Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Our best friend's birthday party

Those of you who know us, know we LOVE Chuy's. And while having one nearby wasn't exactly a prerequisite for us moving here, it certainly didn't hurt anything. The Chuy's nearest us has been here exactly a year. And we certainly aren't ones to let a birthday slip by, especially when it's someone we care about so much. We found out about the party quite by accident, but we wouldn't have missed it. There was face-painting and birthday cake, and Chuy himself was even around for some dancing and picture taking. We had a blast, and of course, we had some fabulous Mexican food.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Everyone loves the new camera...

...Well, almost everyone.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pile of Pigs

Seriously. You should see these kids eat. We went out on Tuesday night. All three kids scarfed down their kids' meals and began begging us to order them something else. They couldn't get enough. Yesterday, Max and I had some things to pick up at Sam's--a store that always has an abundance of free samples. Max snacked the whole time we were shopping. Then, as I was checking out, he snitched a pear from the shopping cart and devoured it quickly. I then went over to the little on-site cafe to buy us both some lunch. While I was getting our drinks, he snagged another pear and made it disappear. Then, he ate the hot dog I got for him and some of my pizza. Tonight, we had breakfast for dinner. The kids had pancakes, eggs and sausage. When they had all finished healthy portions and I had already eaten until I was stuffed, Ruth and Weston asked me to make more eggs. Ruth had a large second helping and Weston put a small helping onto a biscuit and added some cheese. I simply could not believe it! I guess it takes a lot of energy to grow up so quickly! But they do make an adorable little pile of pigs, don't you think?!

Monday, September 21, 2009

When I left the library...

The sky was dark, the wind was blowing and thunder was rumbling all around. I knew the rain was on the way. But, I had errands to run, so I decided to brave the storm. Not surprisingly, my first stop was Sonic. As I placed my order, the inevitable rain came, forcing me to speak up so the order-taker could hear me. Then, just as the credit card machine was telling me that my card had been approved, the power went out. I realized that I could no longer see the other side of the Sonic and that I was in for a bit of a wait. So, I rolled up my window--just as the back end of my van began to be pelted with dime/nickel-size hail. I waited and waited, wondering what to do. Finally after 20-30 minutes, I stepped out of my van to ask the manager if I could just have my money back. It tuned out that my Java Chiller was already ready but hadn't been delivered, because all work had completely ceased. Unfortunately, in all the chaos, the lid had not been put on tightly and I got a lap full of chocolaty whipped cream. By then, the rain seemed to be less intense and the hail had gone completely, so I decided to make a move. It was only when I pulled around the Sonic to exit that I noticed how bad things really were. There was a large branch laying in the way and what seemed like a whole tree sticking through the tin awning. This had all been going on just a few feet from where I was parked while the rain blocked my view. So very thankful I didn't park on that side! As I said, the rain seemed to be letting up, so I decided to run my other errands. Immediately I found that there weren't any working traffic lights. Soon after, I discovered that there were trees down all over the place, including across one lane of the road I was driving on. Firetrucks and police cars raced around in every direction, lights flashing and sirens blaring. I made my way oh-so-slowly up the debris-laden street, only to find when I arrived at my next destination that they are closed on Mondays. Unwilling to retrace my steps through the mess I'd just left behind, I chose a different route home. Just a few miles down the road, the sun was shining and just the merest sprinkles were falling from the sky. So, I made another quick stop. Back in the van, I found traffic for my back way home backed up for miles and a little fender bender being cleared off the road. And then the medical helicopter made a pass overhead. I finally made my way onto the back road and proceeded to drive five miles an hour for the next 5 miles or so. I continued to observe downed trees and to hear sirens in the distance. Finally, it became apparent what was causing everyone to drive so slowly. There were power lines stretched out all over a portion of the road, with no clear way around. I will tell you I held up traffic further while I debated whether to drive over them like everyone else. Finally, I just closed my eyes and went for it. There were more trees down and branches sitting on power lines, bowing them almost to the ground. When I finally arrived home, I was just so thankful to be alive. And Jeff was shocked to hear my tale of destruction. He said the electricity had only barely blinked off at our house (which isn't all that unusual) and that it had just rained for a short time. Later, we found out that lightening had stuck a house, setting it on fire, not far from the Sonic where I was camped out. Crazy, crazy times. And not exactly my idea of a peaceful afternoon out without the kids!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A month into second grade

I can't believe we have already been back in school a month! Time flies when you're having fun, I guess. I'd love to share with you what we've been doing.

In Grammar:
Ruth has practiced ABC order and dictionary skills. She has reviewed the different types of sentences and has learned how to diagram each type. And, she has learned to identify the simple subject and the simple predicate in a sentence.

In Spelling:
Ruth has continued working through her 3rd Spelling book. (She did the first, second and part of the third last year).

In Portuguese:
Ruth is continuing to work through the Level 2 lessons of the Portuguese software we have. (She finished Level 1 last year). She is gaining confidence in using the language and is perfecting her usage of it.

In History:
We have talked about the fall of Rome, the spread of Christianity to Britain, the Celts, the monks--both Christian and Buddhist, and Justinian and Theodora--rulers of the Byzantine Empire. We have read a novel about a Roman slave who proved her worth and purchased freedom for her family. We have read Celtic fairy tales. We have learned about how books used to be made by hand. We have tried our own hands at calligraphy and illumination. We have made a monk's dinner. Ruth has written her own laws. And, she has painted her own frescoes.

In Science:
Ruth and Jeff have studied about the layers of the earth, the solar system, the seasons, weather, and the water cycle. Ruth made a mobile of the solar system, an anemometer, a water guage and rain.

In Writing:
Ruth has been perfecting her cursive, while incorporating concepts from History and Reading and Grammar.

In Music:
Ruth has learned the notes, the scales, the melodic intervals, the harmonic intervals, what a sharp is and the C Major chord. She learned to play with both hands. And, she can play several songs: Aura Lee, Ode to Joy, Jingle Bells, Brother John and a few others.

In Math:
Ruth continues to work on her facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). She is working on memorizing the prime numbers. She has learned the squares up to 25. And Jeff is teaching her some mental math tricks, such as are used in Number Sense competitions. She has also been reviewing time, money, temperature, measuring and some other basic concepts.

In Super Friday:
Ruth is really enjoying her Super Friday classes. She loves interacting with the other kids and teachers, and she is having fun with the material as well.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

In my kitchen today...

  • Juice was spilled. (In keeping with the daily ritual).
  • Lunches were packed.
  • Spelling assignments were finished.
  • Ants were killed.
  • Chai was sipped.
  • Dishes were washed. (Because the pile couldn't possibly have gotten any bigger without becoming dangerous).
  • Yellow mayo was removed from the fridge and tossed.
  • Rain was made by Jeff and Ruth for science class.
  • Hugs were given.
  • Appointments were made.
  • BLTs were enjoyed.
  • Preparations were begun for tomorrow night's dinner party.
  • Kisses were received.
  • Milk was spilled. (And I do believe there was crying over that).
  • Plaster was mixed.
  • Frescoes were painted.
  • Chocolate chip cookies were made for a group of Aggie students.
  • (And yes, dough was sampled).
  • A young boy, running like a speeding bullet, slipped on a rug and went sailing through the air. (Which led to a period of intense weeping and wailing).
  • Ice was applied to a busted lip. (And not for the boy you are thinking of).
  • Fast food burgers were eaten for dinner. (Because even warming up leftovers just seemed like too much effort).
  • A smallish person fell completely off the chair during dinner. (Sending up a fantastic spray of French fries and ketchup).
  • Presidents were discussed. (Prompting Ruth to ask about the job requirements, which then prompted her to very thoughtfully say that she might want to consider that as a job).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


*Please See Below

We had a wonderful time in Dallas. Please check out the slide shows in the following three posts if you are interested in seeing pictures.

Dallas World Aquarium

Installation Dinner and Dance

Friday, September 11, 2009

We're going to the Big D

My dad is being installed as the chairman for the Texas Association of Realtors tomorrow night, so we are headed up to Dallas to participate in the festivities. We will be attending a big, fancy party tomorrow night, complete with evening wear. The kids will hang out in the room with a babysitter and just make a brief cameo at the party so their proud grandparents can show them off a little. We won't be back until Tuesday, so if you're looking for us, look north.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A place for everything

Anyone have a hidey-hole? A place to keep your secret stash--your cash, maybe, or your fun-size Snickers? It's neat to have something hidden. To have things in a place that only you know about. And this is not true only for adults. Ruth loves to put things where her brothers can't find them, and Weston stockpiles toys and books under the couch cushions. And, this week I found out that even Max likes to play the hiding game. His hiding place was really good, too. And I probably wouldn't have found out about it for a very long time if he hadn't given himself away. He was attempting to climb up the side of a very large decorative pot I have sitting by the front door when it came crashing down, busting open and spilling all of it's secret contents. There were legos and books and puzzle pieces and balls and cars. But the item that really stood out--for it's special olfactory properties--was the sippy cup full of milk, which has been missing for a month or more. It had been slowly leaking onto the other contents of the pot and seeping into the pot itself, so that when it busted and everything came tumbling out, the entire house smelled like puke. And, as luck would have it, we were preparing to receive visitors in our home in just under half an hour. Lovely. I guess Max will have to find a new place to squirrel away his treasures. And I will definitely have to keep closer tabs on the sippy cups.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Friday, September 04, 2009

Now you see it. Now you don't

As you know, many, MANY surfaces in my house have been covered with markings of various kinds. So, yesterday I decided to take them on. Armed with a package of Easy Erasing Pads, I set to work. First, I conquered the step stool with the pencil marks. They disappeared with minimal effort. Next, I attacked the colored pencil covering a complete (short) wall upstairs. With just a little effort, the lines faded and then vanished. Then, I went after the Hs written in dry-erase marker. I had to scrub a little more on these, but they eventually came off. Finally, I attempted to remove some secret code scrawled with an ink pen in a couple of different places. This was the most difficult to remove. In a few cases it faded enough so as not to be noticeable. And in other cases, I scrubbed so hard that the paint began to fleck away, prompting me to leave off my efforts until I can come up with a better solution. Overall, I was very pleased with these magic little cleaning pads. I think if you have boys and walls and almost any type of writing utensil in your house, you should go out and buy yourself a pack today. I feel sure this will not be my last time to use them. In fact, I may just buy a gross of them.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Another big boy off to school

Today was Max's first day of "school." He was eager to join his class, but was concerned that so many of them were crying when he arrived. He, however, didn't shed a tear when I said good-bye. His teacher said he had a great day, and I'm very proud of him.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Bringing down the house

The wake of destruction is wide in our household. And not for a lack of trying to reign it in, I assure you. Today, I discovered what Weston was doing yesterday afternoon while he wasn't taking a nap. He was practicing his Hs--you know that hilarious letter that makes your belly bounce. Huh-Huh-Huh. He wrote three very nice ones. On the wall. In marker. I have no idea what got into him. Perhaps he was inspired by some of his brother's recent art work. Speaking of whom, in an effort not to be outdone, the little one victimized another laptop today. It's really a good thing those boys are going to be out of our house for a good portion of the day tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

First day of preschool

You might expect the first day of preschool to be filled with anxiety, nervousness, clinging and tears. Here's what you might NOT expect:

[Van door opens upon arrival at preschool]

Weston (immediately): O.k. well, bye.

Mom: Weston, you don't have to say bye yet. I'm going to walk you inside.

Weston: Well, you HAVE to go home. You can't stay.

Mom: I know, but I'm going to walk you to your class.

Weston: O.k. well, bye. (repeated no less than four more times before arriving at the entrance to the building).

[Putting backpack and lunchbox on pegs outside the room]

Weston (looking around anxiously): Do I have to leave my lunch out here?

Mom: Yes. Just hang it on your peg.

Weston: But when is lunchtime?

Mom: I'm not sure, but your teacher will let you know when it's time to get your lunch.

Weston: But I can't take it in?!

So, we did have anxiety, I guess. And a certain amount of clinging. But, hey, lunch is really important. He had a great day. And, honestly, I prefer it this way. Without all the drama.