a blessing in my life. I look forward to watching you grow and learn even more in the coming year. Happy Birthday!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I have so much to tell you

  • Ruth knocked somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 seconds off her backstroke at her meet on Saturday, and received a nice time improvement ribbon at practice yesterday, which thrilled her to no end.
  • Max has a new tooth and isn't shy about using it. He bit me on the shoulder yesterday and left a bruise.
  • Weston is officially 3 1/2, as of yesterday. We celebrated with donuts for breakfast and McDonald's for lunch, and a few little items off his wish list: gumballs, a brown lollipop and, of course, eyeballs. We are still waiting for his custom-made giraffe t-shirt with a red "W" on the back to arrive.
  • Max has learned how to climb out of his crib and has been moved into his pack-and-play until he figures out how to scale that one, which won't be long. He is also working on perfecting his climbing of other things. He has been found, in the last few days, standing on his dresser, sitting on the patio table, in the sink in his bathroom, up on the counter-height dining table, jumping on his brother's tall cargo bed, and up on the playscape--both at our house and the park.
  • I have been buying and using coffee implements like a crazy woman. First, a variety of flavored coffees. Then, a new (cutie red) coffee maker to replace the (boring white) one I broke. And, finally, a coffee grinder. Today, I even went so far as to make my own frozen coffee drink--not even to be sociable, but just because I wanted it.
  • We were able to get our van into the mechanic yesterday and also bring it home fixed on the very same day.
  • The story time lady at the library somehow got the impression that a video can count as a story if it is loosely based on a well-known children's story. (Don't get me started on the completely ridiculous message of said video).
  • We will be finishing up our first year of homeschool tomorrow.
  • Ruth is turning 7 on Friday.
  • Both sides of the family (including grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and even a great-aunt and uncle) will be here over the weekend to celebrate Ruth's birthday and to watch her swim.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

We spent time with family, had a picnic at the lake, ate watermelon and played in the sprinkler. What could be better?!

What's more fun than watching a DVD in our van?

Getting pushed through the intersection by Grandpa's pick-up. According to Weston.

On the way to our Bible study tonight, the air conditioner in the van wasn't running as cool as we thought it should. We suspected tampering from the under-five-foot crowd we run around with. On the way home, we began to notice strange sounds and smells shortly before a myriad of warning lights came on on the dash and smoke/steam began streaming out from under the hood, forcing us to take back our suspicions. Thankfully, my in-laws are in town visiting, so we called them to come rescue us. My father-in-law showed up in his pick-up truck and decided to give us a little nudge through the intersection, in the hopes of getting us safely to a gas station so we could better assess the problem. The kids were absolutely thrilled by the prospect of being pushed along by another vehicle (even if their mother was not)! And, Weston enthusiastically volunteered that this was "more fun than the black radio," which is his code name for our DVD player. I had a slightly different take on the situation. We did make it to the gas station and got things cooled off enough to get the van started, and were able to make it home safe and sound, another adventure under our belts. I guess the next adventure will be finding a good mechanic. Woo-Hoo!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bald, Like Grandaddy

Max has been needing a haircut for a while now, and for one reason or another we just haven't gotten it done. But today, after story time at Barnes & Noble and after lunch, with Max happy and tired to the point of utter compliance, I decided to pop into a place in the mall that could take him immediately. The lady sat Max up like a little prince in her chair and the following ensued:

Lady: What do you want to do today?

Me: Just trim it up and make him look like a little boy.

Lady: Will the clippers bother him?

Me (thinking she meant to use them for cleaning up the edges): No, not at all.

Lady: Good. This way it will not be too short and will not be too long.

[The next thing I knew, the lady had the clippers in hand and was going right up the middle of Max's head, and I realized she could have left off the first part of her last statement entirely].


Lady: It will look very nice.

Weston (a few minutes later, watching with delight as piles of hair hit the floor): MOM! MAX IS GOING TO BE BALD! HE'S GOING TO LOOK JUST LIKE GRANDADDY!

I'll say this: the boy will certainly not be getting too hot this summer because he has too much hair! Still, he is a cutie-patootie, if you ask me!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Inside, Outside, Upside Down

When I woke up this morning I felt different. I felt rested and refreshed and ready to start my day. I wasn't stiff or sore in my hands or feet, and I easily climbed out of bed and got moving. On my walk, I came across a bunny who couldn't be bothered to take more than two hops away from me. I also saw two turtles sitting right beside the path, and I briefly comtemplated bringing one home.

When I got back to the house, my three-year-old was up (not bizarre) and was seated at the table with breakfast he had gotten all by himself (bizarre), without making even the slightest mess in the kitchen (very, very bizarre).

I offered to play a game with the kids this morning after Ruth finished her school work, and Ruth declined. Weston, however, played enthusiastically...twice. Without losing focus or interest. And, Max occupied himself happily during the course of the two games.

Jeff stopped in the middle of his work day to fire up the grill and make us a fabulous, somewhat gourmet lunch.

While out running errands this afternoon, I stopped at Sonic for my Vanilla Diet Dr. Pepper fix and was stunned to find regular ice in my cup instead of the famous Sonic Ice.

The line at the post office moved quickly, and Max wasn't a bit fussy while we were there.

I found books at the library on the subjects I was looking for, without assistance and without Max ripping books off the shelves like some major award was at stake.

Then, at the grocery store, on my way to check-out, I was overcome by a need for some of the fresh brewed coffee they had out to sample. I simply could not walk away. I had to have it.

That's when it really hit me that today was no ordinary day. I somehow woke up in an alter universe or something. Nothing was quite as it had been. I don't quite know how I got here, and I don't have any idea what will happen tomorrow. I just feel so disconnected with reality and discombobulated, too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Easy as S A T

For the last three days Ruth has been taking the SAT (Stanford Achievement Test) for first grade. We prepared her that the test would be testing a wide variety of skills and that there would probably be some questions she didn't know. On the first day's debriefing, we asked how the test went. She said it was easy. We asked if there weren't any difficult questions, and Ruth laughed out loud. "No," she replied, through snickers, "it was very easy." She also told me later that she LOVED taking the test. Yesterday, she was disappointed in herself that she had to use scratch paper for some of the math problems, rather than doing them all in her head. But still, she thought it was pretty easy. She even quizzed Weston on some of the questions, and when he answered correctly, she said smugly, "See, I told you it was easy." Today, she didn't have much to say, except that she finished the book she had taken in to read in case she finished any sections of the test before other testers. We won't know her actual scores for a while, but we are glad that she felt good about the test and that she wasn't intimidated by it, since this was her first real test to ever take.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother of the Year

One of my very favorite cousins-in-law sent me the most fabulous Mother's Day greeting. I laughed out loud, and I hope you will, too. Happy (Late) Mother's Day to all you hard working mommies out there!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Gator Bowl

Today was Ruth's first swim meet. It was just a time trial, so we weren't competing against another team, but it was still a pretty big deal. Ruth was amazing! She swam like we have never seen her swim before, and she just did great! That's not to say that her times were the fastest of the group, but she was diligent and determined, and she finished all four of her races without going over to the side or the rope for a break (a first for her). And the main thing was, she had a great time, and she was proud of herself. (And her parents were super-proud of her, too--in case you can't tell from my ridiculous yelling in the video). And, aside from the swimming part, the meet was just a lot of fun. The park and pool areas were covered with parents and siblings and swimmers all cheering each other on and enjoying the beautiful day. And, the concession stand starting serving nachos at 8:30 am. What's not to love about that?! Check out the pictures, but if that isn't enough for you, come watch Ruth swim live and in person. It's just an all-around good time.


Friday, May 08, 2009

Frame Game

I bought two completely different types of do-it-yourself frames today, asking what I thought were plenty of questions of the salesperson. When I got them home, though, I found that neither of them came with directions. One, I was able to work my way through following advice I found in some forum on the Internet. The other I had to give up on. I'm thinking I may not have bought all the parts for that one, but I don't know for sure because there isn't one word of instruction to be found anywhere--and nothing helpful (that I found) on the Internet either. Am I really the only one in the world who doesn't intuitively know how to do this?! Any advice would be appreciated!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Turning Over a New Leaf

I'm not a morning person. I don't like to get out of my nice, warm, cozy bed. And, I despise the sound of an alarm going off. But, I also really don't like feeling like I don't have any time to myself during the day. So, I'm turning over a new leaf. My plan is to start getting up earlier and trying to make the most of the hour or two I have before the children wake up. Actually, I thought I would institute this plan on Monday. Unfortunately, my radio alarm was set to a non-station. Yesterday, I just about beat the thing to death, trying to hit the snooze button. And didn't even succeed in hitting snooze. Rather, I ended up turning it completely off---and sleeping on. Today, I set two alarms. The regular one (set to a nice, local, country station) and the cell phone (placed strategically in the bathroom, out of arm's reach and harm's way). Finally, success! I woke up to the regular alarm, even, and didn't destroy it in the process. I then stumbled into the bathroom to turn off the other alarm before it began it's annoying wake-up call. Then, peeking through half an eye and walking with robotic stiffness, I made my way to the shower, my morning savior. Hot water pouring over me like a waterfall always magically clears my sleep-muddled brain and loosens my prematurely old joints. And, suddenly, I realized that I had just taken a giant step towards my new goal! With that inspiration tucked neatly under the towel twisted atop my head, I donned my tennis shoes and set out for a brisk walk through my portion of the Livable Forest. And, I must tell you, it was amazing! It was quiet. And beautiful. I was able to pray and think and just breath deeply. I was all the more encouraged to find a still-quiet home when I returned. And, I pocketed a few more moments in which to drink a glass of water, visit with Jeff, change clothes and read the Bible--all before anyone demanded a thing from me. It was glorious! This isn't the first time I've set this goal, and experience tells me I probably won't ever become a morning person, but on a day like today I at least want to try a little harder not to murder the alarm clock when it delivers its rude awakening.

Monday, May 04, 2009

What's that you say?

Max has recently developed quite a vocabulary. He talks all the time, and it is so adorable. The words are not clear English, as you and I might say them, but they are becoming more and more discernable. Here are some of the words I can understand:

  • Momma

  • Dada

  • Ruth

  • Weston

  • Duck

  • Done

  • Yes

  • Cracker

  • Outside

  • Water

  • Bath

  • I'm sad.

  • Bye-bye

  • Bed

  • Door

  • Flower

  • Dog

  • Moo

  • Yum

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Welcome to the neighborhood

We hosted a "welcome to the neighborhood" ice cream party for ourselves today, which turned out just fabulous. A rain storm threatened to put a damper on the festivities, but it only rained a few minutes and then cleared up and was quite nice. Lots of the neighbors showed up and everyone was so nice. There were tons of kids, and they took over the cul-de-sac with bikes and scooters and a rockin' game of hide-and-go-seek. It reminded me of the street I grew up on, and brought back many wonderful childhood memories. This is a great place for families, and we look forward to more fun encounters with the neighbors in the future.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Just another day in Paradise

  • Garage-saled in the morning--picked up a nice, new-in-the-bag, king-sized bedding set on the cheap for the guest bedroom.
  • Went to some of my favorite stores, just for fun, all by myself.
  • Came home to an empty and very clean house.
  • Met the kids and hubby at the pool for the opening day of the swim season.
  • Heard my son say, "Dad, where are the kitties? You said this was the kitty pool."
  • Finished looking through my new Real Simple magazine.
  • Helped put together the playscape in the backyard.
  • Realized that I don't miss my bigger yard in Austin so much now that I get to mow this one.
  • Battled three different kinds of ants, both inside and outside my home.
  • Thoroughly enjoyed watching and listening to my kids play on their "new" playscape.
  • Found my three-year-old pressed up against the back door with his pants and underwear down around his ankles after he had "watered" the flowers.
  • Did not have to go the emergency room, though there were at least three or four occasions during the day when it might have been a possibility.
  • Washed my new bedding set--just in case--and snagged the comforter on something in the process, leaving a small tear. At least it was cheap!
  • Made a loaf of bread in the bread machine.
  • Had frozen pizzas for dinner.
  • Loved (almost) every minute!